Kum Kapi Rugs

Guide to Turkish Kum Kapi Rugs & Carpets


Kum kapi, Kumkapi , or Koum Kapi rugs are fine to extremly fine rugs from Turkey made in the style of 16th century Persian rugs. The designs appear to come from rugs that were at some point in the Ottomen Imperial Treasury. The were produced from roughly 1900 onwards.

The rugs are are traced to Producers such as Toussounian and weavers such as Hagop Kapoudjian and Zareh Penyamin. The men behind the rugs were Turkish Armenans from Sivas and Kayseri. It was once assumed that these rugs were woven in the the Koum Kapisis (Gate of Sand) section of Istanbul. Now I suspect that these were woven in a variety of places but collected and or sold in Istanbul.

Examples:

A Zareh Penyamin Koum Kapi Silk and Metal Thread Prayer Rug
A Zareh Penyamin Koum Kapi
Of "Sultan's Head" design, full pile throughout, selvages frayed, overall very good condition

Avak Shirinian and Timo Sankilampi studying a Kum Kapu silk
Avak Shirinian and Timo Sankilampi studying a Kum Kapu silk

One of the best silk on silk carpet producers today is Mr. Avak Shirinian. He continues the famous Kum Kapu tradition. He lives in Istanbul and his carpets are woven in Hereke and near Bursa. The workmanship of his carpets is superb.


The Abdullah Koum Kapi Silk and Metal Thread Prayer Rug circa 1920
The Abdullah Koum Kapi Silk and Metal Thread Prayer Rug circa 1920

Country of Origin: Turkey, Istanbul

Comments: The inscription cartouche reads "By 'Abdullah in nine hundred and ninety (1582 AD)". I lave long suspected that the 16th century rugs that inspired these rugs were the work Abdollah-e Mozahheb (also Abdullah Sirazi). Abdollah is best known for his work at the court of Ibrahim Mirza. He produced recognizable work from the 1550s to the 1590. See Plate 70: Ustad Abdollah

Description:

Creator ATTRIBUTABLE TO ZAREH PENYAMIN, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, CIRCA 1920

Description A SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI PRAYER RUG

ATTRIBUTABLE TO ZAREH PENYAMIN, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, CIRCA 1920

Overall excellent condition

5ft.9in. x 3ft.10in. (175cm. x 116cm.)

Notes The knot count is 10H x 9V per cm. sq.

Although the inscription cartouche reads "By 'Abdullah in nine hundred and ninety (1582 AD)", this date obviously bears no relation to the actual date when this rug was produced. One can also fairly confidently attribute this carpet as being the work of Zareh Penyamin, as details within his original cartoons bear many similarities to this example, Pamela Benoussan, 'The Masterweavers of Istanbul', Hali, 26, pp. 34-41, pl.19. The use of the scrolling split-palmette, the curved shoulder of the prayer arch and the shape and positioning of the inscription cartouche all link this carpet to the work of this master. For two other examples refer to , Arto Keshishian and Duncan R. Miller, Kum Kapi Silk Rugs, Zareh Penyamine 1890-1949, London, 1985.


Fine Silk and Metal Thread Koum Kapi Carpet circa 1920
Fine Silk and Metal Thread Koum Kapi Carpet circa 1920

Country of Origin: Turkey, Istanbul

Description:

Creator ISTANBUL, TURKEY, CIRCA 1920

Overall excellent condition

9ft.8in. x 6ft.10in. (294cm. x 208cm.)

Notes The knot count is 13H x 12V per cm. sq.

This carpet is very finely woven in silk on a silk foundation. Although it is not signed, the quality of weave, design and the intricate patterning within the metal-thread suggest that this carpet was produced by one of the great masters of the Armenian 'Koum Kapi' workshop in Istanbul. Indeed, the use of purple pink selvages, the drawing of the prayer arch and the cutting of the pile suggest that this could be the work of the master weaver, Zareh Penyamin. The design draws its influence from Persian Safavid ornament which can be seen in a multiple medallion carpet of 'Vase' type, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pp.1236-7. A larger and less fine Koum Kapi carpet of similar design, was offered for sale Sotheby's, Dubai, 4 December, 1985, lot 269.


The Kenneth S. Battye Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Rug circa 1900
The Kenneth S. Battye Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Rug circa 1900

               

General Classification: Turkish Rugs

Description:

A KUM KAPI SILK AND METAL THREAD RUG, NORTHWEST ANATOLIA

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 5ft. 5in. by 3ft. 9in. (1.65 by 1.14m.)

DESCRIPTION

DATE OF OBJECT

Circa 1900

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Original end finishes

CATALOGUE NOTE

Density: 28-30 horizontal, 28-30 vertical


A Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Garden Rug circa 1900
A Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Garden Rug circa 1900

General Classification: Turkish Rugs

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 6ft. by 4ft. 3in. (1.83 by 1.29m.)

DESCRIPTION

DATE OF OBJECT

Circa 1900

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Original end finishes

CATALOGUE NOTE

Density: 23-24 horizontal, 20-22 vertical


A Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Rug circa 1915
A Silk and Metal Thread Kum Kapi Rug circa 1915

               

General Classification: Turkish Rugs

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 177 by 130cm. 5ft. 9in. by 4ft. 3in.

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1915

CATALOGUE NOTE

For a brief discussion of Kum Kapi rugs, please see the note to lot 99

Knot density: vertical 10/cm

Horizontal 10/cm


A Kum Kapi silk and brocaded gilt and silver metal thread rug
A Kum Kapi silk and brocaded gilt and silver metal thread rug

General Classification: Turkish Rugs

Comments: See DECORATIVE CARPETS GO WEST by Alberto Levi Auction Report, 28 January 2000 for a mention of this rug.

DESCRIPTION

A Kum Kapi silk and brocaded gilt and silver metal thread rug

Istanbul, Turkey

of Safavid Polonaise design

197 by 113cm., 6ft. 6in. by 3ft. 9in.

Knotting V/H cm: 11/10

Extremely fine silk rugs with metal thread brocading were produced in Kum Kapi, the Armenian Quarter of Istanbul, towards the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. The weavers here were Turkish Armenians who came from the weaving centres of Keyseri and Sivas. Technically advanced in the art of weaving , they produced rugs of superlative technical quality; their inspiration based on the Ottoman court style, and on classical 16th century rugs from Safavid Persia, as illustrated in this example. Many such pieces bear the signature of the Masterweavers, of which Zareh Penyamian, and Hagop Kapoudjian are the most well known. For a full discussion of the Kum Kapi masters, see Farrow, George F., Hagop Kapoudjian, London, 1993. This offered lot displays magnificent artistry in the use of gold and silver metal thread, which, combined with finely knotted silks in pastel shades create a technically excellent and visually harmonic tour de force. The rug is further enhanced by being presented in immaculate condition.