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Ararat Design Studio: Revival of a Museum Piece

This 15th-century carpet, showing the battle of the dragon and the phoenix, is one of the most important animal carpets of the early Ottoman period that have become known to the present day. Two highly stylized animals, a dragon and a phoenix, are depicted fighting, against a yellow background and within two octagonal spaces. The phoenix is swooping down onto the dragon from above. The image is clearer in the lower octagonal casing than in the upper. The outer border is composed of semi-palmette tendrils, which are framed on both sides by an edging of little rosettes. The original border appears to be missing on both the left and right sides. It is possible that the carpet was originally wider in shape, featuring a greater number of octagonal compartments. This would make it more akin to the animal carpets that were reproduced in paintings. The dragon and phoenix motif, which originated in China – where yellow was considered to be the color of the sovereign – was introduced into Islamic art in the AH 7th / AD 13th century with the arrival of the Mongols, as is demonstrated by its ubiquitous presence on several works of art, made in a variety of materials.

Reviving a unique piece is not to create so-called replicas or copies. The characteristics (pattern, color tone, material, weave, etc.) are unique to Ararat, and we are proud of creating unique and our own. We choose our original colors and patterns while staying true to the original for the carpets we produce by our design team in our design office in Malatya.

The designs are first drawn by hand on grift paper and colored. Generally, designs are prepared in sections, but we prefer to prepare the design of the carpet as a whole. The hand-drawn design is then transferred to digital media on the computer. Thanks to Ararat’s software, we get the actual size of the carpet in a grid and a special ‘real carpet size’ printout in which the dimensions and colors are defined. In this way, we eliminate the possibility of weavers making mistakes and prevent their eyes from getting tired and color confusion.

Ararat Rugs Design Software: Our software engineer developed a special design software according to our color database, we can change the HEX codes to each of our special colors (indicated in the Ararat Color Chart Rug). We can choose one of our designs and we can change the color of the carpet according to our color chart.

Ararat Color Chart Rug

We have chosen the colors for this rug; 413 Khaki, 415 Imperial Red, 409 Gunmetal Blue, 316 Dark Brown, and 320 Natural Wool Color. These colors are most exactly matching with the 15th-century example as well as the same natural dyes and wool. So we can revive the 15th Century Berlin Museum’s Phoenix and Dragon carpet in the 21st Century.

According to the number of colors and knots specified in the software, we automatically output the large-scale pixel version of the entire design in one-to-one size. On these printouts, we also perform the quality control of the decimeter of the carpet on the pattern and how often it should be woven. In the figure below you can see this decimeter length measure and the design in pixels divided into squares, this is a great convenience we provide to our weavers. In this way, the symmetry is preserved and the carpet produced can match the original design exactly.

Additionally, another software ‘Ararat Color Changer’ helps us reinterpret the colors of the carpet design, it’s linked to our color databese which use HEX codes close to our natural colors in the carpets. Our desingners use this software to see the different color variations of the similar designs to reinterpret. When we produce oversize carpets we also weave a wagireh version of the oversize carpet to make sure the exact color and design to start production. 

This carpet is wowen in one of our atelier currently, we will update the progress very soon, so please visit this blog page again.

You may see different color interpretations for the same carpet below;