Prayer Rug, Silk, wool

Prayer Rug

Object Name:
late 16th century
Attributed to Egypt or Turkey
Silk, wool
Rug: H. 71 in. (180.34 cm)
W. 44 in. (111.76 cm)
Mount: H. 78 3/4 in. (200 cm)
W. 52 1/2 in. (133.4 cm)
D. 2 3/8 (6 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan, 1973
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 460
The Ottoman workshops produced a great variety of carpet designs that usually employed a group of familiar elements, consisting of naturalistic flowers, lotuses, and palmettes, often combined with feathery lanceolate leaves, medallions, arabesques, and cloud bands—all of which are seen here. This rug is attributed to the court manufactory in Istanbul because of the distinct, well-drawn patterns in the field and the border, as well as the all-silk foundation. The small size and overall design of an arch shape in the central field suggest that this carpet was used as a prayer rug.

Only very few rugs of this particular type have survived. A central theme of palmettes, varying in scale, is carried on a thin graceful trellis from which spring feathery, leafy fronds and arched sprays of small floral rosettes. The arches of the prayer niche are filled with curved arabesques; the lower corner pieces, with Chinese cloud bands. A border of palmettes and fronds complements the field.

[Arts Council 1972]
[ Alphonse Kann, Paris, until 1927; his sale, American Art Association, NewYork, January 6–8, 1927, no. 501]; Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–d. 1973; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. New-York Historical Society. "Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet: Exotic Rugs and Textiles from New York Collectors," April 4, 2008–August 17, 2008, pl. 106.

"Catalogue of an exhibition held at the] Hayward Gallery, London, 19 October–10 December 1972." In Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V. McMullan Collection. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972. no. 4, p. 34, ill. pl. XXI (color).

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 4, pp. 32-33, ill. pl. 4 (color).

Thompson, Jon. "Exotic Textiles from New York Collectors." In Timbuktu to Tibet. New York, 2008. pp. 300-301, ill. pl. 106 (color).

Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 86-87, ill. fig. 73 (color).