Woven: c. 1890
Size: 1.90 x 1.41m / 6'3" x 4'6"
Price Euros 1650
The area known as Thrace lies at the south eastern tip of the Balkan peninsula. It incorporates European Turkey, North East Greece, parts of Macedonia and Southern Bulgaria. It has coasts on the Aegean, and the Black sea. Many kilims from the area are known as Sarkoy, a coastal town on the Sea of Marmara in modern European Turkey, when in fact they could have been manufactured in one of the many parts of Thrace. What Sarkoy kilims do have in common are the designs. Made in villages and towns (not nomadic), they are generally woven in one piece, whether large or small (and some Sarkoys are very large), they invariably are composed of a main design of a 'Tree of Life' surrounded by border bird motifs or tree and vine patterns. Some prayer kilims are to be found incorporating these designs as well as the extremely large, almost square 'court' kilims for which Thrace is famous. The designs are sometimes woven into diamond shapes to form medallions. The Tree of Life design is thought to represent the life span of a human being, and the stylised bird motifs (positioned to fly away any time) represent good luck and happiness. Sometimes the border includes stylised dragons, to protect the tree of life, and generally the overall design represents the wish for a long happy life and the immortality of the soul. Often very strongly coloured, red in all its shades as a dominant colour is common (cochineal, or madder dyes), and Sarkoys are usually very finely woven and soft. The weavers from this area manage to bend and twist their warps and wefts and achieve curved designs without compromising tension and shape. They therefore achieve patterns that logically would be thought impossible in a handmade flatweave rug. This particular example has a stylised Tree of Life as a diamond medallion in its centre, with the typical Sarkoy bird border, and is covered with triangular 'amulets' often found on Sarkoy kilims. For a small sized Sarkoy of this age, this piece shows an unusual but still harmonious blend of colours and is in extremely good condition.
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