Beautiful Large Size Antique 16th Century Alcaraz Carpet, Country of Origin: Spain, Circa Date: Second half of the 16th Century This exquisite late 16th century carpet was produced in Alcaraz, Spain during the House of Hapsburg rule. The Hapsburgs took control of Spain after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ousted the Moors from the land, after nearly 700 years of occupation. During this time, there was a formal campaign to develop a uniquely Spanish artistic style, devoid of as many Moorish elements as possible. This early rug represents this movement.
This carpet is an excellent example of the formal mandate to develop a distinctively Spanish style of artwork. It is an allover geometric design that is in primarily tans and blues. The geometric elements are large in scale, and the borders of the rug lost the intricate designs that characterized the Moorish influence. It has tendencies that resemble those found in the Italian Renaissance, more than the middle eastern influences of earlier centuries.
Alacaraz is a region in Southern Castile and is thought to be one of the first centers to produce these new designs. The colors of the antique Spanish rugs became muted due to experimentation with new dye stuffs. In addition, the skill of the Moorish master carpet dyers was lost. Many of these antique Alcaraz carpets faded over time, more so than those produced by Moorish dye works and weavers. The muted tones demonstrate the shift in the Spanish economy of the time and this intentional shift in artistic thought. This places the unique characteristics of the rug within their proper historical context and brings an appreciation for the rarity of such a find.
Once you understand the historical context of this carpet and how its features reflect the history of Spain and its struggle to find its own voice under Hapsburg rule, it is indeed a rare antique Oriental rug. This museum quality antique rug is representative of an important time period in Spanish history and deserves a place where it can be appreciated for is true beauty and the artistic movement that it represents.