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Photograph: Lois Lammerhuber,  © The Museum of Islamic Art, DohaPhotograph: Lois Lammerhuber,  © The Museum of Islamic Art, DohaPhotograph: Lois Lammerhuber,  © The Museum of Islamic Art, DohaPhotograph: Lois Lammerhuber,  © The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Name of Object:

Circular Mamluk-style carpet


Doha, Qatar

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)


Mid-16th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; pile weave


H: 282cm, W: 270cm

Period / Dynasty:



Egypt, Cairo


There exists a unique group of carpets made throughout the late 15th and early 16th centuries of the Mamluk period in Egypt, the colours and overlapping geometrical patterns of which are often likened to those seen through a kaleidoscope. These carpets were made in workshops in Cairo for the royal court, and additionally as export items to Europe, in particular Venice. Despite the overthrow of the Mamluk Sultanate by the Ottomans in 1517, production of these carpets continued and those made from this period on can be referred to as 'Mamluk-style' carpets.
MIA’s carpet is thought to have made during the second quarter of the 16th century in Cairo, and thus can be classified as ‘Mamluk-style’. Earlier carpets generally included a palette of five to seven different colours, while later versions have a lesser range such as this example bearing red, blue, green and yellow. This carpet is in good condition and contains a centralized arrangement of a circle set within an octagonal star, which in turn is framed by a wide circular border. Stylised vegetal motifs in addition to circular and polygonal patterns cover the field of the carpet, while the border consists of alternating cartouches and circles alongside further vegetal and geometric designs.

How date and origin were established:

This carpet has been dated based on stylistic comparisons with other known Mamluk and Mamluk-style carpets from Cairo

How provenance was established:

This carpet has been stylistically attributed to Cairo based on comparisons with further extant examples

Selected bibliography:

Thompson, Jon, “Late Mamluk Carpets: Some New Observations”, in D. Behrens-Abouseif (ed.), The Arts of the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria: Evolution and Impact, Goettingen: V & R unipress, 2012: 115–139.
Franses, Michael, “A Museum of Masterpieces: Iberian & East Mediterranean Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar”, Hali, 157 (Autumn 2008): 69–95.
Spuhler, Friedrich, Carpets from Islamic Lands, Ch.2, London: Thames & Hudson, 2012: 22–39.

Citation of this web page:

Julia Tugwell "Circular Mamluk-style carpet"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;qt;Mus31;2;en

Prepared by: Julia Tugwell

MWNF Working Number: QT1_002

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