Prayer Rug, T04.19.10
Posted: Jan 8th, 2020 | Collection Spotlight

Here is a prayer rug from our collection to commemorate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

This one has a sensational story, so read on! This prayer rug is an imitation of a 17th century Ottoman rug made by Teodor Tuduc (1888-1983), a Romanian rug restorer, dealer and the world’s most famous rug-forger. Tuduc created such skillful forgeries of Ottoman, Persian and Caucasian rugs, artificially aged through ‘antique washing’ procedures, that even scholars, curators and rug dealers could not tell the difference between an authentic rug and one of his forgeries, the TMC included! When the TMC acquired this Tuduc, it was believed to be an authentic Ottoman rug. Max Allen, one of the TMC’s founders, realized it was a fake after handling real ones at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. At the time, there was almost nothing published about Tuduc’s fakes but Allen noticed that it did not have the clear, bright colours and floppy feel of the real ones; it has resolved corners whereas real ones almost always have incomplete pattern units in the corners; and that the selvedges look like they’re “stapled” on. Tuduc’s fakes have reportedly made their way into the collections of museum like the Met and the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin, and one hung on display, undetected, in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum for decades. Tuduc’s imposters have now become highly collectable.

Prayer rugs like this one are used by Muslim worshippers to cover the ground while they pray. Prayer rugs will usually depict a niche at one end of the rectangle, which is meant to represent the Mihrab found in every mosque. The Mihrab is a directional point that guides the worshipper in the direction of Mecca. Eid Mubarak!

Links: This rug was featured in Max Allen’s exhibition The Mysterious East; Lecture on Tuduc rugs by independent rug scholar of Oriental rugs Stefano Ionescu, published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the lecture get’s going around 4:30); Handbook of Fakes by Tuduc by Stefano Ionescu

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