Thursday, 5 June 2008

Arabesque Mamluk Carpets Mix Perfect Art With Perfect Mystery

CAIRO, June 6, 2008 -- Are Mamluk carpets the most mysterious rugs of all?

There are many reasons to think so.

The rugs were created during the reign of the Mamluk sultans in Cairo from 1250 to 1517 at a time when medieval Islamic art was at its pinnacle in Egypt.

And it is clear that the sultans spared no expense -- from the painstaking weaving of the rugs’ mosaic-like designs to their saturated colors and their superb wool.

But no-one is sure exactly where these masterpiece workshop rugs were woven. Some carpets experts say Egypt, some Spain, some Turkey.

One of the reasons for considering so many places is that the rugs appeared under the Mamluks as if out of thin air. Elisabeth Greenberg observes in her article ‘Jewelled Carpets: Treasures of the Mamluk Empire’ that “prior to these rugs there was no pile-rug weaving tradition in Egypt.”

Examining the rugs for clues just offers more riddles. Their lustrous wool is unlike that used in other Egyptian textiles of the time, but doesn’t clearly come from somewhere else. The wool is spun clockwise, when most carpet wools are spun counterclockwise. And, the red dye is obtained from lac – an Indian insect – at a time when master weavers in Turkey and Iran were using entirely different pigments.

That leaves only the carpets’ designs as a guide. These, at least, are consistent with other artworks created under the Mamluks. Thus many experts conclude that the carpets must have been woven in Cairo under the close supervision of the Mamluk court.

As to who the Mamluks were, their story is no less extraordinary. Although they ruled Egypt and Syria, they originally came to the Mideast as slave-solders from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Arab rulers purchased or recruited them as youths from Turkic, Mongol, and Circassian tribes in Central Asia and trained them as elite palace troops.

But the Mamluks revolted and seized power for themselves. And still more surprisingly -- despite a warrior ethos so competitive that, on the average, the Mamluks killed or removed their own leaders every five years – they were huge patrons of art.

When the Mamluk empire fell to the Ottomons in 1517, their distinctive carpets disappeared with them. Today, only one remains in Cairo and the rest of the some 100 or so pieces that survive are the prizes of a handful of top world museums. The images above are of a rug in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Museums rarely display their centuries-old Mamluks for fear they will be damaged by too much exposure to light. But when the rugs are shown, they always amaze viewers -- just as their designers intended.

The Mamluk’s complex Arabesque patterns evoke the harmony and infinity of the divine. Astonishingly, they do so with patterns that appear both perfectly mathematical and perfectly mystical at the same time. And the carpets literally shimmer before the eyes, making a them appear as much like a vision of a rug as a reality.

Small surprise, then, that some carpet producers today are interested in trying to recreate the Mamluks in whole or part.

Woven Legends, a Philadephia-based company, has for several years worked with Turkish weavers to try to duplicate some of the Mamluk Rugs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The results – Woven Legends’ ‘Sardis’ line (right) – have won critical acclaim. The retail price is $ 968 per square meter and the rugs come in a variety of sizes and patterns.

The original Mamluk weavers not only produced the complex geometric medallion carpets they are most famous for but also full-field rugs as well.

The full-field designs are best exemplified by the so-called para-mamluks produced in Damascus. The rugs are often referred to ‘chessboard’ carpets in Europe and are highly coveted collectors’ items.

This one (left) is from the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.

Today, the chessboard designs, too, are inspiring some carpet producers to explore new possibilities.

This rug is produced by Afghan weavers, who are among the most innovative designers for the popular market today.

Simply called 'Mamluk' (right), it is offered by Nomad Rugs of San Francisco and has an Arabesque field with cartouche borders – both staples of Mamluk design.

At a price of $ 488 per square meter, it can only hint at the charms of more complex chessboard patterns.

But that may be just where many first-time rug explorers would want to begin.




Related Links:

Barry O'Connel: Guide To Mamluk Art

Jewelled Carpets : Treasures of the Mamluk Empire, by Elisabeth Greenberg

Mamluk Carpets - Legacy of the Conquering Nomads, by Roy Chatalbash

Art of the Mamluks – Saudi Aramco World, Nov/Dec 1981

History of Mamluks – The Battle of ‘Ain Jalut

Woven Legends

Nomad Rugs of San Francisco


Alberto De Reviziis said...

Hi, I'd like to present myself, I'm Italian and my passion and my work are carpets. I have founded the forums infotappeti and I manage a blog similar to this
For this reason I have written,to signal these ones to you and to propose an exchange link.

have a nice nice day

viagra without prescriptions said...

I love this kind of exotic art so much! why you don't post more photos?

Unknown said...

obat penyakit sipilis pada wanita penyakit sipilis pada lelaki penyakit sipilis pada wanita mengobati penyakit sipilis secara alami

Unknown said...

cara mengobati kemaluan keluar nanah obat kemaluan keluar nanah ujung kemaluan keluar nanah obat penis keluar nanah kelamin pria keluar nanah obat kelamin pria keluar nanah obat kelamin pria keluar nanah mengapa alat kelamin keluar nanah kemaluan laki laki keluar nanah kemaluan keluar nanah kemaluan keluar cairan nanah mengapa kemaluan keluar nanah cairan nanah keluar dari kemaluan kencing perih dan keluar cairan nanah cairan nanah keluar dari kemaluan pria mengapa cairan nanah keluar dari kemaluan kemaluan pria keluar nanah penyebab kemaluan keluar cairan nanah cara mengobati kemaluan keluar nanah kemaluan keluar nanah di sertai perih saat kencing mengobati kemaluan keluar nanah pada pria mengobati kemaluan keluar cairan nanah pada pria mengobati kelamin keluar nanah mengobati kemaluan pria yang keluar nanah

Unknown said...

canada goose jackets,
michael kors outlet,
prada handbags,
ugg boots,
cheap snapbacks,
michael kors outlet,
coach outlet store,
canada goose coats,
nike roshe,
cheap mlb jerseys,
moncler coats,
the north face outlet,
stuart weitzman boots,
cyber monday 2015,
coach outlet online,
rolex watches uk,
chanel outlet,
designer handbags,
black friday deals,
michael kors outlet,
michael kors outlet,
hollister uk,
tiffany outlet,
the north face jackets,
michael kors outlet store,
chanel handbags,
true religion jeans,

Fangyaya said...

fitflops sale clearance
coach outlet
kevin durant shoes 8
louis vuitton handbags
celine outlet
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
ray ban wayfarer
louis vuitton outlet
ed hardy clothing
coach factory outlet
air jordans
coach outlet
jordan concords
celine handbags
basketball shoes
ray ban sunglasses wholesale
burberry outlet
coach outlet online
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton bags
instyler curling iron
marc jacobs
gucci outlet
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
coach outlet store online
longchamp handbags
coach outlet store online
michael kors outlet
jordan 6
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet online
jordan shoes
coach outlet

Unknown said...

michael kors
ugg outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
buffalo bills jerseys
gucci outlet
nike air max 90
ed hardy uk
cincinnati bengals jerseys
ray ban sunglasses outlet
oklahoma city thunder

raybanoutlet001 said...

kate spade sale
coach outlet
ugg boots
ugg outlet
michael kors bags
new orleans saints jerseys
houston texans jerseys
jordan shoes
yeezy shoes
skechers shoes

Unknown said...

air max 90
nike air force
michael kors
burberry scarf
kobe 11
air jordan 6
curry shoes
jordan retro

Unknown said...

michael kors handbags
ralph lauren outlet
nike outlet
moncler jackets
off white nike
adidas shoes
oakley sunglasses wholesale
pandora outlet
golden goose shoes

5689 said...

adidas nmd
pandora jewelry
pandora outlet
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
ralph lauren uk
ralph lauren polo
yeezy boots 350
salomon shoes
canada goose outlet

CB said...

By reading the article material very very well and this is very useful.
cara menggugurkan kandungan dengan asam jawa
aktivitas penyebab keguguran
penyebab telat haid dan solusinya
tanda tanda kehamilan
kalkulator masa subur wanita
masa subur wanita