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Joseph V. McMullan Rug Collection

DATES October 01, 1984 through June 02, 1985
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT Arts of the Islamic World
  • November 30, 1984 An exhibition of nineteen oriental carpets from the collection of the late Joseph V. McMullan will open in the newly renovated Islamic gallery at The Brooklyn Museum on November 29 and be on view through June 3, 1985.

    The 18th and 19th century carpets in The Brooklyn Museum exhibition illustrate Mr. McMullan’s pioneering interest in fine tribal pieces as well as those produced in court manufactories. For example, a shimmering “Chichi” rug demonstrates the artistry of weavers from one of the larger Caucasian tribes. The variation of color and inclusion of stylized floral and vegetal motifs enliven the field and provide a counterpoint to its strongly geometric composition. Another prize of the collection is an early eighteenth-century Garden Carpet, thought to have been produced at a northwestern Persian center. The use of subtle greens and blues, the rippling water and the array of flowers conjure up the refreshing haven of an actual Persian garden.

    In the Renaissance and even earlier times, Westerners traveling in the Middle East remarked on the beauty of oriental carpets and returned to Europe with them. By the seventeenth century foreign demand for Turkish and Persian carpets had spurred production and trade and boosted the economies of both countries. In this venerable tradition of collecting, Joseph V. McMullan stands out, for he not only recognized the value of carpets made for kings and courtiers but also appreciated the whole range of carpets made by and for villagers and nomads. Oriental carpets, such as those from Mr. McMullan’s collection, now in The Brooklyn Museum, appeal as much to the museum visitor of today as they did to the admiring European travelers of the past.

    The rugs in the exhibition were a bequest of Mrs. Joseph V. McMullan, Gift of the Beaupre Charitable Trust in memory of Joseph V. McMullan.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1984, 048.
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