Name of Object:



London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Victoria and Albert Museum

About Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Date of Object:

Hegira 10th / AD 16th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Knotted wool.


Length 531 cm (including fringes), width 250 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Possibly Uşak, a town in west-central Anatolia (modern Turkey).


A large rectangular carpet of the type known as a Medallion Uşak. On a red ground, a large blue primary medallion, in the shape of a slightly flattened oval with pendants, occupies the centre of the carpet and is reflected at either end. Four elaborate secondary medallions, which would have 16 lobes each if they were not interrupted by the border of the main field, occupy the quadrants above and below the central medallion. Each of the carpet's medallions contains arabesque patterns, and the red ground between them is filled as well with a continuous floral pattern which fills the space without appearing to go 'behind' any of the medallions. The carpet's triple border has repeating floral patterns on yellow, red, and blue backgrounds. The compelling abstract complexity of this carpet is testimony to the skill which Ottoman designers lavished on the creation of non-figurative patterns.

View Short Description

A large rectangular carpet of the type known as a Medallion Uşak. The design, which includes elaborate medallions on a ground of a continuous floral pattern, is quite complex and shows the skill with which the Ottomans created non-figurative designs.

How date and origin were established:

The quality of the pattern and the sophistication of its execution have led scholars to attribute this carpet to the late 10th / 16th century, a period of high artistic attainment in Turkey.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the Museum in 1914.

How provenance was established:

Carpets of this type have been associated with the town of Uşak for many years. Yet while Ottoman historical sources confirm that Uşak was an important center of carpet weaving, it is difficult to be certain that any given carpet was woven there.

Selected bibliography:

Franses, M., and Pinner, R., "The 'Classical' Carpets of the 15th to 17th Centuries" (part 1 of an article on "Turkish Carpets in the Victoria and Albert Museum"), Hali 6:4, 1984, p.371 (NB photos for figs. 19 and 20 are reversed).

Stanley, T., with Rosser-Owen, M., and Vernoit, S., Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, 2004, p.58 and plate 76.

Citation of this web page:

Barry Wood "Carpet" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;uk;Mus02;41;en

Prepared by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK2 50


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Exporting Luxury

MWNF Galleries


See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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