National Museum of Ancient Art
End of 17th century
Linen and wool; embroidered; oblique or Slavic cross-stitch (known as ponto de Arraiolos)
H: 232cm, W: 150cm
Initially, the production of Arraiolos carpets was characterised by a rigid and faithful adoption of Eastern carpet patterns, with their palmettes, lotus flowers, “vine scrolls”, arabesque motifs and other elements. This faithfulness to characteristic design elements allows recognition of the main sources of inspiration in this production, such as carpets from the Iberian Peninsula, Persia and Turkey, the “Holbein” and “Lotto” versions among them.
This carpet is of great interest, since it is a rare extant example of an Arraiolos carpet based on the standard “Lotto” pattern, the influence of which in carpets currently extant in Portugal is residual. “Lotto”-design carpets were popular in Europe during the 16th century, as evidenced by interiors represented in many contemporary paintings of the period, such as in Presentation of the Head of Saint John the Baptist, attributed to Gregório Lopes (c. 1539‒1541).
The carpet’s field features the characteristic geometric design of palmettes and stylised arabesques. In a contrasting colour, rosettes with angular forms fill the border. Originally, the background colour of the field was red; and traces of the pigment can still be seen in between the wool embroidery.
Technical information provided by Teresa Pacheco Pereira
Transferred from the Convent of Santa Maria do Paraíso, Évora, Portugal, in 1889
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: 145‒65.
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;19;en
Prepared by: Ana Kol
Translation by: Lily Chadwick
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: PT1_019