Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 01-27-2004 11:36 AM:

Rosati and the "Aleppo Kilims"

You already saw these two Rosati’s paintings

The idea for this Salon started with this picture from a John Howe’s Show and tell Thread, "Gayle Garrett on Turkish Rugs at the TM".

I recognized the design. As it turned out, the two kilims in the first Rosati’s watercolor and the one on the lower right part of the second painting are of the same family. During the discussion Michael Wendorf identified them as "Aleppo Kilims". That thread will be probably deleted and I’ll copy here some of the pertinent considerations and related pictures.

Muammer Ucar confirmed Wendorf’s opinion and sent a photo of another Aleppo Kilim:

Since the Show and Tell kilim was first attributed to Turkey and Aleppo is in Syria, John Howe explained the apparent contradiction quoting Peter Stone's entry for "Aleppo" :
"A city of northwest Syria, now called Haleb. It was formerly in southeast Anatolia and an administrative center during the Ottoman period. In the last half of the nineteenth century many kilims were woven in this area. They were used as curtains and wall hangings. These kilims were woven in two pieces. Cochineal was used in many of these kilims. Borders are usually white with a repeated winged or hourglass figure. Diamonds and octagons are the primary repeated field motif. Some of the kilims were woven with the sankikli or compartment motif."

John quoted also Petsopoulos from his "Kilim," (1979): Petsopoulos also indicates that Aleppo kilims often have "reciprocal" borders and he shows three versions, one of which is similar to that on Gayle's piece here… Petsopoulos also remarks on the use of cochineal in Aleppo pieces…

Vincent Keers insisted that the weavers of this kind of kilims were Kurds - a great part of the Syrian Kurds living near Aleppo - quoting the Library of Congress.
A lot of space was devoted to "railway stations" labeling
Finally, Louis Debreuil contributed with same interesting considerations and pictures.
I’ll copy and paste them here:

miss Garret's mysterious kilim

I've got one of these kilims and you can see the pictures. This is an old one with indigo field and purple border. The warp is in cotton with very fine threads.

I have also a picture from a french book about Mauresques (oriental females in the colonial photography 1860/1910) Christelle Taraud (ALBIN MICHEL, ed).

The picture is about 1890 and shows a young Tunisian musician. She is seated on a kilim of the same type. It is probable that this type of cloth in Tunisia could come from Aleppo better than Turkey. It is also possible that it could be a mass produced article appreciated because its fashionable look.

Meanwhile the pattern seems to be originated from Anatolia as it can be seen on the last Hali (N° 132 page 53) with the yellow and red kilim from the Stobe collection.

Best regards

Louis Dubreuil

Thanks Louis, very interesting, especially the Tunisian musician's photo.


Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 01-30-2004 12:36 PM:


Bonsoir Filiberto

We need to identify the location of the Rosati paintings. A trail for that is to identify the other rugs on the paintings. The clothes of the figures could be also studied in order to find the country.
But it is possible that Rosati made some "pot pourri" with different photos and rugs. For the rugs I am not an expert of these types, beeing more turkomaniac/kilimaniac/berbermaniac.



Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 01-31-2004 05:29 AM:

Dear Louis,

The identification of the rugs cannot help in finding the location, I’m afraid
First: rugs are exported to other countries.
Second: a decent rug seller is supposed to offer rugs of different variety and provenance.

I’m not able to pinpoint the costumes to a specific country either.
The only thing I noticed is that the two characters in the first painting are the carpet sellers in the second, and their clothes are almost the same.


Posted by Louis_Dubreuil on 02-02-2004 08:36 AM:

Bonsoir Filiberto

Here are some photos from the book to post in the salon "orientalist..." at the place you want.
These pictures are from a big fund (700000 photos !) , the collection Ferrier-Soulier, Léon et lévy, Neurdein Frères et Compagnie des Arts Photomécaniques.
This collection has been purchased by the Roger Villet collection in 1970. Those photos cover a period between 1860 and first part of the XX°.
Some of these pictures have been used to illustrate a book "MAURESQUES" pictures of oriental women in the colonial photography (1860/1910) by Christelle Taraud (Albin Michel ed, ISBN 2 226 140743, october 2003).
The first picture represents a young tunisian woman lying on a sofa covered with a local rug (to be determined)

The second picture represents a young algerian woman of the Tlemcen region lying on a sofa covered with local handwoven clothes (to be determined)

The third picture represents a young algerian woman in the salon of her house in the Biskra region. The three sofas are covered with non local rugs (to be determined)

The fourth picture represents a young algerian woman in her interior. On the floor we can see a coarse local rug and under the sofa what it seems to be a local matting made of palm tree leaves embroidered with wool.

The fifth picture represents a young algerian woman on a sofa with local hand woven striped clothes.

The sixth picture represents a group of algerian women making couscous with a hand millstone and spining wool on a big matting made of palm tree leaves and embroidered with wool.

Avec mes amicales salutations.

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-02-2004 10:15 AM:

Thank you Louis,

Interesting pictures. Especially one…
Well, hum, let’s see the third picture, now.

The third picture represents a young algerian woman in the salon of her house in the Biskra region. The three sofas are covered with non local rugs (to be determined)

The left one is familiar:

I see some rather omnipresent (in the Rugdom) Memling guls, a medachyl minor border and the "conjoined octagons" border like this one, detail of Bennett’s plate 151, Gendje rug:

This is a Caucasian rug.


Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 02-02-2004 10:25 PM:


All- You do realize that this region during this time frame,and especially Tangier, represented the Amsterdam of this period and replete with all the requisite diversions. I would suggest that these ladies, save photo#6, and most definately #5-are shall we say fallen women. Most the weavings, save for maybe photo#3, I believe could be local. Lots of striped designs here- and really like the flatweave in the last photo. I've seen reed screens(well, at least plastic imitation reed) used in Morocco too.- Dave

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-03-2004 03:01 AM:

Hi David,

Actually one has to consider that making portrait (painted or photographic) in the Middle East comported a few difficulties.
I’ll quote here some observation on the subject from this very interesting web site:"Orientalist Art of the Nineteenth Century"

Everyone loved to paint prostitutes. You can see by the broken lattice work in the top left of the painting that this wasn't the best part of town.
How hard was it to paint people in the Middle East? It varied. The artist Henri Regnault was befriended by a Moroccan girl named Aischa Chamma who convinced Muslim women to pose for him. Chasseriau was able to paint Jewish subjects more easily but William Holman Hunt had to get the local rabbi's permission before he could paint any Jewish subjects for his famous painting, 'The finding of the Savior in the Temple.'
Sometimes artists were shot at or confronted in the streets by angry mobs. On the other hand the Shah of Iran sat for his portrait by Jules Laurens and discussed art with him and Mohammad Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, allowed David Wilkie to paint him. The Turkish painter, Osman Hamdi Bey, studied with Gerome and founded both the first painting academy and archeological institute in Istanbul


P.S. And why they call Morocco "Middle East" while it’s more to the West than most of Europe, it’s above me…

Posted by Horst Nitz on 02-03-2004 04:41 PM:

Hallo everybody,

I have said good night to my tax declaration and went for a little stroll throught Turkotek (much preferred).

It surprises me you seem to have settled for an Aleppo attribution of the kilim in question and that Petsopoulos, Yanni (1979) is cited as a reference. The colours of the Aleppo kilims in Yanni’s book follow a much different schema and the reciprocal element in the field-border separation shows only faint resemblance. Is there other evidence or are we after a red herring named Aleppo?


Horst Nitz

Posted by R. John Howe on 02-03-2004 09:12 PM:

Horst -

I don't disagree with you that the kilims Petsopoulos offers as "Aleppo" are quite different from the one Gayle Garrett had.

The only actual references made to Petsopoulos above were to indicate that he says Aleppo kilims have reciprocal borders and offers one of three that seems of the approximate type in Gayle's piece. It was also noted that he cites the presence of cochineal in Aleppo kilims, something others have noticed too.

I think the original estimates that Gayle Garrett's kilim is likely made in Aleppo did not cite Petsopoulos at all (see Michael Wendorf's comment above).


R. John Howe

Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 02-05-2004 04:37 PM:

Bonsoir Filiberto et tous les autres,

Here are two new pictures about the Rosati kilim.
The first one is from a little book KILIM CATALOGUE N°1, author Mr Erbek (I bought it at Istambul some years ago). the kilim is from the Vakiflar Hali Museum collections. The border shows the typical reciprocated Rosati pattern.

The second picture is more curious.

It is from the Parviz Tanavoli's book PERSIAN FLATWEAVES. This pîcture shows a group of Bakhtiari men with "Rosati kilim design coats". I called this : "walking Rosati's kilims".
This picture shows that we can find our motif certainly out of Anatolia, but under slightly modified shapes.

Bonsoir à tous

Louis Dubreuil