Manastir Kelim

Manastir Kelim


340 x 165 cm


The Manastir kelim in hand was made towards the end of the 19th century.

This type of kelim was probably made in western Turkey, most likely by people who moved back to Anatolia from the Balkans, particularly Bulgaria, as a result of the decline of the Ottoman empire.

The almost completely plain, but nicely abrashed madder red field is only sparsely decorated with one central hexagonal medallion. It is flanked by wide skirts densely decorated by concentric stepped hexagons, three at each end. Two black lines filled with white crosses separate the three bands of the skirts. According to Yanni Petsopoulos, these are a typical feature of this type of kelim (see Kelims. The Art of Tapestry Weaving in Anatolia, the Caucasus and Persia. Thames & Hudson, London 1979, pp. 82 -84). Petsopoulos illustrates a very similar kelim in the above mentioned publication as plate 96, which is also similar in size to the piece in hand. He also points out that only few examples of this type are known, which is, indeed, our experience, too.

Another similar kelim, though somewhat smaller in size, has been attributed to Fethiye on Turkey’s southwestern Turquoise Coast. It has the same format of a floating central medallion on a plain ground and the heavily ornamented skirts (see Alatair Hull & Jose Luczyc-Wyhowska, Kelim. The Complete Guide. History · Pattern · Technique · Identification. Thames and Hudson, London 1993, p. 148).

Also attributed to Fethiye is a kelim in the same format and almost identical size to the piece in hand which was sold as part of the Vok Collection (Rippon Boswell, Vok Collection. Selection 1. 11 April 2015, lot no. 11, pp. 40 – 41).

However, it is worth noting that the wool is more irregularly spun than in other kelims from various areas of weaving in Turkey, so a provenance from the Balkans cannot be entirely ruled out.

The kelim in a slit tapestry weave is highly decorative and  in very good original condition.