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Photograph: Alexandru Marginean,  © Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României

Name of Object:

Double niche ‘Transylvanian’ rug


Bucharest, Romania

Holding Museum:

The National Museum of Art of Romania


17th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; knotted; symmetrical knot


H: 175cm, W: 124cm; knot density ver. 35/dm; hor. 37/dm; 1,295/dm2

Period / Dynasty:



Western Anatolia


The term “Transylvanian” rug designates 17th- and 18th-century rugs preserved in Transylvanian Saxon churches, which, once considered being of Transylvanian origin, were in fact made in western Anatolia. Some have a mihrab design, typical of prayer rugs, while others feature two opposing arches. Here, the red ground of this double niche is decorated with stylised floral motifs connected by geometric scrolls. A mosque lamp is featured at one end of the central field. Scalloped edge cartouches on ivory-white ground decorate the main border. At an early stage, the bright colours of this surprisingly well-preserved rug raised doubts about its authenticity. Still, a few other carpets from Transylvanian churches display a similarly vivid colour range; at the same time, over the past 100 years (ever since it was sent to Moscow in 1916) the rug has only been exhibited once, in 1994, which explains its excellent state of conservation.

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic analysis; comparison with carpets from Transylvanian churches; dye analysis

How Object was obtained:

Partial return of the Romanian treasure sent to Russia for safekeeping during the First World War

Selected bibliography:

Dunca, Mircea, Covoare turceşti, secolele XVII–XX, Bucharest: Muzeul Național de Artă al României, 1994: cat. 7.
Ionescu, Stefano, “Second-Period Single- and Double-Niche ‘Transylvanian’ Rugs”, Carpet Collector, 1 (Hamburg, 2016): 73–4.

Citation of this web page:

Mircea Dunca "Double niche ‘Transylvanian’ rug"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;rm;Mus31;4;en

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

MWNF Working Number: RO1_004