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Details & Cataloguing

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A South Central Anatolian rug, Karapinar region
approximately 147 by 178cm; 5ft. 10in., 4ft. 10in.
17th century or earlier
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Literature

Herrmann. E., Seltene Orienteppiche V, Munich, 1983, pp. 26-27, pl. 10.

Catalogue Note

The present rug has been attributed to the celebrated weaving centre of Karapinar - long since a highly sought after production centre for collectors, largely due to a detailed study of this group of weavings by Dr May Beattie. She had seen an unusual rug in the Alaadin Mosque, Konya, which she found sufficiently intriguing to research further, eventually leading her to the small town of Karapinar were she found further similar examples in the mosque there. This study gave rise to the nomenclature of the group; see Beattie (1976) pp. 60 – 75. 

Collectors' enthusiasm for the group was such that the term ‘Karapinar’ began to be used as a descriptive term for quality and a design associated with the wider ‘Karapinar’ group; rather than an indication that the piece in question originated specifically from the town. For a full discussion of this topic see Penny Oakley’s seminal article, Oakley (2010), issue 166, pp. 40–51. Oakley has ordered the group into a potential of eight different sub groups, arranged by chronology and design, see Oakley, op. cit, pp. 46, 48, 50. Since this article, largely through the efforts of specialists such as Oakley, the term has taken on a clearer definition and refinement; we now have a better understanding of what works would likely be from the town and others which would be more associated with the wider surrounding Konya area.

The present lot has features in its design which are similar to the very rug that first drew May Beattie’s interest; see Beattie, op. cit, p. 61, fig. 1 of a similar rug. Both of these rugs are centred by an archaic lozenge medallion with stylised ‘arrowed’ motif above and below, a trait also seen in the earliest examples of Karapinar weaves or group 1. They both also have 'lappet' motifs at each end, reminiscent of Turkish pillow casings, which of course is not unique to the Karapinar group, but in each of these cases they are slightly unusual, the present lot having white dots outlining. 

Recent sales of the collection of largely early Anatolian pieces from celebrated architect Christopher Alexander at Sotheby's London offer some interesting comparisons. Within this collection, sold 7 November 2017 and 23 April 2018 respectively, there were a number of rugs either credited as Karapinar town weavings and those which showed very strong characteristics associated with the town but were likely from the neighbouring region between Konya and Karapinar. For a few related examples of these see Sotheby’s, London, 23 April 2018, lots 33 and 35 for those associated with the Karapinar region and lot 81 more specifically for the town. In all cases the present lot can draw various comparisons, including most notably the white lined corner spandrels, overall archaic drawing and a quite tight weave with depressed warps, together suggesting an attribution to the Karapinar region for the present lot.  Interestingly there is one further example which is similar to the present, formerly in the Joseph V. McMullan Collection and now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, acc. no.1974.149.52, again sharing white outlined spandrels but more importantly a close relationship to the present lot's field design, and sharing a border design more associated with those group 1 Karapinars, categorised by Penny Oakley, such as that with Moshe Tabinia Gallery, Milan, Oakley, op. cit, p. 40, fig. 1 and even closer to the former Wher and Bernheimer example sold Sotheby’s, London, 23 April 2018, lot 81.  

Herrmann notes "[There is].. a lot of movement going on, in the border the moon elevation, in the field the four triangles have passed each other diagonally, with a glimpse into the cosmical world" (EH) 

Oakley (2010): Oakley, Penny, ‘Fact or Fiction ‘Karapinar’ Rugs from Central Anatolia’, Hali, Winter 2010, issue 166, pp. 40–51

Beattie (1976): Beattie. M., ‘Some Rugs of the Konya Region’, Oriental Art, XXII, vol. I, 1976, pp. 60 – 75.

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