Details & Cataloguing

Rugs and Carpets


An Alcaraz carpet fragment, Spain


Catan Collection, Paris
Property from the Wher Collection, Sotheby's, New York, December 15, 2000, lot 142


Sovrani Tappeti, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy, 1999, No.168


Concaro, Eduardo and Alberto Levi, Sovrani Tappeti, Milan, 1999, p.195, No. 168
Ellis, Charles Grant, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1988, p. 257 (citation)

Catalogue Note

Pile carpet weaving was introduced into Spain during the Moorish occupation and continued to flourish during the Christian rule. The inspiration for the present carpet is the textiles, initially from Renaissance Italy and woven in Spain. The stem trellis and pomegranate design has been interpreted in a stylised pattern in the present weaving.

There is a directly comparable example of an Alcaraz carpet, 16th century, in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Inv.29-1889), with a border design of a double outline scrolling stem with stylised leaf motifs, and another in the Textile Museum, Washington (Inv. No.R44.003. For a comparable ‘Ogival Lattice Carpet’, Alcaraz, 16th century (330 by 167cm); The Joseph Lees Williams Memorial Collection: 55-65-22), and comprehensive discussion of this group of Alcaraz carpets, see Ellis, Charles Grant, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1988, Cat.70, pp.256-259. Ellis notes that there are more than a dozen carpets in this pattern including an example in silk, in the Dallas Museum of Art (Wendy and Emery Reeves Collection). In some examples the double line of the stem trellis is dark indigo, as in the Victoria and Albert Museum example cited, and an example in the Textile Museum, Washington. On others it is yellow and would have stood out against what would have been a salmon red ground originally.

For an Alacaraz carpet, 16th century (373 by 178cm), with trellis with reserves alternating with a stylised palmette and stylised quatrefoil scroll motif, see Christie’s, London, 14 April 1976, lot 17. For a more stylised Alcaraz rug, late 16th century (226 by 145cm), in indigo against dark brown, of similar design inspiration, see Christie’s, London, 15 October 1998, lot 221. 

For Spanish textiles with similar designs from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, see Bunt, Cyril, G.E., Spanish Silks, 1965, fig, 35, for a fragment of 15th century silk damask, in green, white and fawn, on a crimson ground, and fig.50, for a fragment of 16th century silk velvet.

Related Literature: Alexander, Christopher, A Foreshadowing of 21st century Art: The color and geometry of very early Turkish carpets, New York and Oxford, 1993, pp.271-274 Bakti, J., ‘A Spanish Renaissance Carpet from the Deering Collection’, Hali, Vol.6., No.3., 1984, pp.284-285 Bunt, Cyril, G.E., Hispano-Moresque Fabrics, 1966, figs.49 & 50 Bunt, Cyril, G.E., Spanish Silks, 1965, fig, 35 & fig.50 Ellis, Charles Grant, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1988, Cat.70, pp.256-259 Denny, Walter B, and Farnham, Thomas, J, The Carpet and the Connoisseur, The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2016 Erdmann, Kurt, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, Spanish Carpets, pp.209-214,  p.212, fig. 274 Spuhler, Friedrich, The Thyssen –Bornemisza Collection, Carpets and Textiles, London, 1998, Carpets, Spanish [66-69], pp.237-251 Torres-Ferrandis, J., Exposicion de Alfombras Antiquas Espanolas, Madrid, 1933, pl.24 

Rugs and Carpets