Selcuk Carpets – Part 2
This largest surviving Selçuk carpet with the so called “camel foot” device in depressed octagons in rows shows that a Chinese influence, perhaps brought in from imported textiles, metalwork or porcelain, had already been assimilated into Anatolian Selçuk culture by the 13th century.
The “camel foot” medallion is to be seen in a representation of a carpet on a Chinese handscroll dated to the end of the 13th century depicting the Mongol Khan Kubilay hunting in the steppe. The scroll now in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, was executed by Liu Kuan-Tao in 1280. The illustration shows three camels in a caravan loaded with goods wrapped in carpets and kilims. The third camel displays a carpet with a red field with series of white hexagons on top of each other. These are filled with arrow headed palmettes again filled with hexagonal stars. This same motif is also seen on the third Konya carpet on a lightyellow background with dark red depressed hexagons. This “camel foot” device, lately called the “Türkmen rose” motif, clearly came too Anatolia with the Selçuks.
The fourth carpet measures 2.30×1.14 m . The deep red field of this fragment is filled with diagonal rows of light red, highly stylized floral motifs, basically hexagonal in shape with hooked motifs extending from the sides, and a crescent motif from the tip. The hexagons contain swasticas in red or deep red on a blue or red field. The hexagons are joined to horizontally stepped stems, alternating from right to left in each row.
The pattern of this carpet, as Agnes Geijer has pointed out, resembles a Chinese silk piece belonging to a group found in Egyptian
tombs ofca. 1300. The direct copying of the Chinese silk damask is easily recognizable despite the simplification of the forms and the angularity of the drawing which are necessitated by the coarser carpet technique. But the silk damask is monochrome in color. Besides noting the similarity of the pattern it must be recognized that all kinds of influences are almost always reciprocal. The border consists of a row of squares with protruding hooked motifs resembling that of the second Konya carpet, but here it is depicted in turquoise on a natural brown field. The square of the former has now become an eight-pointed star, and the motif on the side border has wings protruding from each side of the star within a star motif. These wings terminate in hooks and are linked in the center with lozenges. The inner and outer guard borders contain a row of “flint” or “S” motifs decorated with hooks and triangles in white on a red field. The inner guard border is separated from the main field by a wide blue band filled with a light red hooked motif in the corners of the field.
The fifth carpet with the same attributions measures 0.90×0.74 m (Inv. No. 684). The warp is single-ply rather thick red wool. The Turkish knots in this piece are inclined slightly to the right. The main field contains hexagonal hooked motifs in offset rows . The motifs arranged vertically on a dark blue field are light blue and contain red “flint” or geometric “S” motifs in their centers. They are terminated below by an “arrowhead” and above by a lozenge containing a small red filling. The main border contains a Kufic motif of repeated groups of white Kuficlike stems, outlined in brown. Each group of characters is linked to the next by a hooked device ending in what could have been a crescent motif, but which, due to the poor state of the fragment, is impossible to identify. On the inner edge of the border, rectangular spaces created by the Kufic motif are filled with a red and blue chevroned strip on three sides. Within this, on the red field of the border is a small red square flanked on each side by two blue triangles which form an eight pointed star. The inner guard border contains a wide band of geometric floral devices using the so called “goose foot” motif. The effect resembles arrowheads which have one red and one blue side and are turned alternately to right and left on a yellow field.
The sixth example from the collection of the Alaeddin Mosque consists of two fragments, one measuring 0.87×1.66 m and the other measuring 1.32×1.23 m . They are in a very damaged condition, but must have been part of a carpet some three meters in width and most probably much longer in length. The composition consists of offset rows of closely set, hooked lozenge motifs of “arms akimbo” devices in dark blue set on a beige-yellow field. On the lower edge of the field the colors change, the motif becomes belge, the field color dark blue and the motif has a red lozenge filling. The extremely wide main border has a Kufic device in it, and each pair of the opposing Kufic stems is linked to the next by a hooked device which is crowned with a crescent motif. The stems and the linking devices are dark red outlined in brown on a light red field, while the crescent motif is green. The inner guard border separating the border from the field is a yellow strip outlined on both sides by a reddish brown contour.
There is a large carpet (2.26×1.23 m) of the same design and colors but it is in very poor condition. İt lacks one side and most of the border; its color is faded and much of its pile is lost.
The last fragment to be described is very small, 0.77×0.17 m and contains only a small part of the main field and the border (Inv. No. 678). İt was brought to the museum on August 10, 1928 from the Kılıçarslan tomb in the Alaeddin Mosque complex. The main field compositon consists of light blue hooked lozenge motifs containing small yellow diamond shaped fillings which are sur-rounded by a series of light blue elongated hexagons linked together to form an octagonal framework around the first movement. These in turn contain “flint” motifs on a dark blue field. Despite certain variations in color tone, it is clear that the border of this fragment resembles that of the fifth Konya carpet.
These Konya carpets, extremely varied in color and composition, were ali very large, one as large as 15 m2, and were designed to cover large spaces. İt has been assumed that they were donated to the Alaeddin Mosque after its extension had been ordered by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad in 1221, and were actually presented to the mosque during his lifetime. They are indeed among the most monumental examples of Selçuk art.