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Hans Holbein & Armenian carpets


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#1 15levels

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 11:22 AM

Recently I have discovered for myself that Hans Holbein painted Armenian carpets in some of his famous works. For instance the famous painting of Ambassadors depicts the two French ambassadors to the English court, Jean de Dinteville (1504-1555) and Georges de Selve (1508/09-1541). Clearly the carpet in the painting is Armenian which is proven by Armenian "T" letter incorporated in the carpet design. Armenian "T" which is similar to Latin "S" is for "Ter Astvats" (Our Lord) and identifies Armenian christian carpets.

http://www.kfki.hu/~...5a/6ambassa.jpg

http://www.i-a-s.de/...Ambassadors.htm

HOLBEIN, Hans The Ambassadors 1533 Oil on wood
207 x 209.5 cm National Gallery, London

Another beautiful example in the portrait of the Merchant Georg Gisze, 1532 Oil on wood, 96,3 x 85,7 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin

http://www.kfki.hu/~...535/2gisze.html

I find this simply amaising! Holbein being undoubtfully one of the greatest masters of his time, depicted Armenian carpets
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#2 Arpa

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 12:40 AM

Rouben, these are fascinating pictures. Thank you.
Does any literature or legend speak about the carpets? Does any literature acknowledge them as Armenian?
Some years ago I was at a doctor's office in NY. He had quite an office. There was a carpet in his waiting room. I asked him if he knew waht kind of carpet it was, he said he had been told that it was either Persan or Turkish. I told him if it would spoil his day if I showed him that it was Armenian? Of course he was incredulous as he had nver heard of such a thing as Armenian carpet. I could clearly see that the motifs were crosses and churches. I showed him that, he was still skeptical. We turned it over and... sure enough... it was made in Artsakh. I promised to send him some lietature about the subject which he found extremely fascinating. BTW. The doctor was Jewish and he knew what Armenian was, kind of.

#3 15levels

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 01:52 PM

Dear Arpa. I dont think we have to look for a proof that those carpets are Armenian. They are. One of the biggest experts on the Oriental carpets Volkmar Gantzhorn (who published a book called Oriental Carpets, TASCHEN, 1998) clearly states that the usage of "T"="S" in oriental carpets is an identifying mark for the christian Armenian carpets. He goes further by insisting that Armenian Plateau was the origin for virtually all the carpet making in Orient. He provides maps, traces and alalysis of the ornaments used in carpet waving. It would not be an exaggeration to say that 70% of that thick volume is dedicated to the Armenian carpets. The author illustrates his point by paintings as well but Holbein works are not mentioned in his book. I highly recommend this book, its widely available on the market. Unfortunately I dont have a scanner at the moment so I cannot scan the maps which show the migration of carpet waving from Armenia to the Orient, Middle Asia and Europe.

Here is a paragraph from the foreword:

" As cult objects of Christian oriental churches, these carpets, along with other textiles, constitute what may well be the most important Armenian contribution to the history of the world art. This book attempts to make good the injustice done to a people who, in the course of their more than two thousand year history, have suffered more than any other as a result of their geographic location butween the Orient and the Occident. The Armenians have countless times been divided, exploited, robbed, exiled, deported, enslaved, murdered and mistreated. They have been even robbed of their art, the autorship for which has been attributed to the conquerors during the years which followed, either due to an ignorance of the facts involved, or to the manipulation of these facts. This unique collection of patterns and designs, characteristic of oriental carpets, is a part of the Armenian heritage and identity, and it should now be understood as such."

Volkmar Gantzhorn.
"Oriental Carpets"

Posted Image

http://www.roslin.co...o/bookinfo4.htm

I have searched the web for "Holbein + Armenian" and here are the results:

Introduction to Armenian Rugs
http://zangezur.trip...ugs/armrug.html

"The merchants in Armenia, in particular, used this dispersed network of expatriated Armenians to their advantage as they acted as the middle-men for trade between the Mediterranean, Asia, and Europe. By the 14th century this trade network was firmly established between Northern and Southern Europe. Thus, many Armenian rugs made their way to Europe. This is evidenced by the appearance of Armenian rugs in many European paintings, the most notable of them being Hans Holbein's (1425-1524) portrait of George Gyze, a merchant who is depicted as sitting at a table covered with a popular Armenian Kuba rug [2]."


Oriental Rug Review, Back Issues, Vol. 8-16
Ron O'Callaghan Oriental Rug Review Asian Trade
Sinclair Hill Rd. New Hampton, NH 03256 (603) 744-9191 ronocal@lr.net http://www.rugreview.com

A White Ground Small Pattern "Holbein" Rug in a c. 1500 Northern Italian Painting, by Peter E. Saunders

Posted Image

and of course- turks claiming this for their own- without a mention that Armenians had anything to do with those carpets - (the only place "Armenian" is mentioned is in context of "Armenian allegations", whatta surprise!)

http://www.kultur.go...sp?belgeno=3005

There is much much more....

I am flying to Paris in few hours, so my time is short, but I will try to post more info when I return.

[ March 13, 2003, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Rouben Malayan ]
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#4 Arpa

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 02:09 PM

Thank you again Rouben,
Of course we don't need for anybody to tell us that they are Armenian carpets, my question was if anybody has acknowledged that those in the paintings are indeed such, it does not really matter yet, there is so much ignorance about the matter, a little bit of acknowledgement would go a long way.
I have that book by Volkmar. I read it often. A little bit of trivia about the book. The colorful dust jacket identifies it as The Oriental Carpet, under the jacket and inside, the hard cover identifies it as The CHRISTIAN Oriental Carpet (emphasis mine). The reason for that (removal of the word Christian) as explained in the preface was due to pressure from hostile corners. The long arm of the Turk finds its way even in matters of art. It won't be too long, that "long arm" will be cut and stuffed up their ....noses. As opposed as I am to the impending war I also think that it will eventually right a lot of wrongs that were perpetrated in that part of the world. For one I hope the Kurds do get independence and become a thorn in their side.

#5 15levels

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 02:30 PM

Yes, Arpa, indeed you are right. We should do our most to counter the propaganda of the "turkish delight". I hope it turns bitter for them and it will, as long as there are people who have the guts to fight back.

Another "fine piece" of turkish delight:

http://www.orientalk.../01_history.htm

"Carpets are produced in an area extending from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to the steppes of Central Asia, and authorities (what authorities????) conclude that the art of weaving knotted carpets was introduced by Turkish nomadic tribes and craftsmen. (since when nomadic tribes were responsible for the finest pieces of carpet waving? Weren't they busy robbing and rapping the indigenous population? "

No mention of Armenians at all and the address is of course: Istanbul / Turkey.

[ March 13, 2003, 02:58 PM: Message edited by: Rouben Malayan ]

#6 Arpa

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 03:50 PM

Rouben, do you see now why I asked that quwstion about acknowledgement? Look what this site says about Holbein and the carpets.

Just as expected.
Here is a segment from the URL below; Note the line where reference is made to Holbein.
"An excellent book, The Christian Oriental Carpet by Volkmar Gantzhorn, deals with the history of patterns in rugs. After the explorers, the next clues we get about rugs and their patterns come from artists. The Crusades introduced Europeans to Middle Eastern rugs. They became status symbols for the very rich. Hans Holbein the Younger 1497-1543) made Turkish carpets popular by including them in his paintings. Also, A Family Group, which was painted in 1547 by Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480-1556) shows a rug border called the "kufic".

http://www.orientalr...com/history.htm

In another note I made reference to Marco Polo.
The author Volkmar Gantzhorn in the introduction writes. There apparently has been a certain Kurt Erdmann, the author of (1955) "A History of Early Turkish Carpet" who had attempted to prove that all oriental carpet is Turkish An excellent book, The Christian Oriental Carpet by Volkmar Gantzhorn, deals with the history of patterns in rugs. Volkmar cites quotations from Marco Polo, he also shows that the quotations were altered to fit the purpose, but the original is presented as such. From the Ottimo-manuscript, the oldest surviving version...by Marco Polo.
" The Turkmen population consists of three classes. The Turkomans, who worship Mohammed and follow his laws, are a crude people, completely uneducated. They live in the mountains or other virtually inaccessible places which offer good grazing land for their cattle, their sole livilhood. Here there is an outstanding breed of horse, called Turk, and handsome mules which are sold at hight prices. The other Turkmen classes are made up of Greeks and Armenians, living in cities and in permanent settlements and earning their livlihood from commerce and trade. It is here where the best and most beautiful carpets are produced as well as silk of crimson and other spledid colors. Among the most important cities is Konya, Khazar and Sevastopol, where St. Blasius attained te glorious martyr's vrown. They are all subject to the great khan, the ruler of eastern Tatars, who appoints their governors."

#7 nairi

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 04:53 PM

Any carpet experts here? My parents bought a carpet in Armenia almost 20 years ago that I absolutely love and would like to have "read". I have pics of it, but don't know how to post them (I don't have a homepage either). Can I mail them to whoever wants to analyze them?

Oh, and did you know that "carpet" apparently comes from the Armenian word "karpet"?

Rouben and Arpa, interesting info! Thanks.

#8 bellthecat

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 05:08 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Rouben Malayan:
Dear Arpa. I dont think we have to look for a proof that those carpets are Armenian. They are. One of the biggest experts on the Oriental carpets Volkmar Gantzhorn (who published a book called Oriental Carpets, TASCHEN, 1998) clearly states that the usage of "T"="S" in oriental carpets is an identifying mark for the christian Armenian carpets.

Gantzhorn's book is not really a credible work. It is filled with inaccuracies, generalisations, and fantasies. I've heard this from various experts on Oriental carpets, and I know it to be certain in the sections in which he tries to connect Celtic art with Armenian art; those parts of the book are particularly ludicrous.

#9 gamavor

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 09:47 PM

One thing is for sure. The patterns and the colors of the carpets are Armenian. Even a lay person can recognize them without the "S" signal.

#10 bellthecat

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 02:53 PM

quote:
Originally posted by gamavor:
One thing is for sure. The patterns and the colors of the carpets are Armenian. Even a lay person can recognize them without the "S" signal.

That is the very thing that is not "for sure" - the style of Gantzhorn's book reminds me of Turkish books that try to prove a Turkish origin to almost everything.

#11 gamavor

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 05:52 PM

Bellthecat,

I'm sure I have seen more Armenian carpets than you did. Armenian carpets have very distinct red color. Since it is a picture, if the painter tried to depict it as closer to the original as possible (it seems to me that he is not cubist, or surrealist) than I'm right. Also, Armenian carpets might be distinguished (of course depends on the region) by the intensity and thickness of the patterns and inevitably they remind twisted cross, swastika or joining curves.

#12 15levels

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:36 AM

I have to correct what I said above about Holbein's works not depicted in Volkmar's book. They are, the patterns in the carpets painted by Holbein are analyzed extensively. This study of Oriental Christian carpets is monumental and Armenians are forever indebted to this scholar for giving them the deserved credit. If you don't own this book - go buy it, you'll spend hours and hours with it.






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