cult kelim plate 9
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This ‘animal’ fragment bridges an interesting gap to a group of somewhat similarily figured Anatolian pile woven carpets dating from the 14th to the end of the 16th century A.D.  While the exact provenance of these weaving is still a matter of question, their dating has been confirmed by similar representations in Western paintings where four general types have been identified 10. These carpets often have animals drawn in a rather abstract style that are usually placed within separate geometric boxes or frames.

The two animals shown here, a bird and a rear-facing quadruped, exhibit an even earlier and rarer type of stylization where familiarity is combined with fantasy.  The beginnings of this type of drawing style can be first seen during the late Palaeolithic. A later and more stylized version can be seen seen in the equally mysterious anthropomorphic creatures on the weaving used for the logo of this exhibition. The symbolic spirals below their feet and the baby birds placed within the six-sided tile in each figures stomach add themes of birth and regeneration to this scene.

Both the logo and this Plate furnish archetypal versions of designs associated with later Anatolian kelims and at the same time also demonstrate these weavings connections to much earlier artistic conventions.  The cross-like lattice around which this Plate’s animals are arranged has a different motif at the end of each of the remaining arms.  The bottom most one reproduces the border stripe found on Plates Three, Four and Five and the top one contains the familiar birthing goddess figure.

The 14 spirals seen below the creatures on the logo seem to have been derived from Plate One’s rows of lotus flowers and the paired birds flanking a pole-like column reproduce in a woven form a style associated with Bronze Age sculptures from Luristan.  Perhaps the most significant relationship this fragment maintains provides the origin of the so-called ‘carnation’ design found on many later Anatolian kelims.  The individual elements of that design have been re-evaluated and now it is interpreted as showing a goddess figure holding two vultures. The outstretched arms of the abstract figure, which crowns the logo’s central column, along with the two large bird-like creatures and their large wings provide an important glimpse into the long transition process this design has undergone. During the Neolithic period several different versions of this design are known and all factors point to their relationship to the kelim’s later carnation design.

10. see “Historical Turkish Carpets”


cult kelim plate 1


cult kelim plate 2


cult kelim plate 3


cult kelim plate 4


cult kelim plate 5


cult kelim plate 6


cult kelim plate 7


cult kelim plate 8


cult kelim plate 9



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