Name of Object:

‘Transylvanian’ prayer rug


Bucharest, Romania

Holding Museum:

The National Museum of Art of Romania; The Art Collections Museum

 About The National Museum of Art of Romania; The Art Collections Museum, Bucharest

Date of Object:

Early 17th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Wool; knotted; symmetrical knot


H: 176cm W: 112cm; knot density ver. 45/dm; hor. 41/dm; 1,845/dm2

Period / Dynasty:



Western Anatolia

Type of object:

Prayer rug


The term “Siebenbürger” or “Transylvanian” rug recurs frequently in Oriental carpet literature. It is used to designate 17th- and 18th-century rugs preserved in large numbers in the Saxon churches of Transylvania, whose provenance has not been yet definitively established. Certain experts have indicated Transylvania as a possible source, whereas according to more research that is more recent they were produced in western Anatolia. Many “Transylvanian” rugs feature the mihrab design, typical of prayer rugs; in most cases though, the niche becomes a purely decorative element devoid of its original meaning, a fashionable motif popular with carpet buyers outside the Islamic world. This rug is a fine example of exquisite craftsmanship. The white field of the mihrab is decorated with floral motifs intertwined with geometric scrolls; a mosque lamp is hanging from the apex. Above the red spandrels decorated with similar geometric scrolls, a narrow rectangular panel features alternating tulips and cypress trees. Polygonal cartouches alternating with octagons fill the main border.

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic analysis

How Object was obtained:

Donated as part of the Beatrice and Hrandt Avakian Collection

Selected bibliography:

Dunca, Mircea, Covoare turceşti secolele XVII–XX, Bucharest: Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României, 1994: cat. 6.
Franses, Michael, In Praise of God. Anatolian Rugs in Transylvanian Churches 1500–1750, Istanbul: Sakip Sabanci Museum, 2007: cat. 18.
Ionescu, Stefano (ed.), Antique Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, ed. II, Rome: Verduci Editore, 2007: 201.

Citation of this web page:

Mircea Dunca "‘Transylvanian’ prayer rug" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;DCA;rm;Mus31;3;en

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

MWNF Working Number: RO1_003