17- Shaggy Carpet

Description: This rustic 'shaggy carpet' from the mountains in the Korce region was likely made by semi-nomadic Vlachs in the 19th century. This kilim features four five-sided shields which rightly resemble mihrabs found on early Balkan kilims. Balkan kilims were sold to the larger Ottoman market and could be used by both Muslims and Christians. For Muslims, the pentagon was a mosque mihrab, but for Christians it was recognized as a mirror. Most Balkan mihrabs or mirrors, contained other images such as vases, flowers, birds, or ewers which allowed their use by all religious communities. As Orthodox Christians, Vlachs made have interpreted this as a mirror or simply was a pretty pattern that needed to be featured. This piece has four shields, reflecting each other, again reinforcing the idea that these are not made for mosque use. The central bright salmon-pink section features four shields on each corner, each containing a vase or ewer, connected to its opposite with a black vine. Other vegetation is present in black and pink and stylized birds may also be present. A black border contains 18 combs or butterflies and the outer edges are surrounded by a salmon pink, serrated border. This piece was made on a horizontal loom, in two panels, in winter months. No 'shaggy carpet' has been produced since before 1940.

Estimated Age: 19th century

Dimensions: 230 cm X 103 cm