East Central Turkey, late nineteenth century - wool pile on cotton foundation
The Sivas carpets produced in Eastern part of Central Turkey during the later nineteenth century were largely patterned after the Persian designs popular in Western markets at that time. But although they were every bit the equal of Persian rugs in terms of quality, materials, and technique, Sivas carpets seldom achieved the kind of artistry of design that we see in this impressive piece. Here the composition relies on a savvy blend of the ‘compartment’ format of Classical Persian carpets with a more strictly rectilinear pattern reminiscent of Persian ‘garden’ carpets. But the bold geometry of the composition is mollified by the delicacy of the coloration and the finesse of the drawing. The various floral forms of Classical Persian derivation are rendered with the more angular geometric precision of early Turkish carpets. The fine red graph paper-like outlining gives more prominence to the compartment or garden structure, while the soft palette of pale reds and tans allows much of the floral detail to recede into the background, just as the contrast between the field and border is kept to a minimum, which all imparts a remarkable evenness and unity to the carpet as a whole, making this a first-rate decorative piece.