Anatolian Carpets of the Ottoman Epoch from the Collection of the Museum of Oriental Art
Maria Kullanda ,
Ph . D . ( History ), Researcher , Department of Near , Middle East , South and Central Asia , Museum of Oriental Art
The art of carpet weaving , which had developed in Anatolia since the reign of the Seljuk dynasty of Ruma ( XI-XIII centuries ), remained one of the most important artistic craft during the period of the Ottoman Empire . In the history of Ottoman carpet weaving , two main directions can be distinguished . The first is associated with the initiative and patronage of the Sultan ’ s court , the second is connected with the Anatolian tradition which developed during the entire Ottoman epoch ( 1299-1922 ).
The peak of luxurious “ palace ” carpets , whose design was developed , probably in the Istanbul court workshops , was in the XVI-XVII centuries . The decline in construction and the demand for large carpets for imperial mosques led to a decline in the XVIII century of items for palaces . However , this did not mean the extinction of Anatolian carpet weaving . Both in large urban workshops and in rural households , up to the end of the Ottoman epoch , silk and woolen , pile and lint-free carpets of various sizes , ornaments and purposes were created . Paradoxically , at the end of the XIX century the global market , which had a bad influence on traditional Turkish handicrafts , stimulated the development of carpet weaving with the help of European demand and British direct investment .
Turkish carpet ’ s design of the late Ottoman period reflected both a heritage of the court style of the XVI- XVII centuries , European influences and Turkic traditions . The purpose of the item also played an important role in the composition and ornament . In the last centuries of the empire , prayer carpets became especially common . As some European collections show , they were exported . It was the prayer carpets of the XIX century which are in a small Ottoman carpet collection in the State Museum of Oriental Art . It includes 18 items from the late XVIII - early XX centuries .
A prayer carpet ( from Turkic namazlyk , ar . Sajada ) is an important subject in the life of a Muslim . Despite the fact that a believer does not need any additional attributes for a prayer , except the direction to Mecca , carpet helps him to keep ritual purity and create a special space for communication with God . A characteristic feature of this carpet is the image of mosque interior , as mihrab , a niche located in the wall of the qibla facing Mecca .
In Turkish carpets of the XIX century the outline of the mihrab , as a rule , is complemented by the image of columns and a lamp located in the centre . It reminds that light is a property of Allah , and the mihrab , “ a niche with light ”, is a kind of gateway to the world of God , to paradise . This reference to the image of the Garden of Eden , where the soul of the believer seeks , is also understood in the dense floral ornament and stripes above the mihrab niche . Sometimes a stylized image of a lamp in the centre of the carpet turns into a bouquet , a blooming branch or a vase with flowers , and the columns are replaced by slender cypresses , a symbol of eternal life .
Six woolen pile prayer carpets from the museum ’ s collection represent one development tendency of Turkish carpet weaving . They were not a part of Anatolian folk art , not connected with either the capital ’ s production or the palace order . This group is