Title: "Lotto" Carpet with Closed Kufesque Border
Date: first half 16th century
Culture: Ottoman period
Medium: wool
80 x 44 in. (203.2 x 111.8 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of James F. Ballard
Object Number: 101:1929
Place made: Turkey
Current Location: Not On View
Carpets with this type of angular, stylized floral design are referred to as “Lotto” carpets because they appear in several paintings by the Renaissance Italian artist Lorenzo Lotto. He knew such carpets because they were exported to Italy from Anatolia. Although this style was popular in Italy, carpets made for the Ottoman court in Istanbul were very different, with central medallions and curving floral designs. Carpets were also used differently in the two regions: in the Islamic world, they were placed on the floor, whereas in Europe, they were used to cover tables. For this reason, the export carpets were generally smaller than those made for use within the Ottoman Empire.

The motif in the border of the carpet is pseudo-Kufic script. Kufic is an angular style of Arabic script, and here the letters are so abstracted and stylized that they are merely decorative. For centuries, luxury textiles had been exported from the Islamic world to Europe, so the pseudo-script indicated the carpet’s origins and value.
Signed: unsigned
Exhibition History
Title: Exhibition of Oriental Rugs
Date: October - December, 1924
Venue: John Herron Museum of Art
Title: Rugs from the Ballard Collection
Date: April 26 – June 4, 1967
Venue: City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Title: 2000 Years of Textiles
Date: August 24 - October 8, 1972
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Publication History
Title: The Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs in The City Art Museum of St. Louis
Author: Maurice S. Dimand
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Catalogue of Oriental Rugs in the Collection of James F. Ballard
Author: Arthur MacLean
Author: Dorothy L. Blair
Publisher: John Herron Museum of Art
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