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Saturday April 25th, 2009

Ottoman Rugs In Transylvanian Churches

 Alberto Boralevi

Antique Carpet Dealer and Carpet Scholar

For most people, Transylvania, now belonging to Rumania, is known for the legend of Count Vlad Dracula, but it is a land with a rich history, important monuments and an untouched countryside. For carpet lovers Transylvania is something more: during the past centuries most of its churches, mainly the Saxon Evangelical ones, have been adorned with beautiful rugs arrived through trade with the Ottoman Empire. The Transylvanian Collection is entirely composed of early Turkish rugs of classical type, including Holbein and Lotto types. These rugs are extremely rare outside Transylvania; in these churches, almost 50 examples are still preserved. Alberto Boralevi’s talk will cover the history of these carpets in their context, and cover all the known patterns to be found in Transylvania, including the so-called Bird design, Chintamani and Scorpion rugs, as well as Star Ushaks, Smyrna Patterned and even a fragment of an outstanding ‘Bellini’ or ‘re-entry’ prayer rug.

Alberto Boralevi is an architect and antique carpet dealer from Florence. Since 1986 he has run several galleries specializing in tribal weavings, early classical and rare carpet fragments, Islamic textiles and embroideries, and Italian peasant rugs and textiles. Mr. Boralevi also lectures on Oriental Rugs and works as an appraiser and consultant, and organizes study tours to rug producing countries and to visiting important Rug Collections worldwide, including to the churches in Rumania. In 1999, as Chairman of ICOC Academic Committee, Mr. Boralevi organized the Lectures Program of the 9th Conference in Milan, and while in Florence he was the curator of an exhibition of Classical Carpets from the Bardini Collections (Oriental Geometries). Since 2003 he has been a member of ICOC Executive Committee and Chairman of the International Academic Committee, and in this role he organized the lecture program of Istanbul ICOC in 2007 and is now working on the next Conference that will be held in Stockholm and Saint Petersburg in June 2011. Mr. Boralevi invites members of TMA/SC to bring examples of antique Ottoman carpets for show & tell.


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