c. 1525–1575

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

In the 16th century, as Christian weavers came to dominate the industry, Spanish rug design became increasingly influenced by non-Islamic design sources. The pomegranate and vine motif seen here, for example, was inspired by contemporary Italian and Spanish fabrics. Spanish silks had been well known since the 9th century. As with rugs, early examples were in the Islamic taste and only gradually succumbed to European influences.

At least forty rugs of this pattern are known (Erdmann 1960). This particular example is special because it is one of the few, if not the only one, made of silk. Its survival documents that silk was an option when ordering a Spanish rug, provided the customer was willing to pay for the greater expense of the more precious raw material. The use of silk for this rug also suggests that there may have been closer ties between silk fabric weavers and rug weavers than the simple borrowing of patterns.

"Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection," page 29

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