“Then as now, a carpet’s beauty has less to do with its density of weave, then with the quality of its wool and its color harmony” ~Raoul Tschebull
The Oushak carpet as we know it began appearing in the West during the late 19th century. This is a period when the Middle East and the Levant were being romantized both in Europe and the United Sates. European painting depicted scenes of harem life, Arabs on horseback, and sheiks presiding over their courts in large sumptuously decorated tents. These colorful and often erotic images stood in stark contrast to the staid and colorless bourgeoisie life of European and American society.
Antique Oushak carpets evoke images of the light drenched eastern Mediterrean and of a fading indolent Ottoman Empire with its mixture of Middle Eastern opulence and languor, and Europe cosmopolitism.
These Turkish carpets are essentially about color. There is little attention to line and much of their drawing is derivative of older Persian and Ottoman weaving. However their use of color was always adventurous and sophisticated. The character of Oushak carpets presents a joyful and sensual approach to life.
These carpets were among the first hand made oriental rugs to be imported into the West. They are often depicted as floor coverings in 19th century American paintings of middle class family life.
Today antique Oushak carpets are considered the quintessential decorative carpet. They are prominently displayed in the most elegant decors or the most causal. Their continued popularity in the Western World is a tribute to the timelessness and universality of the Oushak aesthetic.