Skip to main content

Antique Mamluk Rugs

Antique Mamluk Rugs History By Nazmiyal

Learning about beautiful Antique Mamluk Rugs

Antique Mamluk Rugs – The Mamluk Dynasty, originally “slave-soldiers” of Turkic descent, came to power in Egypt in the mid thirteenth century. By the fifteenth century they had established a thriving carpet industry in their capital, Cairo.

Many examples of these Mamluk carpets have been preserved. The designs of Mamluk rugs are very complex, consisting of large medallions made up of intersecting compartments of various forms adapted from the great tradition of Islamic geometric ornament.

The borders consisted of oblong medallions or car-touches. The smaller details of Mamluk carpets, however, relate closely to contemporary Turkish Ottoman carpets, no doubt reflecting the close commercial and cultural ties that existed between both realms.

Mamluk Carpet, Egypt, c. 1500, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Mamluk Carpet, Egypt, c. 1500, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The beautiful antique Mamluk rugs and carpets are distinguished not only by their distinctive designs, but also by their lustrous wool, fine weave and soft, closely valued coloration dominated by pale greens, yellows and reds. They are by all accounts, breathtaking examples of beautifully woven antique rugs.

A variant of the Mamluk production, sometimes termed “Paramamluk,” utilized allover patterns of smaller concentric hexagons, octagons, and squares – the so-called “Chessboard” carpets.

Mamluk Rugs

Mamluk Rugs – Paramamluk or “Chessboard” Carpet, Syria, early 16th century, Textile Museum, Washington D.C., (from V. Gantzhorn, Oriental Carpets, ill. 324).

These have been attributed to Damascus,  a major center in the Syrian portion of the Mamluk realm. The Ottomans conquered and annexed the Mamluk territories in 1517.

The production of antique Mamluk carpets seems to have continued in Egypt and Syria after the Ottoman takeover. In addition, the Ottoman court began to commission the production of carpets from the workshops of Cairo in a florid arabesque style. Known as “Cairene” carpets, they competed with the suave designs of contemporary Safavid Persia.

Shopping Cart