Anatolian and ‘Transylvanian’ rugs on display at the National Museum of Gdańsk

Category: Exhibitions

24 rugs from the Brukenthal Museum, which are just a sample of Transylvanian’s unique heritage of Ottoman rugs, are on display at the National Museum of Art in Gdańsk, through 16 February 2014. This is a tribute to the beauty of these Anatolian rugs and of the places where they survived. The rugs are part of the 1910 custody from the great Lutheran Church in Sibiu, together with examples from smaller Parishes.

After the exhibitions organised in Rome (2005), Berlin (2006) and Istanbul (2007) this is a great occasion to enjoy the best of the Brukenthal collection. Curators of the exhibition are Beata Sztyber (Gdańsk), and Dr. Alexandru Sonoc and Adrian Luca (Sibiu). The event relates to the centenary of the 1914 Budapest exhibition, where the name ‘Transylvanian’ rug came to the attention of a wider public.

Stefano Ionescu presenting the exhibition at the presence of the General Director Wojciech Bonisławski
Stefano Ionescu presenting the exhibition at the presence of the General Director Wojciech Bonisławski

The first room displays a Lotto, a Bird and a Cintamani fragment but the piece de force is the large 16th century Holbein with diagonally plaited half-lattice border (wrongly called kufic by some authors) which is one of the best preserved in the world. The ‘Transylvanian’ group is represented by a sequence of 19 examples of all types, which starts with a spectacular Single-niche ‘Transylvanian‘. Stefano Ionescu, author of the detailed catalogue notes, brings evidence that the Double-niche format derives from Single-niche one. A practical corollary of this fact is that Single-niche and Double-niche ‘Transylvanians’ should be displayed and published in the same manner as prayer rugs (with the direction of knotting from top to bottom).

Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal Museum 1
Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal Museum exhibited in Gdańsk
Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal Museum
Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal Museum exhibited in Gdańsk
Stefano Ionescu and Adrian Luca (curator of the Oriental carpet collection, Brukenthal Museum) near a copy of Schmutzler's book
Stefano Ionescu and Adrian Luca (curator of the Oriental carpet collection, Brukenthal Museum) near a copy of Schmutzler’s book
Pristine Plain-niche and 'Transylvanian' Column-rugs
Pristine Plain-niche and ‘Transylvanian‘ Column-rugs exhibited in Gdańsk

The 196 pp. English/Polish catalogue, available through www.transylvanianrugs.com, shows the entire classical carpet collection of the Brukenthal Museum: 24 full page photos of Anatolian rugs (exhibited in Gdańsk) and other 21 photos of rugs and fragments (from the store rooms). Detailed notes are signed by Stefano Ionescu while an essay about the Brukenthal carpet collection is signed by Dr. Alexandru Sonoc. Editor of the the Polish translation is Dr Beata Biedrońska- Słota. Thanks to unmatched photos of rugs and of Lutheran churches, the designer Agnieszka Gawędzka, from the National Museum of Gdańsk, achieved a very enjoyable publication.

Location and more information: Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal National Museum(pdf), National Museum of Gdańsk, Toruńska 1, Gdańsk, Poland

Photo credit: Grzegorz Nosorowski

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