© MIK, Ingrid Geske

Name of Object:

Niche carpet


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum

About Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Date of Object:

AD early 16th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; knotted pile carpet, symmetrical knot


L: 177, W: 122

Period / Dynasty:





This carpet is among the most famous in the Berlin collection. As early as 1871 it was acquired by Wilhelm von Bode for the painter Heinrich von Angeli, but it was not until 1905 that Bode was able to buy it from his heirs and donate it to the Museum. Von Angeli and some of his colleagues depicted this carpet several times. The charm of this carpet lies in its depth of colour, its high, dense pile and the impressive sheen of the wool. On a dark blue ground, two red-ground spandrels are separated in the form of niches by a strong white line. Unusually, the spandrels blend into each other at their tops. The lower half of the niche field is filled with a light blue cloud band, in whose arc a large blossom forms a fixed point. This cloud band is reminiscent of delimitations in the so-called keyhole or Bellini carpets. Their often angular arch forms are associated with fountains, which were needed for the ritual cleansing before prayer. Because of the Persian appearance of the blossoms, the origin of the cloud band from East Asian cultures, and the use of depressed warps, this carpet has occasionally been ascribed to Persia. However, not only the colour palette and the reference to the keyhole motif, but also the use of a symmetrical knot, speak in favour of a location in Turkey.

How date and origin were established:

The carpet has been radio carbon dated. The carpet has been dated on stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and knot-technique

How Object was obtained:

Bought by Wilhem von Bode in 1871 for the painter Heinrich von Angeli; 1905 gifted by Wilhelm von Bode

How provenance was established:

The carpet has been located on stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and knot-technique

Selected bibliography:

Beselin, Anna, Geknüpfte Kunst. Teppiche des Museums für Islamische Kunst, Berlin: Minerva, 2011. Bode, Wilhelm von, Vorderasiatische Knüpfteppiche aus älterer Zeit, 2nd edition, with contributions by E. Kühnel, Leipzig o.a., 1914.

Citation of this web page:

Anna Beselin "Niche carpet" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;DCA;de;Mus31;5;en

Prepared by: Anna Beselin

MWNF Working Number: DE1_005


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