TAASA VICTORIA A Talk by Susan Scollay on 7 October 2008 `Dracula, dragons and Ottoman prayer rugs: how oriental carpets came to decorate the churches in Transylvania and why they’re still there today.’ Susan commenced her talk by showing a series of portraits by eminent artists including Holbein, Crivelli, Lotto and Memling. These displayed Ottoman rugs, thus establishing the rugs as desirable status symbols in Europe from the 16th century on. Produced in Turkey until the end of the 17th century, they reached Europe through the great trading port of Venice. Yet, for centuries, Ottoman prayer rugs, found in great profusion in remote and mountainous Transylvania in present- – TAASA Review December 2008
day Romania, were erroneously categorized as `Transylvanian’.
This continued well into the 20th century. The explanation for this lies in history and religion.
Susan spoke of the influence of the Saxons, who had emigrated to the isolated area to form a buffer between hostile Swedish and Ottoman forces...