A silk and metal thread Zareh Penyamin Kum Kapi rug,
Istanbul, Turkey, circa 1910, 6 ft 4 in x 4 ft 5 in (193 x 135 cm) signed, excellent condition
Extremely fine silk rugs with metal thread brocading were produced in Kum Kapi, the Armenian Quarter of Istanbul, towards the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. The weavers were Turkish Armenians who came from the weaving centres of Keyseri and Sivas. Technically advanced in the art of weaving, they produced rugs of superlative technical quality; with the inspiration based on the Ottoman court style, and on classical 16th century rugs from Safavid Persia.
Cartoons found in Zareh's portfolio include a typical design from a well known Top Kapi prayer rug that shows the use of cloudbands, inscriptions, arabesques and palmettes similar to those found in the present rug.
His carpets were usually signed discreetly in the field in one or more of the palmettes, the present example has been signed with the Zareh kufic 23 times. This rug which is offered in immaculate condition epitomises the quality and finess of the finest Kum Kapi weavings. For a full discussion of the Kum Kapi masters, see Farrow, George F., Hagop Kapoudjian, London, 1993.
For similar examples see Sothebys New York, 7 December 2010, lot 123 and 8 October, lot 132.