Size: 21 x 11.5 cm
This tiny fragment(20) is enormously intriguing
because an animal design is hidden within it. This creature becomes visible
when viewed as a reciprocal or negative image that can be created by reversing
the figure/ground relationship (fig.38)
While this quadruped doesn’t exactly fit into the group to which Plates
Ten and Eleven belong, it does share strong stylistic characteristics with
the earliest group Anatolian animal rugs. These carpets have a single animal
and not a confronting pair within medallions or, occasionally, one single
large animal in the field without any medallion surrounding it.
The well-known animal rug from the Berlin Statliche Museum is perhaps the most
famous of the medallion type(fig.39)
This rug has been called a Dragon/Phoenix rug because of the combat between
the fantastic animal and a dragon, which appears above it. A fragment of another
rug appears to be the oldest known example and using it for comparison can illuminate
the more impressionist style figure 40 and some of the other animal rugs exhibit(fig.40)
Two distinct features link them to this Plate. The first is the representation
of a wing shown on the animals back and the second is the extended front leg
Figure 40’s wing can be made out on the right side, where unfortunately
most of the pattern has been rubbed away but enough is there to make this identification.
Nearby, there are a small group of ‘boxes’(fig.41)
very similar to those used to define the wing here on Plate Twelve.
Recently a small
complete carpet with four large animals without medallion
surrounds was discovered
It is interesting to note the pregnant state signified by the small animal
pictured within each one reproduces the same iconography of figure 34. But it
is another feature - the extended front leg - all four animals on this carpet
assume that firmly links it to this Plate and further explains the significance
of this reciprocal holds. There are no indications on figure 42 for the wing
all the others have but the curious hook design at the end of its tail might
be the last vestige of this feature(fig.43)
Proving if such a reciprocal image was intentional is impossible and, like a
Rorschach test, it requires viewer interpretation. However in this instance
the likeness is compelling and when the all its feature are considered, like
the legs, the shape of the torso and the blue “wings”, it does appear
to have been purposely done and not a just a coincidence or accident.
20. This knotted-pile carpet fragment is illustrated as number 11 in the
“Carpet Fragments” catalog
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