A Magnificent and Rare Oversized Antique 17th Century Turkish Smyrna Rug, Country of Origin / Rug Type: Antique Turkish Rugs, Circa Date: Late 17th Century – This spectacular antique Turkish 17th century rug from Smyrna is an extremely rare find. It is a large rug that is typical of antique rugs that were made for the Palaces and public buildings of the Ottoman Empire. Even more remarkable is that the colors are as bright and vibrant as the day the rug was created almost 400 years ago.
Some antique Oriental carpets seem to have something magical about them. They have a combination of color and design that works together in a way that creates an almost sublime quality. This antique Turkish rug is one of those rare pieces.
This antique 17th century Turkish Smyrna rug is also important from a historical perspective too. Smyrna is an ancient city that goes back as far as the third century BC. It has been occupied by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and later, the Ottoman Empire. Its name was changed to Izmir, which is what it is known by today. From the 14th century onward, the city was occupied by both Greeks and Ottoman Turks, but it was not a peaceful existence. After a war between the Greeks and Ottoman rulers, the Turks decided to lay to ruin anything Greek and make a show of power. This is where a carpet such as this might have come into play.
The Ottomans used the arts as one way to show their power. They were known for their patronage of the arts and the establishment of state-funded formal schools. Carpets were produced on an enormous scale, both in size and number. Ottoman artists introduced many new patterns and created pieces of exceptional quality and beauty. Rugs and carpets, such as this one, can be found in miniature paintings and were apart of many formal occasions.
Even though we do not know the exact history of this rug, we do know that early rugs like it were often given as political gifts or used to show the power of the Empire. The history of this rug certainly sparks the imagination. Who knows what it has witnessed in its lifetime?
Smyrna is located in Anatolia, and this carpet has many characteristics found in other smaller rugs of the area. The design is based on a central medallion, which is a motif that began to develop in the fourteenth century but had become quite complex by the 17th century. Also, the borders surrounding the rug became more complex and consisted of the main border and several guard borders by this time.
One of the characteristics of rugs of the late 17th century is that the artisan was hired by the Ottoman Court and wove carpets according to official Court designs. It is not known if this rug is a formal Court design, but it does have many of the characteristics of carpets in them.
The motifs found throughout the rug show the angular, stylized characteristics of those found throughout other Anatolian rugs. The geometric qualities of the carpet are one of the aspects that sets it apart from carpets from other areas.
Considering its complexity, the color palette of the rug is simple. It uses light blue, dark blue, red, orange-yellow and ivory. The ability to achieve such an intricate design with such a simple pallet shows the mark of a true artist. It also creates unity in the complex design.
We do not know a lot about the exact history of this antique 17th century Turkish Smyrna rug , but we do know a lot about similar rugs woven in the area during the period. The only thing that we do know is that this is a remarkable piece and extremely rare. This and collectible rug is a gem in the carpet world and would make an excellent piece for any collection.