MWNF Thematic Galleries

MWNF Portal

Photograph: Costin Miroi, Marius Preda,  © Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României

Name of Object:

Prayer rug


Bucharest, Romania

Holding Museum:

The National Museum of Art of Romania


19th century

Type of object:

Prayer rug

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; knotted; symmetrical knot


H: 166cm, W: 115cm; ; knot density ver. 36/dm; hor. 30/dm; 1,080/dm2

Period / Dynasty:



Turkey, central Anatolia, Kırşehir


Outlined on the contrasting green of the central field, the red prayer niche has a stepped arch fringed with hooks along its inner edges. Inside the niche, a floral composition encircled by 12 tiny ewers recalls the mosque-lamp motif. A recurrent motif of prayer rug designs, ewers are traditionally associated with an aide-mémoire meant to remind the believer of the ritual ablution required before prayer. The present rug features a main border reminiscent of the so-called Gothic border of 16th- and 17th-century carpets, and, in the upper corners of the main field, stylised vegetal motifs, which show the Western influence on Turkish art. This rather unusual blending of two stylistic sources is illustrative of the two main “forces” with a strong impact on the decorative vocabulary of 19th-century Ottoman carpets: the Turkish tradition and the influence of European art. The bright colour scheme is quite remarkable and its sharp contrasts almost shocking compared mainly to the fine colouring of the Gördes and Kula carpets that reigned supreme on the European market of Oriental carpets at the turn of the century.

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic analysis

How Object was obtained:

Purchased (art trade)

Selected bibliography:

Dunca, Mircea, De la mihrab la grădina paradisului, Bucharest: Muzeul Național de Artă al României, 2006: cat. 5.

Citation of this web page:

Mircea Dunca "Prayer rug"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;rm;Mus31;12;en

Prepared by: Mircea Dunca
Translation by: Victoria Gheorghita
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: RO1_012