Original Mamluk carpets are some of the most mysterious rugs in existence, and scholars still debate the exact circumstances surrounding their production. Patterns focus on central medallions or a field of medallions within a geometric maze of polygon shapes. The effect is kaleidoscopic, and though the palette was usually limited to red, blue, green and yellow tones, these rugs are surprisingly rich in appearance. It is likely that this type of rug was produced in Egypt under the Mamluk dynasty, hence the name by which we know them today. Documents exist designating Cairo as a center of carpet weaving as early as the last decades of the fifteenth century. Rugs of this style can also be seen in Venetian Renaissance paintings, demonstrating their value and prestige. It is believed production continued in Egypt even after the 1517 Ottoman conquest, gradually absorbing other influences. Handmade Mamluk-inspired designs are highly sought after today and many feature the signature intersecting compartments surrounding bold medallions.
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