Ottoman Kilim

18th Century West Anatolia, Manisa province Ottoman Kilim

This wonderful kilim was first published by Yanni Petsopoulos in "Kilims, 1979". It belongs to a small group of weavings that form a bridge between the Ottoman court tent kilim and nomadic and village flatweaves. They are more colourful than the Ottoman kilims but use their motifs. Unlike the nomadic pieces they are woven in one piece.
The group can be divided into two subgroups. One has a field surrounded by borders and is usually wider; the other, like our example, is organised in bands and is narrower. Both are woven in wool on wool and are not especially fine, but the first group is looser than the second. Following the six examples published in Kilims, another piece appeared in Werner Brüggemann, "Yayla, 1993", plate 33.
The motifs of the blue and red strips are shown as outer-end borders in a piece at the Vakiflar museum in Istanbul (Belkis Balpinar/Udo Hirsch, Flatweaves, 1982, plate 120). In this kilim the main border shows the same pattern as the dividing strips in our piece.
Petsopoulos notes that this piece is probably the oldest of the second group. The flowers of the blue and red strips travel upwards, except the uppermost one, and are all connected by the centre stem. It has been suggested that therefore the kilim should be viewed horizontally and might have used as a tent divider or hanging in a house.
A comparable example was in the Vok collection (Ignazio Vok, Anatolia, 1997, No. 1), and is less colourful but with a wider range of motifs in the strips. As in our piece it showed the peculiar 'dot' filling of the background, which gives the design a certain three-dimensional quality.
A prayer kilim in the Berlin Museum (Friedrich Spuhler, Die Orientteppiche im Museum für islamische Kunst Berlin, 1991, p. 290) shows the same ‘dot’ feature and more clearly defined tulip and carnation motifs. The outer minor border is the same as the 'odd one out' strip at the bottom of our kilim.
The designs of these kilim group go back to the Ottoman court kilim. They can also in part be found in Kula and Gördes rugs; this, as well as the colour range, makes an attribution to western Anatolia likely. Our piece here has light blue warps, a feature that can be found in some of the pile weavings as well.
A faint reminiscence of the carnation and tulip strip design can be found in a later kilim published in Ulrich Türck/Dietmar Pelz, "Anatolische Kelim in Schloß Lembeck, 1995", Pl. 12.

Rather coarse in weave, soft in texture and executed in attractive pastel shades, this kilim is the product of a specialised West Anatolian workshop, possibly Kula or Selendi. Both towns were important textile centres during the Ottoman period. The design of wide bands, alternately decorated with floral or geometric motifs in the Ottoman court style, is a characteristic feature of this distinctive group. The directional tree design seen in some of the bands suggests that the kilims served as wall hangings, i.e. tapestries, and were suspended horizontally. They may have been used in the magnificent tents which accommodated Ottoman pashas during their frequent military campaigns. Both shorter and wider than comparative pieces, the Vok example was exhibited in Dublin as early as 1979. – Minimal signs of age and wear, good condition.Size 292 x 152 cm (9' 7" x 5')

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