Melas Prayer Rug with Carnations

Circa 1850
187 cm x 106 cm
6'1" x 3'5"

Melas prayer rugs were among the first I ever dealt with, even since I acquired one in New York while I was a college student. The prayer rugs of this area are particularly interesting as they seem to offer countless variations on a common theme. Here the interior of the niche is punctuated by clusters of border motifs, almost representing the weaver’s repertoire. In the actual border she opted for the carnation design, but seemed to have second thoughts as she approached the indentation of the niche.

  • Warp: wool, ivory
  • Weft: wool, rust, 2 shots between knotted rows
  • Knot: symmetrical, weaving direction is adjacent to niche, slight warp depression
  • Knot count: 12H x 10V = 120 knots/square inch
  • Selvages: flat, two sets of paired warps
  • Ends: top with original weft-faced plain weave
  • Colours: rust red, pistachio green, yellow, light blue, purple, orange red, brown black, ivory (8)
  • Condition: pile is uniformly low showing knot collars; some scattered repiling
Private Collection, San Francisco

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