November 12, 2017
18th and 19th century Turkish Rugs and their Relation to the ‘Transylvanian’ Group

Talk by Stefano Ionescu

Some pictures
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The talk started with a quick review of two groups of ‘Transylvanian’ rugs: Plain-niche and Column Rugs. For each type Stefano presented an inventory with dating elements of the existing 17th century examples, based on a comprehensive survey in public and private collections and in carpet literature. He traced the remains and the evolution of the motifs of these ‘Transylvanian’ groups in 18th and early 19th century Anatolian rugs: Bergama, Dazkiri, Demirci, Gördes, Kula, Konya, Karapinar, Melas, Mudjur, Ladik and further to the East. During the talk he questioned if there was a continuation of tradition or just more recent carpet production, inspired by old models. Stefano also discussed some lesser know transitional examples from the Turkish museum together with some outstanding village rugs.

Stefano Ionescu, an independent scholar on Oriental carpets, has dedicated nearly twenty years to the study of Anatolian rugs, starting with those that survived in Transylvania. This region continues to be the repository of the richest and best-preserved corpus of small Turkish carpets outside the Islamic world: nearly four hundred examples attributable to the golden period of Ottoman weaving, from the 16th to 18th century.: ‘Holbein’, ‘Ushak’, ‘Lotto’, Selendi and a wealth of so-called ‘Transylvanian’ rugs.

His book titled Antique Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, which was awarded the Romanian Academy Prize in the History of Art, a very rare occurance in the realm of rug literature. In 2011 he received the Joe Mc Mullan award.

Stefano produces high quality Replicas of the originals in Sultanhani, in Anatolia between Konya and Aksaray, employing hand carded, hand spun wool, natural dyes and traditional techniques. It is hoped that parishes will substitute old church-rugs which ought to be carefully preserved in museums for generations to come with these replicas.

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