Christo bought a huge 3 x 4m carpet about two years ago. The salesman called it a Holbein. We googled "Holbein" and discovered that it wasn't just a sales gimmick: Holbein carpet actually exists!
Holbein carpet are a type of Ottoman carpets taking their name from Hans Holbein the Younger, due to their depiction in European Renaissance paintings.
|Hans Hobein 1497 (self portrait)|
Holbein designs are sub-divided into four types; they are the commonest designs of Anatolian carpet seen in Western Renaissance paintings, and continued to be produced for a long period. All are purely geometric and use a variety of arrangements of lozenges, crosses and octagonal motifs within the main field.
The large-pattern Holbein. The square compartments have octagons or other "gul" motifs from the small-pattern types between them.
|The Ambassadors with a Type IV Holbein carpet on the table. |
|Christo owned this Type IV before we knew about Holbein.|
Another large-pattern Holbein. The motifs in the field inside the border are large squares filled with decoration, placed regularly, with narrow strips between them containing no "gul" motifs.
|Master of Saint Giles, Mass of Saint Giles, c. 1500, with a Type III Holbein carpet.|
|Christo's marvellous 3 x 4 m Type III Holbein.|
The Type II Holbein or Lotto carpet is a hand knotted carpet having a pattern that was primarily produced during the 16th and 17th centuries along the Aegean coast of Anatolia, Turkey, but also copied in various parts of Europe. It is characterized by a lacy arabesque, usually in yellow on a red ground, often with blue details. The name, "Lotto carpet", refers to the inclusion of carpets with this pattern in paintings by the 16th-century Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto.
My contribution to the five Holbeins we now possess, are two Type I: Small-pattern Holbein. The motifs are small, and usually of several different types that recur regularly. These two carpets are much older and very well-worn. Sommer al goed deurgeloop. The one I bought in Kopenhavn and the other I got from an auction about a decade ago.
|Type I (180 x 200 cm) from an antique auction in Bloemfontein. |
KoningKat's all-time favourite!
|Type I (60 x 90 cm) from Kopenhavn.|
|A Type I Holbein carpet made in Anatolia during the 16th century.|