Anatolian Rugs in Transylvanian Churches, 1500-1750
exhibition at the Sakip Sabanci Museum, Emirgan, Istanbul
19 April to 19 August 2007



The Pollak Plain Field Ottoman Niche Rug
Cairo, second half of the 16th century
123 x 183 cm, wool pile on a silk foundation
Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, inv. no. KGM 1915, 64

The horseshoe shape of the niche seen on this beautiful Cairene rug and the fine scrolling stems in the spandrels can also be seen on several 'Transylvanian' rugs attributed to the Giordes and Kula regions (see exhib no. 37). The finely drawn border of the Pollak undoubtedly shares a common heritage with many west Anatolian rugs (see exhib nos 27, 28), and similar minor borders patterns were used in the province of Manisa from the mid-17th century (see exhib nos 27, 30). This is one of twelve known finely-knotted Cairene Ottoman niche rugs with plain fields, among them one other also in the Museum of Islamic Art. A beautiful example is in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul: it has been cut vertically and much of the central field is missing. Another superb fragmented example, formerly with Emil Sigerus in Sibiu, is now in the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest and may well have once been preserved in a church in Transylvania.

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text and images © Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul
and textile-art, London, 2007:
not to be reproduced without permission