WINDOW WATCH – Enchanting Mamluk & Mesmerizing Nomad Modern

Posted on November 23rd, 2013 by Joshua Kebabian


#35795    Fine Mamluk    9.1 x 12.10   Turkey

#35795 Fine Mamluk 9.1 x 12.10 & #35426 Fine Mamluk 3.5 x 11.10 Turkey

The enchanting Mamluk hanging in WINDOW LEFT measures 9.1  x 12.10.  This piece was hand-knotted in southwest Turkey using handspun vegetally dyed wool.

The Mamluks were descendants of the white slaves of the grand-nephew of Saladin and were gentlemen and scholars. “The Mamluks made Cairo and Damascus, their two capitals, homes of civilization, art and literature.  Merciless to their enemies, tyrannous to their subjects, yet delighted in the delicate refinements which art could afford . . . they were the noblest promoters of art and literature and of public works that Egypt has known since the time of Alexander the Great.” The Mamluk dynasty (1252-1517), was overthrown by the Turks which incorporated the Mamluk Cairo weavings of the sixteenth century into their designs.

An unusual scheme of cherry red, yellow-green and pale blue adds color distinction to masterful draftsmanship of the Mamluk carpets which included mosaic-pavement design.  The mosaic pavement included stars, octagons, squares and triangles, interspersed with palm and cypress trees.  A “Mamluk” carpet is easy to recognize because of its distinct color palette and design.

This Mamluk’s color palette will  add a distinctive flavor to the home it inhabits.  This piece has the classic pale light blue throughout the border, which due to the beautiful abrash appears translucent.  The deep madder/cherry red keeps the rug “serious”, while the grounding of the carpet with gold guard borders containing an intricate “hieroglyphic” design is unexpected and adds sophistication.  The thoughtful placement of the blue rosettes throughout the border adds a carefree symmetry.  The stunning, overall  design creates a flexible foundation to build a captivating space.

The lower right photo contains a section of a Mamluk runner also hanging in WINDOW LEFT which complements the 9 x 12 Mamluk quite nicely.


#36964   Nomad Modern   9.6 x 12   Afghanistan

#36964 Nomad Modern 9.6 x 12 Afghanistan

The mesmerizing Modern Nomad hanging in WINDOW RIGHT measures 9.6 x12.  It was woven in the village of Barchi by Hazara women in northern Afghanistan using handspun undyed and vegetally dyed local wool.  The weaving includes both hand-knotting and a flat weave technique.  The shag component of the carpet comes from the hand-knotting and is created by not giving a final clipping as part of the finishing process.

The overwhelming majority of wool in this knockout of a carpet is undyed wool from sheep ranging in shades of  ivory, brown and black.  However, the artist decided to scatter a pinch of colorful red and blue “confetti”  into the piece to add an element of surprise and whimsy.

The design is subtle, yet unmistakable and masterfully present. The carpet’s pattern includes three outside guard borders and one large field containing rows of “building blocks” which give the appearance of an urban landscape.

The outside guard border is hand-knotted from undyed wool from black and brown sheep.  The inner two guard borders come from sheep with ivory coats.  The large field skillfully utilizes the various shades of undyed wool with just a pinch of the primary colors of red and blue.

This Nomad Modern “ROCKS” and will magnificently ground any contemporary space!  It must be mentioned that although this carpet is “IN”, it will not go “OUT” of style because the  the design is solid and has a beauty in its own right that will endure in the contemporary settings that have yet to come.

Sources:  Oriental Rugs and Carpets by Arthur Urbane Dilley

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