Antique Turkish Bergama Rug

Antique Turkish Bergama Rug


122 x 106 cm / 4'x 3'6''


This antique Turkish Bergama rug was made in western Anatolia in the late 19th century. Rugs of this type are sometimes called Kiz-Bergama, from Turkish kiz meaning ‘girl’ or ‘bride’. They are wedding rugs made by the bride-to-be and given by her as a present to the bridegroom on the day of their wedding. This traditional background might explain why Bergama rugs of this type are often quite wonky.

Our example here is a typical representative of the group.

First of all,the colour scheme: it consists of dark blue, an indigo dye, slightly dark, deep red obtained from a dye derived from the madder root, and undyed white, with the addition of some green.

Secondly, the design: a dark blue hexagon fills nearly all of the field. It is enclosed by a hook pattern on the diagonals. In its centre is a large lozenge on a red ground which is surrounded by a chain of white flower heads. The centre of the lozenge is taken up by a stylized star motif arranged in quarters, which is reminiscent of Turkoman guls. The spandrels on a red ground follow the same, contrasting colour scheme with a large white flower head in the centre. The border design is simple, with compartments of one star motif on alternating red, blue, red and green backgrounds divided by diagonal lines. The kelim ends, too, take up the basic colours in stripes.

Thirdly, the size: the small, squarish size is typical of wedding rugs, including those from other areas of weaving such as Turkmenistan.

And lastly, the excellent quality of the wool.

According to J. Iten-Maritz, these wedding rugs were not strictly speaking considered part of the dowry, but were stored away after the initial gift giving. (see J. Iten-Maritz, Turkish Carpets. Office Du Livre, in the English translation by Elizabeth and Richard Bartlett, 1977, p. 111. See also the illustration of an almost identical piece in the same publication, p.110)

This Bergama rug is in full pile, woven on a wool foundation with a red weft. It is in excellent condition and retains the original kelim ends