The 17th Annual Middle Ages/Turkish Period Excavations and Art History Research Symposium took place at the Istanbul Medeniyet University between 2nd and 5th October 2013. At the symposium, I presented my article titled “Anatolian Carpets in the Transylvanian Protestant Churches of Romania”. My presentation and article is published only in the Turkish language, but I am happy to be able to share the abstract part with those interested in the subject:
ANATOLIAN CARPETS IN THE TRANSYLVANIAN PROTESTANT CHURCHES OF ROMANIA
Today, there are hundreds of Anatolian carpets kept in the Transylvanian Protestant Churches of Romania. After the Hungarian occupation of Transylvania, Hungarian kings decided to invite immigrants from Western Europe and mostly Saxons from the Holy Roman Empire answered this invitation. When the Reformation started in Saxony, with help from their relatives in Saxony, most of the Transylvanian Saxons accepted Lutheranism. In a short time, “Protestant Iconoclasm” had spread across the “Reformed Europe”. After this movement, Transylvanian Lutheran Saxons realized, their churches were pale buildings with whitewashed walls and pews. At this point they must have been “discovered” Anatolian carpets. Anatolian carpets were already in the region, especially from the second half of the 15th century. At first, parishioners must have been bought these carpets to lay on the cold pews and also to adorn their pews as a sign of their wealth. Then, they decided to donate these carpets to decorate their churches, as a votive offering. These carpets were also used to adorn walls, balconies, pulpit, choir seats and altars in churches. In this study, we will explain using examples how and why carpets woven in a Muslim cultural geography became so important in a Christian cultural geography. This subject is also important for showing us that art is beyond boundaries and how it can build bridges of tolerance and understanding between different civilizations.
Keywords: Carpet, Ottoman, Romania, Transylvania, Trade