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Name of Object:

Small-pattern Holbein carpet


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum


AD 15th century

Type of object:

Carpet fragment

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; knotted pile carpet, symmetrical knot


L: 160, W: 92

Period / Dynasty:



Western Anatolia


This fragment is the earliest example of a so-called small-pattern Holbein carpet in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. Hans Holbein the Younger very frequently painted a number of examples of this type, thus giving his name to this distinctive group of carpets. The two motifs arranged in offset rows are characteristic. One is an octagon formed from a braided band, which is filled with white in this carpet. The second motif is a lozenge which is formed from several stylised leaf forms. The unusual variegation of the leafy vines and their over- and underlapping are signs of an early design. This is also indicated by the wide, heavily braided border. Its design is based on the script known as kufic and is referred to as pseudo-kufic. The leaf forms at the tips of the strokes, the endless knot and the over- and underlapping of the basic line are evidence of the highest complexity and craftsmanship. This early form of the border is already to be found in 15th-century paintings, for example those of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494).

How date and origin were established:

The carpet has been dated on comparison with carpets in paintings as well as on stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and knot-technique

How Object was obtained:

1940 in exchange with the Museum for Applied Arts, Duesseldorf

Selected bibliography:

Beselin, Anna, Geknüpfte Kunst. Teppiche des Museums für Islamische Kunst, Berlin: Minerva, 2011.

Citation of this web page:

Anna Beselin "Small-pattern Holbein carpet"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;de;Mus31;3;en

Prepared by: Anna Beselin

MWNF Working Number: DE1_003

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