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PLATE TWELVE
Size: 21 x 11.5 cm


This tiny fragment(20) is enormously intriguing
Fig. 38
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.

Fig. 39
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)
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 or paw.
Fig. 41
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
Fig. 42
complete carpet with four large animals without medallion surrounds was discovered (fig.42).   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).

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.



Footnotes:

20. This knotted-pile carpet fragment is illustrated as number 11 in the “Carpet Fragments” catalog


Bibliography

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