Turkish Ghiordes Rugs


   Most of the Ghiordes rugs that come into the market now are worn and tattered fragments of what was and still is probably the most beautiful of all rugs. Though not so closely woven as the Persian makes, their chief glory is in their colour and the exquisite mosaic-like combinations in the border. In no other rugs are the balancing and proportions of colour so well maintained. The Ghiordes prayer rugs have generally a central field of solid colour. From the high-pointed prayer niche, which is one of the marked characteristics of these rugs, there is frequently suspended in the plain centre a mosque lamp, usually of floral design. Two colums, one on either side of this lamp, intended to represent the two huge altar candles of the mosque, are often found in this particular type.

Antique Ghiordes Rugs

   Frequently extending into the field from the border there are single flowers on long stems quite like the Konia motive. The wider border stripe contains a wonderful mosaic-like floral desig often blocked off like tiles, each section containing a spray of two leaves and one blossom, or two blossoms and one leaf, or three blossoms.

   The stems pointing alternately inward and outward give an undulating effect. The narrow ribbon-like stripes which separate the borders proper carry a central wavy line. Sometimes the main border contains only leaf forms, and again for the main borders is substituted the narrow, alternating dark and light stripes containing the small fleck design characteristic of the Kulah rugs. Indeed, the Kulah and Ghiordes borders are often interchanged, as it were, in both make. In the corner between the high arch (the angles of which are generally broken) and the border there is arranged in rows a repetition of the palm or pear pattern, or some variation of the leaf design of the border. Above this is a panel in which the principal colour of the border is accentuated. The pattern in this panel and in a similar panel (always put underneath the field) may carry a floral design or some geometrical figures like the swastika. A silk fringe, generally green, is often sewed around the upper end of the rug and extends down the sides about a foot.

   At Magnesia, not far from Smyrna, lived and ruled the great feudal chief Kara Osman Oghlou. The splendour of his palace and his luxurious life reads like a tale from the Arabian Nights. He was a defier of Sultans and a regal lord. He commanded the Ghiordes weaver to make a special sort of rug for his exclusive use, and these carpets when they are to be found are called the Kara Osman Ouglou Ghiordes. It was my good fortune once in visiting the town of Magnesia to obtain a carpet from an old woman who claimed descent from this illustrious family. It can not of course be one that was made in the time of Kara Osman Oghlou, but it is a very old rug and has all the excellence for which the Ghiordes weavers were famous.

   This design is sometimes copies are coarse specimens and can claim no kinship to the one shown in the illustration.

   The black and white print is a prayer rug and was copied at Harput from a tattered old one. The centre and prevailing tone is green. The space above the prayer niche is light blue and the lamp has warm red and brown shading. The border is a colour symphony as difficult to describe as an old Persian stained glass window.

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