‘Among the most eminent woven goods exported by the Ottomans were carpets.’
Textiles were a vital part of the Ottoman economy, particularly since the Ottoman domains included substantial portions of the ancient silk-trade route. Their importance only increased as their value was appreciated in Europe and elsewhere. Among the most eminent woven goods exported by the Ottomans were carpets whose beautiful designs and outstanding quality made them popular with the wealthy classes of Europe. Evidence of this can be seen in European paintings contemporary to the classical Ottoman period. Artists such as Hans Holbein and Lorenzo Lotto depicted wealthy or noble individuals (including King Henry VIII of England) surrounded by symbols of prosperity and luxury, including carpets with distinctly Ottoman designs. Such carpets are now known as ‘Holbein’ and ‘Lotto’ carpets.