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85/1901 Manastir prayer rug, knotted wool pile, Western Anatolia, late 1800s. Click to enlarge.

Manastir prayer rug from western Anatolia

This prayer rug is representative of the so-called 'Manastir' or 'Monastir' group of Anatolian rugs, many of which display a fusion of Anatolian and Balkan design features. While the mihrab shape of the field and the colours of red, yellow, green and rich indigo blue are typical of Anatolian village weaving, the extreme simplicity of the design and the coarseness of the weave give it a folk-art feel that is characteristic of Balkan weavings. The exact geographic and cultural origin of this …


Object No.


Object Statement

Manastir prayer rug, knotted wool pile, Western Anatolia, late 1800s

Physical Description

A rectangular prayer rug with long symmetrically-knotted wool pile on a wool foundation. The field features a dusty pink stepped mihrab outlined in fawn, blue, red, white and brown on a lighter pink ground. The mihrab is crowned by a diamond shaped 'evil eye' motif and the mihrab and ground are dotted with square and diamond shapes in pink, blue, yellow and fawn. The wide border has a row of stylised rosettes in pinks, fawn, blue and yellow with black outlines on a white ground. There are two guard stripes; the inner stripe has a row of diamond-shaped motifs on a yellow ground, the outer stripe has coloured circles on a yellow ground. At each end is a narrow band of plain weave in blue and brown with two rows of twining in pink and yellow. The rug is finished with a warp fringe.



830 mm





The rug is madel from Karaman sheeps' wool which is famous for its long staples and lustrous nature, qualities that make Karaman wool well-suited to rug weaving. The pile is symmetrically knotted onto a two-ply wool or goat hair foundation warp with three or four shots of single ply weft between each row of knots.

Manasatir rugs have a distinctive structure, palette and design when compared to other Anatolian village rugs from the same period, ie 1750-1920. There is however an early type of Anatolian rug that may be a prototype for these rugs. These have been found in Central Anatolia in the area stretching from Karaman via Karapinar to Aksaray. The mihrab takes the form of the horns of a ram and the design as a whole reminds one of a stylised ram's pelt. We may speculate that the Karamanoglari women remembered their traditional patterns and designs and reproduced them during the tribe's long sojourn in Macedonia.



The prayer rug was purchased from Nomadic Rug Traders, Sydney, in 1985.


Credit Line

Purchased 1985

Acquisition Date

25 September 1985

Cite this Object


Manastir prayer rug from western Anatolia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Manastir prayer rug from western Anatolia |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}