A 'BIRD' RUG, SELENDI, OUSHAK REGION, WEST ANATOLIA
mid 17th century
approximately 196 by 133 cm; 6ft. 5in., 4ft 4in.
Additional photographs are available from the department showing the old reweaves which have been redone (these are mainly in borders) since last offered at auction. These restore the likely colour scheme of the cloudbands. The removed pieces are available should they be wanted. There is repiling throughout the field. The rug is now ready to display.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Northern German private collection
Rippon Boswell, Wiesbaden, 29 November, 2014, lot 52A
‘Bird’ rugs are most often dated to the 17th century, but they begin to appear in European paintings from the mid-16th century; the earliest depiction is in the ‘Portrait of Ladislaus von Fraunberg, Count of Haag (1505-1566) by Hans Mielich c.1548 in the Kress Collection New York, where the ‘Bird’ rug covers a table; another is shown beneath the feet of Henry Hastings (1586-1643), 5th Earl of Huntingdon, in his portrait by Paulus van Somer I (attrib.), of 1601, in Queens College, Cambridge. The 1601 inventory of Bess of Hardwick’s property included, in her bedchamber, “three foote turkie Carpetes the grounds of them white, to laye about the bed.” 'Foote' carpets means here carpets for walking upon; if these were ‘bird’ rugs as seems very likely, they would have created a very dramatic effect with the scarlet wool hangings decorated with gold and silver lace with which her room was decorated. These rugs were also exported to Transylvania, as examples exist in the Lutheran churches there. A related rug is illustrated as Cat. 56, p. 107 in Ionescu, S., Antique Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, Rome 2005, from St. Margaret's Church, Medias, inv. 503 and another in the Black Church, Brasov, inv. 146, Cat. 59, p. 108. As an endless repeat, the design may be cropped at any point, but those such as the rug here which include two linked sets of birds centrally placed are perhaps the most visually satisfying. The cloudbands are the typical border device of these rugs.
‘Bird’ rugs (called rugs with ‘crow design’) are mentioned in a price register from Edirne in 1640, as being made in Selendi (a town between Oushak, Kula and Ghiordes), see Pinner, R., and Franses, M., ‘The ‘Classical’ Carpets of the 15th to 17th Centuries’, Hali, Vol.6 , No. 4, Winter 1984, their survey of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Turkish carpet collection, p. 373, hence the attribution.