How to Read Hidden Secrets of Islamic Carpets

Secrets within secrets, scene from Ertugrul. Unification of the Ottoman Empire revolutionised carpet design.

How to know the history of a Carpet

Fig. 1 From Anatolia first half 16th century
The field with three columns of alternating red and green panels containing octagonal hooked panels with knotted outlines and rosette or interlace centres flanked by smaller octagonal flowerhead panels, the large octagons divided by open quartered lozenge medallions formed of overlapping split palmettes, in a sang-de-boeuf stylised kufic border between light red barber-pole and spiralling ribbon stripes, even wear and differential corrosion, some colours repiled, small old repairs, very slight loss to outer stripe. 7ft.8in. x 4ft.6in. (234cm. x 137cm.).

The Revolution in Carpet Designs

Fig 2 Showing the “Star Ushak” Carpet, This fresh‑colored carpet is one of the earliest, largest, and best-preserved examples of its type. Woven in the Ushak region of western Turkey, “Star Ushak” carpets were made for regional consumption and for export throughout Europe. A similar carpet is depicted under the throne of the Venetian doge in a painting by Paris Bordone dating to 1534, and another is seen under the feet of Henry VIII in a sixteenth-century portrait of that ruler. Their association in European painting with royalty and sanctity underscores the status these carpets enjoyed as luxury trade goods.
Fig 3 Close up of the “Star Ushak” Carpet. Revolutionised carpet design by use of curved designs.
Fig 4 Painting The Virgin Mary is shown on an inlaid marble throne, with an Islamic prayer rug at her feet. The Christ Child holds a pomegranate, a symbol of the Passion.

Everyday Use of Tribal and Nomadic Carpets

Fig 5 Zaarshahi Carpet from Herat from Afghanistan as exhibited by Barcelona.

Commercial and Court Designs

Fig 6 16th century Anhalt carpet with large medallion design in the centre

Understanding Symbolism in Carpets

Prayer Rugs

Fig 7 Codani Balouch prayer rug Pakistan, sold by DelCalifa Barcelona 2021.

Symbols in Persian Carpets

Fig 8 Peacock known for it’s cry of sorrow appears frequently in Persian carpets

Auspicious Signs in Carpets

Fig 8 Example of chintamani motif found on this Ottoman carpet

Domestic Life Shown in Carpets




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Haseeb Chaudhary

Haseeb Chaudhary

I build stuff at

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