Transylvanian Rugs

Antique Turkish Transylvanian Rugs & Carpets

History / Background

Transylvanian is known by many names the Hungarians call it Erdely, the Rumanian Ardeal, in German it is called Siebenbürgen. Why do we say Transylvania? It has a lot to do with Arminius Vambery telling Bram Stoker a story that became the basis of the book Dracula.

Transylvania was a Ottoman vassal state until 1688 when the major power blocks in Transylvania or the three estates - the Hungarian nobility, the burghers (Saxon/German), and the Szeklers (Hungarian Magyars) renounced the sovereignty of the Suleyman III (1687-91) and threw their allegiance to Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). The fighting continued intermittently all through the reign Ahmed II (1691-95) and into the reign of Mustafa II (1695-1703) until The Peace of Carlovitz in 1699 when Sultan Mustafa II renounced suzerainty.

N.B. One point that I find interesting is that the Moslem Sultan did not release Moslem land which is more sensitive to them. Transylvania was an independent state that paid tribute as opposed to a land incorporated into the empire.

Transylvania maintained a great degree of independence in part due to the large Protestant population.

The capital of Transylvania is Cluj Napoca formerly Cluj, Kolozsvar, Klausenburg, and in Roman times Napoca.

Rugs
That is not the same as saying that all of the the Transylvanian rugs where woven in Transylvania. They were not. We can tell from European paintings that rugs of this type were available in large numbers in countries that traded with the Ottoman Empire. Further the indications are that these rugs were woven in what is now Turkey and no indications of an export trade of rugs from the Transylvania area.

We also know that the rugs in Lutheran Evangelical churches in Transylvania were donated by members of the congregations. The members were overwhelmingly Saxons from what is now present day Germany. No one seriously suggest that these rugs were woven by Saxons so we must assume that these rugs were objects of commerce prior to ascension into the collection of the congregations. It is plausible to assume that these rugs enter Transylvania in the same fashion that there counterparts entered Holland and Belgium, as objects of commerce from present day Turkey.

So it is likely that some rugs may have been woven by ethnic Turks in Transylvania it is not likely that most or even many of them were woven there.


Jan Verkolje's Woman Nursing An Infant
Jan Verkolje's Woman Nursing An Infant
Jan Verkolje's Woman Nursing An Infant

Woman feeding a child, while playing with her dog

Place: Louvre Museum, Holland

Flemish and Northern paintings

Dimensions: 51 cm x 58 cm

Date: 1675

Artist: Jan Verkolje (le Vieux)

Notes: Compare this to The James A. Lucas Transylvanian rug 17th century


Antique Transylvanian rug 17th century
Antique Transylvanian rug 17th century
Antique Transylvanian rug 17th century 2

DESCRIPTION

A "Transylvanian" rug, West Anatolia, 17th century, oxidized browns, repaired fold wear slits, remnants of original end finishes, reselvaged, minor repiling, approximately 5 ft. 8 in. by 4 ft. 1 in. (1.73 by 1.24 m.)

More than eighty "Transylvanian" rugs are depicted in Flemish and Dutch paintings from between 1620 and 1680. A similar rug with a red ground star and cartouche border and a red and charcoal trefoil outer border is portrayed by Jan Verkolje the Elder (1650-1693) in Woman Nursing a Child (1675), now in the Musee du Louvre, Paris. This border is associated with the first period of Transylvanian production of the early 17th century.


Antique Oushak Transylvanian rug 17th century
Antique Oushak Transylvanian rug 17th century
Antique Oushak Transylvanian rug 17th century 2

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 164 by 119cm. 5ft. 4in. by 3ft. 11in.

DESCRIPTION

17th century

Condition Note: oxidized walnuts, partly reovercast sides, minor harpstringing


Antique White Ground Oshak Transylvanian rug second half 17th century
Antique White Ground Oshak Transylvanian rug second half 17th century

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 163 by 115cm. 5ft. 4in. by 3ft. 9in.

DESCRIPTION

Second half 17th century

CATALOGUE NOTE

The most immediately unusual feature of this ‘Transylvanian’ rug is its colour: the most frequently encountered colour combination in this group of rugs is a red ground field with blue spandrels, other variations are red with yellow spandrels or blue with yellow and vice versa. In the majority, the border design is of cartouches and /or star guls. In addition, for this group, where the field includes a medallion ringed with flowers, as here, the medallion ground colour normally differs from the field.

The consistent use of yellow as the ground colour for the whole rug gives it a particular delicacy and charm, further enhanced by the elegant arcading of the vinery in the border with its bi-colored feathered leaves. Probably derived from the borders of the 16th century small medallion Ushak rugs, see for example, Layer, K and Vegh, G., ed. Dall’oglio, M.& C., Turkish Rugs in Transylvania, The Crosby Press, 1977, pl.9, there is a an example with a similar border in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul, Inv.No.698 (Chinese cloud Medallion Ushak), illustrated as pl.92 in Aslanapa, O., One Thousand Years of Turkish Carpets, Istanbul 1988.


Antique Oushak Transylvanian rug first half 17th century
Antique Oushak Transylvanian rug first half 17th century

MEASUREMENTS

170 by 118cm. 5ft. 7in. by 3ft. 10in.

DESCRIPTION

First half 17th century

CATALOGUE NOTE

The present example has the palmette cartouche and star border typically associated with "Transylvanian" rugs of the first half of the 17th century, see Turkish Rugs in Transylvania, ed. Dall'Oglio, M & C., The Crosby Press, 1977, pl.10 & 11. Similar inner and outer narrow guard borders can be found in the rug illustrated as pl.54 in The Collections of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest I: Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Batári, F., Budapest, 1994


Antique Transylvanian Rug second half 17th century
Antique Transylvanian Rug second half 17th century

MEASUREMENTS

160 by 114cm. 5ft. 3in. by 3ft. 9in.

DESCRIPTION

DATE OF OBJECT

Second half 17th century

CATALOGUE NOTE

For related examples see Végh, G and Layer, K, Turkish Rugs in Transylvania, The Crosby Press, 1977, pl.14; Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V McMullan Collection, London, 1972, p.87, pl.XXXII; Batári, F, Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, p.137, pl.47 and Sotheby's London, The Toms Collection, 7th June 1995, lot 113.


Fragment of a 'Transylvanian' Rug
Fragment of a 'Transylvanian' Rug

A FRAGMENT OF ' Transylvanian ' RUG,

West Anatolia, approx. 1700. Size 123 x 85 cm Description - mounted on linen drawn up.


Transylvanian prayer rug, 18th century w/carnation leaf
Transylvanian prayer rug, 18th century w/carnation leaf
Transylvanian prayer rug, 18th century w/carnation leaf 2
Transylvanian prayer rug, 18th century w/carnation leaf 3

A "Transylvanian" prayer rug, West Anatolia, 18th century

The diamond in the cartouche can be compared to fig, 41, C in Ydema, Onno. Carpets and their Dating in Netherlandish Paintings 1540 - 1700. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 1991. He shows an example of this diamond in fig. 42 of that same book a painting by Cornelis de Man, "The Faint", 1666. This was a bit of a surprise because when I first saw this border I assumed it was 18th century but a date of 1666 shows I misjudged it.


Antique Transylvanian rug attributed to the 18th century
Antique Transylvanian rug attributed to the 18th century
Antique Transylvanian rug attributed to the 18th century 2
Antique Transylvanian rug attributed to the 18th century 3
Antique Transylvanian rug attributed to the 18th century 4
An 18th century "Transylvanian" prayer rug,
Skinner Bolton, Oriental Rugs and Carpets, 23 September 2000, Lot 37
Transylvanian Rug
West Anatolia, 18th century
Skinner Bolton, Oriental Rugs and Carpets, 23 September 2000, Lot 37
Sold for: $7,475
A "Transylvanian" prayer rug, West Anatolia, 18th century
The diamond in the cartouche can be compared to fig, 41, C in Ydema, Onno. Carpets and their Dating in Netherlandish Paintings 1540 - 1700. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 1991. He shows an example of this diamond in fig. 42 of that same book a painting by Cornelis de Man, "The Faint", 1666. This was a bit of a surprise because when I first saw this border I assumed it was 18th century but a date of 1666 shows I misjudged it.
I particularly like the way the carnation leaves frame the center medallion.


Double niche Ushak rug 17th century w/Mosque Lamp
Double niche Ushak rug 17th century w/Mosque Lamp

Prayer rug

"Transylvanian", type Ushak; 17th century;

176 x 112 cm

From the collection of the National Museum of Art of Romania, Oriental Art Department. Oriental Art

This piece is similar to a Transylvanian Carpet inv. no. 290 of the Black Church in Brasow, Transylvania published as ill. 3 in Kertesz-Badus, Andrei. Transylvanian Carpets in Pinner, R. & Denny, W. D. Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies III, PART I. 1987, page 35.

From the collection of the National Museum of Art of Romania,


A 17th century "Transylvanian" prayer rug
A 17th century "Transylvanian" prayer rug

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 5ft. 6in. by 4ft. 7in. (1.68 by 1.40m.)

DESCRIPTION

17th century oxidized charcoals, partial upper end guard border, missing lower end guard border, reselvaged, minor repiling and small reweaves,

The elegant format and delicate drawing of this West Anatolian village workshop prayer rug is directly influenced by the magnificent Ottoman carpets produced in the court ateliers of Sulayman the Magnificent in 16th century Turkey. For a 16th century Ottoman Court workshop prayer rug in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, see: McMullan, Joseph V., Islamic Carpets, New York, 1965, pp. 32-3, no. 4. Unlike the majority of contemporaneous "Transylvanian" rugs, the present example retains the glorious architectural cloudband collar rotunda of its antecedents.


Antique Transylvanian prayer rug 17th century
Antique Transylvanian prayer rug 17th century

DESCRIPTION

A "Transylvanian" prayer rug, West Anatolia, 17th century original kilim end finishes, oxidized browns, reselvaged, small scattered reweaves, approximately 5 ft. 2 in. by 3 ft. 8 in. (1.57 by 1.12 m.)

Both lots 49 and 50 of this sale display the classic attributes of the "Transylvanian" prayer rug: rich glowing color, delicately articulated floral ornamentation and a singularly well-developed sense of space. For examples closely related to lot 49 see: Eberhart Herrmann, Asiatische Teppich Und Textilkunst, Band 5, Munich, 1995, No. 29 , and another in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, see: Batari, Ferenc, Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, No. 81., Inv. No. 88.117.1.

Lot 50 is unusual for the addition of a supplementary reserve between the mihrab and the upper border. This feature appears on two other "Transylvanian" prayer rugs, one sold by Rippon Boswell, November 18, 2000, lot 113, and another published by Eberhart Herrmann, Von Konya Bis Kokand, III, Munich, 1980, No. 1. All three rugs share a sophisticated rosette, palmette and curled leaf border, more directly derived from those of their Ottoman antecedents than other "Transylvanian" prayer rugs.


A Supplementary Reserve "Transylvanian" rug
A Supplementary Reserve "Transylvanian" rug

This piece is similar to a Transylvanian Carpet in the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, in Transylvania published as ill. 6 in Kertesz-Badus, Andrei. Transylvanian Carpets in Pinner, R. & Denny, W. D. Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies III, PART I. 1987, page 37. The similarity is primarily in the border while the field is somewhat different particularly in the supplementary reserve between the mihrab and the upper border. It share a similarity in both the borders and the supplementary reserve with The James A. Lucas "Transylvanian" prayer rug,


"Transylvanian" Supplementary Reserve rug, 2
"Transylvanian" Supplementary Reserve rug

Prayer rug

"Transylvanian", type Usak; 17th century;

176 x 112 cm

From the collection of the National Museum of Art of Romania, Oriental Art Department. Oriental Art

This piece is similar to a Transylvanian Carpet in the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, in Transylvania published as ill. 1 in Kertesz-Badus, Andrei. Transylvanian Carpets in Pinner, R. & Denny, W. D. Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies III, PART I. 1987, page 35. This rug also has the Supplementary Reserve as we saw in The James A. Lucas "Transylvanian" prayer rug, as well as A Supplementary Reserve "Transylvanian" rug,


A "Transylvanian" Supplementary Reserve rug, 3
A "Transylvanian" Supplementary Reserve rug, 3

Anatolian prayer rug Transylvanian type

Early 17th century 1.17 x 1.70m

Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu


Transylvanian prayer rug
Transylvanian prayer rug

DESCRIPTION

A "Transylvanian" prayer rug, West Anatolia, 17th century original kilim end finishes, oxidized browns, reselvaged, small scattered reweaves, approximately 5 ft. 2 in. by 3 ft. 8 in. (1.57 by 1.12 m.)

This piece is similar to a Transylvanian Carpet in the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, in Transylvania published as ill. 6 in Kertesz-Badus, Andrei. Transylvanian Carpets in Pinner, R. & Denny, W. D. Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies III, PART I. 1987, page 37. The similarity is primarily in the border while the field is somewhat different particularly in the supplementary reserve between the mihrab and the upper border.