Seljuk Carpets

A high point in the art of carpet making was to be achieved during the three centuries of the Seljuk Period but unfortunately there are no examples from the period called the Great Selcuk Period. We do how ever have surviving carpet and fragments from the Anatolian Seljuk Period. These have been designed the ‘’Konya Carpets’’ but basically this is a misnomer. The sources of our evidence come from three finds: those from Konya, those from Beysehir and those from Fostat.

In spite of the fragmented condition of most of these samples, it has been possible to piece together what we have come to believe is the first expiration in a consistent development of design and quality. Thus this group can be called the first group of Turkish carpets of later periods even up to the present.

Today the total Seljuk carpet collection consist of eighteen pieces, fifteen of which are fragments. Eight of these were found in Konya and three in Beysehir. Seven are from the Fostat. Only two within the group are quite similar; both of these are in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul (Inv Nos. 692 and 693). The others all have varying colours and motifs; each is unique. Such variation indicates the existence of considerable creative potential on the part of those who produced them.

In essence a study of the Seljuk group reveals that the prototypic designs were derived from the infusion of highly stylized floral motifs into geometric designs and from border compositions consisting of Kufic devices. In some cases the geometric forms are created by the reputation of motif in rows. In fact floral motifs, if one can identify them as such, are not only stylized but highly abstract; certainly representational figures are unknown. As we examine each of these fragments it will become quite clear that generalizations must give way to the unique and stunning quality of each piece.

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