Hans Memling Gul Rugs

Notes on Memling Gul Rugs
There is no Memling tribe. Hans Memling (1430?-94) was a German born artist who became one of the Flemish masters. A master portrait artist Memling used a projector system to paint very realistic paintings. Hans Memling died in Brugge on Aug. 11, 1494 but we in the rug world remember him by a design that carries his name.
Memling Gul Kazak close up
This pattern to the left is what we call the Memling Gul. Seen in a wide range of rug types for over 500 years it is used by a number of different ethnic groups. The design is common among the weaving groups of Turkic origins but is common among indo-European groups such as the Kurds.
W&W Yomut Turkmen chuval
While most people associate the Memling Gul with Caucasian rugs it is used by all the major Turkmen tribes including the Salor, Saryk, Tekke, Ersari, Kizil Ajak, Yomut, Arabachi, and others.
The Marla Mallet Turkmen Saye Gosha
The Mem 

ling Gul is not limited to pile rugs and trappings. To the left we see it used in a Turkmen Saye Gosha. A Saye Gosha is a V shaped decoration used on a bed role.
Shehady Antique Moghan Rug
Antique Moghan Memling Gul Long Rug

The Moghan Controversy

There is a group of rugs that we call Moghan which are noted for their narrow format with Memling Guls. Moghan is a somewhat controversial label. The late Ulrich Schurmann delineated the group in his classic Caucasian Rugs pages 42 - 43. The Moghan steppe is a place and these rugs are attributed to that area. Ian Bennett follows the same line in Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian. Compare these rugs to plate 204 in that book. Wright and Wertime muddle the picture in Caucasian Carpets and Covers.page 89 where they say they know the Moghan rugs to not come from one part of the Moghan Steppe but that they do not know if it comes from the other. Then Murray Eiland Jr. suggests that Moghan is just a new name for rugs that used to be called Shirvan or Karadagh. He suggests that Moghan takes in a number of structures and is not a cohesive attribution. 

A Moghan long rug
Antique Moghan Rug
Antique Shirvan Memling Gul Long Rug - Moghan?
A Moghan Kazak long rug lot 81 (Compare this one to The Oskhan Oomikhanian rug attributed convincingly to Karabagh.)

A Small village Bergama Area Rug, 19th C.
Memling Gul rugs are common in Turkey as well.
Inscribed Dated Armenian Kazak
What confuses the question is the tendency of weavers to copy marketable designs. Is the Memling Gul in this Inscribed Dated Armenian Kazak traditional to the Armenians or did they borrow it from neighbors? I suspect it is borrowed but do no ask me to prove it.

Hans Memling: Virgin and Child Enthroned
Hans Memling: Virgin and Child EnthronedVirgin and Child Enthroned
by Hans Memling Circa 1485
Oil on oak panel, 81 x 55 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Hans Memling: Flower Still-life on Memling Gul Rug
By Hans Memling circa 1490
Oil on oak panel, 29,2 x 22,5 cm
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid
Hans Memling: Flower Still-life on Memling Gul Rug
Based on the research of David Hockney and Charles Falco it seems probable that Memling used an optical device to project this image on to the wooden panel it was painted on. (see Lawrence Weschler) This would then mean that both this rug and pitcher actually existed, Since we know that Memling painted this pitcher from another perspective in Virgin and Child Enthroned see below we can assume that the rug must have existed as well.

This painting is on the reverse side of a slightly older work Portrait of a Young Man circa 1485-90 in te Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid
Flower Still-life on Memling Gul Rug
Flower Still-life on Memling Gul Rug
c. 1490
Oil on oak panel, 29,2 x 22,5 cm
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid

Detail Virgin and Child Enthroned
Detail Virgin and Child Enthroned
1480s
Oil on oak panel, 81 x 55 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin