«Mes enfants»

Oriental Rugs and Carpets

In Middle Eastern societies, carpets are commonly used in house interiors. Present even in the most humble habitations, they are simultaneously used as decorative and domestic useful objects. Calouste Gulbenkian had a deep knowledge and interest in oriental carpets, perhaps due to his Armenian origin and his family roots. In fact, this interest grew and became apparent quite early in his life. In 1890, Gulbenkian published a book about a journey that he had made across the Transcaucasia region, in which he included an extensive and detailed chapter on the topic. Later on his life, he managed to add to his art collection, a set of rare and precious rugs and carpets from Persia, Caucasus region and Turkey.

It is therefore not surprising that Calouste Gulbenkianís Personal Library holds key books on the history and description of the main types of oriental rugs and carpets. In reality, however, these books are part of a larger library section concerning the history, art and culture of the people and civilizations that flourished in the Near and Middle Eastern regions. Due to professional and sentimental reasons, Calouste Gulbenkian had a special relationship with those specific global regions, therefore regarding this section as something rather precious. The main works by American Professor Arthur Upham Pope, one of the greatest experts in Persian civilization and its art, can be found amongst this section. Arthur Pope was president of the American Institute of Persian Art and Archeology and one of Calouste Gulbenkianís Islamic art advisers. Indeed, by regularly corresponding with each other, Arthur Pope often expressed his expert opinion on numerous occasions, one of which relates to the purchase, in 1939, of a silk Persian carpet dating back to the XVI century. Actually, some of the artworks that are part of Calouste Gulbenkianís Islamic art collection are reproduced in the ten-volume publication that Pope edited: Survey of persian art from pre-historic times to present.

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Collection highlights

Arabic palaeography : a collection of arabic texts from the first century of the Hidjra till the year 1000 / ed. by B. Moritz. - Cairo : Khedivial Library, 1905.

Gli Arazzi esi dall'Austria vinta : Mantova, 1866-1919. - Mantova : S.T.E.M., [1919].

Ars islamica : published semi-annually by the Research Seminary in Islamic Art, Division of Fine Arts, University of Michigan and The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts / ed. Mehmet Aga-Oglu. - Ann Arbor, Michigan : University of Michigan, 1934-[1951].

Ausstellung orientalischer Teppiche aus ehemals kaiserlichem Besitz / Vorwort E. Leisching. - Wien : Eduard Hölzel, 1920.

Brief guide to the oriental painted, dyed and printed textiles / [ed. lit.] Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Textiles. - London : Published under the authority of the board of education, 1924.

Catalogue of a loan exhibition of early oriental carpets : from Persia, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Egypt and Spain / Arthur Upham Pope. - [Chicago] : The Art Club of Chicago, 1926.

La collection Besselièvre : étoffes & broderies du XVe au XVIIIe siècles / préface et notice de M. Paul Cornu. - Paris : A. Calavas, [1921].

Collection Dr. Kurt Zander... : art mahométan, tapis persans, faïences..., sculptures grecques et romaines, terres cuites / [ed. lit.] Frederik Muller. - Amsterdam : [s.n.], 1914.

La collection Kelekian : étoffes & tapis d'Orient & de Venise / notice de M. Jules Guiffrey ; cent planches reproduisant les pièces les plus remarquables de cette collection, décrites et classées par M. Gaston Migeon. - Paris : Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, [190-?].

Collection of the estate of the late Judge Elbert H. Gary : sold by direction of the new york trust company / [ed. lit.] American Art Galleries ; [introd.] Leslie A. Hyam, Shirley Falcke. - New York : American Art Association, 1928.

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