Kula Prayer Rugs
İn general Kula prayer rugs have a warp of double-ply red or white wool and a weft of single ply white wool or cotton. Kula is quite near Gördes so the resemblances between rugs produced in these two places seem quite natural. But the prayer niche in the Kula rugs is plainer and displays a straightined triangular form, one which is finely stepped. A band of small flowers defines the prayer niche. Above the mihrab is an inscription in a narrow ayetlik. The usual color in the niche is soft red, but occasionally yellow, deep blue and ivory are used. Stylized flowers are arranged in vases which are upside down in relation to the niche or they are placed in squares on both sides. Small carnations hang down from the inner stripes and small flowers replace the hanging lantern motif. The colors are duller than those in the Gördes rugs and usually consist of apricot, gold yellow, red, blue and ivory, and rarely green. The borders are made up of narrow stripes showing detailed workmanship and may have as many as ten stripes of the same width (2.5 cm in average) or, one of them being wider, may dominate and become the essential border.
The most attractive of the Kula prayer rugs are those with the landscape patterns on the field in the niche. İn these a composition of small houses and a kind of cypress or similar tree is arranged flanking the field of the niche in rows one above the other. İn addition sometimes tombstones are placed between the trees. İn this case the rug is classified as a Tombstone Kula (Mezarlıklı Kula) rug. The mihrab triangle on these rugs is double sided and has steps leading up to it. The center is defined on a vertical axis with large flower motifs placed one on top of the other.
The most typical prayer rugs of Kula were produced in the 17th and 18th centuries. But Tike prayer rugs from all the regions of Anatolia produced at the beginning of the 18th and continuing on through the 19th century, they became inferior in quality and displayed a disorderly corruption of the traditional designs. By this time also, prayer rugs with the marpuç and triple niches were being produced in Kula under the influence of Gördes and Ladik rugs and reflect this influence. İn fact, it is difficult to diqtinguish these rugs from a Gördes rug. Saf prayer rugs as such were never made in Kula.
Konya Region Carpets and Prayer Rugs
The various motifs which are characteristic of the Uşak area carpets and prayer rugs have had an influence on the Konya region carpets and prayer rugs. This region ineludes the villages of Karapınar, Sille, Obruk, İnlice and in the areas of Ladik, Sarayönü, Ereğli and Karaman. Carpets and prayer rugs from this region, which are known by their regional names, have in common similar knots, octagonal stars and geometric designs. The diamond shapes, the two sided hooks called “ram’s head” (koçbaşı), and the oetagons called the Memling or Türkmen rose motifs (gül) form the ground filling. The prayer rugs can either have one or two mihrabs. İn the carpets that have one mihrab the background is divided by thin columns. İn the others the mihrab niches are stepped and hooked. The Kufic decorations on the borders have become simplified. The tulips, hyacinths and carnations with leaves adorn the motifs; the small niches line up along the top and bottom borders.
Ladik is the most important weaving cem ter of the Konya region and there prayer rugs feature border and column motifs which are reminiscent of those found on the Ottoman palace carpets. The curling branch motifs on the narrow border, however, have come from the Uşak carpet borders. The “S” motifs, Kufic imitative decorations, guadrifoil leaves and diamond-shaped motifs are also seen on Uşak carpets. The motifs of Karaman carpets are hooked and stepped diamond shapes with octagonal stars. These features are often seen in the 15th century paintings by Flaman, Memling and Van Eyck.
Hooked octagonal motifs with regional migration variations can be found on the carpets from Tekke, Yomut, Sarit, Ersari, Salor and Afgan. The Salor carpets are examples of the rare Türkmen carpets and have interlacing four part motifs that come from the Konya carpets.
Ladik Prayer Rugs
Rugs made in Ladik, near Konya, reflect a combination of two influences, that of the Ottoman palace carpets and that of the loca region. İn quality they are regarded just beow those of Gördes and Kula. İn general, their composition is reminiscent of other types of prayer rugs but displays a characteristic uniqueness. The mihrab has either a single or a triple arch, and in the latter, the middle arch is higher and wider than the other two. The niche rests on slender decorative columns. The ayettik and tabanlık above and below the niche have been removed all together, leaving wide rectangular spaces either on the top or at the bottom. Stemmed tulips, floral motifs and trees are arranged in these in a row, a particular characteristic of Ladik rugs. The niche, when single, is stepped and forms a plain triangle with hooks on the outer edges. İt is topped by a finial. İn some cases, small carnations hang down from the top; the niche is plain and infrequently has a date inscribed in it. The three lobed niches can be either with or without columns. The colors are vivid and mostly red, with deep blue on the niche ground, and yellow, purple and green on the borders. As noted earlier, this type of prayer rug was collected in the churches of Transylvania and came to be known by that name also.
Kırşehir Prayer Rugs
The prayer rugs of Kırşehir are a product of central Anatolia although the motif of double or triple outlines with hooks and steps in the niche of these rugs is also prevalent in the rugs of Gördes and Ladik. The Kırşehir rugs in existence date from the end of the 18th and especially from the 19th centuries. They are generally large in size, 1.5×2.5 m. Some of them have symmetrical double niches. The knots are loose and the colors are pale, the most usual colors being two or three tones of red, blue, green, yellow and black with a touch of brown and ivory. The main border displays floral motifs containing such elemente as ivy and cypress. The narrow stripes of the Kula rugs and the floral designs of the Gördes rugs are also typical characteristics of the narrow borders on Kırşehir prayer rugs.
Mucur Prayer Rugs
Prayer rugs produced in Mucur share much in common with those of Kırşehir probably because both cities are in the same province. The designs and compositlons are also based on those of the Ladik rugs. The first examples of this type from Mucur are dated from the end of the 17th century. Briefly they can be characterized as follows. The finely stepped prayer niche in several contours is either single or on opposite ends of the rug. There is a Crescentat the top. A flower or leaf motif appears in the center, as do hanging lamps. Small flowers hang down from the sides or in the center. The prayer niche is plain except occasionally there is a square medallion in the center. Ewer designs and half lozenge decorations on the alınlık and geometric motif sare remarkably reminiscent of those on Ladik rugs. Usually bright colors are used with purple as the charaeteristic color complimented by three shades of red and blue, yellow, black, white and a touch of green. Multipleniche prayer rugs bearing much the same characteristics as those above were also produced in Mucur.
Milas Prayer Rugs
Milas prayer rugs first made their appearances in the 18th century and can easily be identified because of their unique niche design, their long pile and their selvages. The niche is lobed in many instances and forms a lozenge at the top. The border is sometimes twice as wide as the niche. A crescent appears above the niche; on the sides are stylized blossoms or leaves; and the field is filled with geometric designs. The upper horizontal panel is also decorated symmetrically with stylized floral designs. The field is often dark peachred and the borders, are predominately yellow and green. Crimson, white and dark blue are also used. The bright yellow on the border stripes is also typical of Milas rugs. These stripes are decorated with zigzag motifs. The Milas prayer rugs utilize the Gördes designs but at the same time show some influence from Uşak and Bergama rugs, as well as from the Kula rugsf particularly in the border designs. Lastly, we should note that the examples in this group are an accurate imitation of the white field Uşak (Transylvanlan) rugs. The Milas rugs display a hybrid composition and for that reason they are sometimes called the “Hybrid” rugs.
Bergama Prayer Rugs
From the earliest 16th century examples it is obvious that Bergama carpets and prayer rugs have continued to carry the motifs and particular colors used on the Selçuk carpets, namely buff, natural white, two different reds, blue, brownish green and brown, and often with two shades of the same color side by side. This continues even today.
The mihrab niches on the prayer rugs are unique. They are encircled by bands of hooked or curved foliate stems. The sharp-pointed mihrab is framed on the sides by octagons either pointing in orout. Sometimes the center of the niche is filled with lozenges and the wide borders have Kufic like motifs which end in an “S” and small lozenges.
The carpets display both geometric and strong stylized plant motifs side by side and often echoed appropriately in the borders. After the 19th century these motifs were of naturalistic flowers and leaves. The reappearance of small animal figures in the 18th century on the Bergama carpets attests also to their relationship to former animal figured carpets.
A unique feature of the Bergama rugs of the 17th century was the use of wool in both the warp and weft. The warp is double ply thick, natural wool, while the weft is single ply red, or rarely brown wool. The knots were usually loose. The frequently used colors were cherry red, yellow, walnut green and blue.
Sometimes two shades of the same color were also used. The single- or triple arched triangular niches were decorated with hanging lamps and angular twisted branches. The floral motifs are extremely stylized and look most geometric. Rum is and stylized flowers with twisted branches are placed between the border cartouches, while schematized trilobed clover motifs appear in the narrow border. Actually the Bergama rugs are no more than variations on the other types of Anatolian prayer rugs.
Prayer rugs with animal skin motifs make another characteristic group in Turkish carpet art. The field ofsuch rugs is filled with spotted or speckled leopard skin designs. Because actual skins were often used when performing prayers they became a natural model for these later rugs, the oldest of which date to the 17th century.
At the end of the 18th century there was, throughout Anatolia, a deterioration in the quality of rugs, particularly in the production from the small rug looms. Even though the rugs were all based on traditional patterns, the individual regional characteristics can be distinguished in rugs produced up to the end of the 19th century; however deterioration had already set in by that time.