National Museum of Ancient Art
Linen and wool; embroidered; oblique or Slavic cross-stitch (known as ponto de Arraiolos)
H: 230cm, W: 128cm
Even though the manufacture of Arraiolos carpets has been documented since the late 16th century, the earliest surviving examples are from the first third of the 17th century. In essence, these early pieces reveal a marked similarity to oriental carpets, especially those from Iran, but also from Turkey. Although there are no Turkish carpets in Portuguese collections, other documentary and iconographic sources confirm the presence of them in Portugal, especially during the first half of the 16th century. Just as with paintings, where representations of carpets of Turkish and Iranian origin have been recognised, some Arraiolos carpets bear testimony to the consumption habits of old, attesting to their presence in, and influence upon Portuguese artistic production. Such is the case with this example, whose composition recalls those of the “small-pattern Holbein”-type carpets, made in Anatolia.
Despite that today it appears yellowish, the profusely decorated border was originally red and would have contrasted vividly with the blue field, where large palmettes form orthogonal lines, alternated with miniscule birds, which frame small rosettes.
Technical information provided by Teresa Pacheco Pereira
Transferred from the Convent of Santa Maria do Paraíso, Évora, Portugal, in 1897
Stylistic analysis and material dating
Leite, Maria Fernanda Passos, “Tapetes de Arraiolos”, in Artes decorativas portuguesas no Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga: Séculos XV‒XVIII, Lisbon: MNAA, 1979.
Mendonça, Maria José de, “Tapetes de Arraiolos”, in Barreira, João (ed.), Arte Portuguesa – Artes Decorativas, Lisbon: Excelsior, n.d.
Pereira, Teresa Pacheco, Tapetes de Arraiolos, Lisbon: SILVIP, 1991.
Ana Kol "Carpet" [db_in_citation_dca] 2019. http://carpets.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?itemId=object;DCA;pt;Mus31_D;18;en
Prepared by: Ana Kol
Translation by: Lily Chadwick
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: PT1_018