- Gordon Campbell
Spanish centre of carpet production in Murcia. Alcaraz was one of the two principal centres (together with Cuenca) of carpet production in 15th- and 16th-century Spain. The hand-knotted carpets are tied with a single-warp symmetrical knot (known as the Spanish knot) on an undyed woollen foundation. Several surviving 15th-century examples imitate Turkish carpets of the ‘Holbein’ variety, but the colouring is often different (Turkish red being replaced by blue and gold) and in the borders the Kufic inscriptions are replaced by geometrical or floral patterns. In the 16th century the red colouring became less vivid, possibly because of problems with the cochineal dye imported from Mexico. There was considerable variety of design, but in the 15th century the most common pattern consisted of wheels in rectangular compartments; in the 16th century the wheels softened into wreaths and the compartments assumed a variety of shapes or disappeared altogether....