Ivory Ground Group A Ghiordes Prayer Rug

Circa 1680
162 cm x 128 cm
5'3" x 4'2"

Francesca Fiorentino and myself have been researching and reappraising Ghiordes prayer rugs, essentially subdividing this large family into three distinct groups (A, B and C). Our main intent was to be able to define more precisely the continuum represented by the gradual disappearance of Transylvanian rugs with the slow but steady appearance of other Turkish prayer rug families, such as Ghiordes. The earliest are from group A, of which this is a glorious example, previously appearing in the 1916 publication entitled ‘Thirty Six Antique Ghiordes Rugs – Collection of James F. Ballard’. Paper fine in weave, with a very pliable handle, it’s characterised by an exquisite quality of drawing and by a soft and harmonious palette. The carefully drawn mihrab contains a pair of columns with palmettes at both ends, and is perfectly balanced with both the blossom tracery in the spandrels as well as with the multitude of frames, the main sickle leaf-palette border being almost a signature for the group. These early Ghiordes rugs have a tactile quality that reminds me of 16th Century Ushaks. It isn’t surprising that they were dated so early in the old literature and were highly coveted by collectors. In the words of J.F. Ballard ‘The floral shading of this rug possesses a soft mellowness, glowing colours, and a splendour and brilliancy impossible to conceive. It is a woven mosaic.’

  • Warp: wool, ivory Weft: wool, rust red, 2 shots between knotted rows
  • Knot: symmetrical, weaving direction is opposite to niche, no warp depression
  • Knot count: 24H x 12V = 288 knots/square inch
  • Selvages: missing
  • Ends: blue-green weft-faced plain weave, partly missing at bottom
  • Colours: ivory, light blue, dark blue, soft peach, brick red, light green, celadon green, coral pink, dark brown (9)
  • Condition: pile is uniformly of medium height, with small scattered areas of old restoration and conservation
James F. Ballard Collection, St. Louis

Let's stay in touch.

Sign up for the newsletter to receive an update on the world of contemporary and antique rugs, textiles and design. Be the first to know about our sales and exhibition.