HARIS DERVIŠEVIĆ is head of the department of history of art at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also teaches at the faculty of architecture at the University of Sarajevo and teaches interior design studies at Džemal Bijedić University, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dervišević’s research focuses on Islamic art in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His works have been published in scientific and popular journals, daily, weekly and online magazines. He is an active member of the National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and member of the Council of the Congress of Bosniak Intellectuals.
BANJA LUKA PRAYER RUG: ITS ORIGIN, FORM AND STYLE
Banja Luka prayer rug is the name for the one of the most recognizable artworks produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unlike other Ottoman prayer rugs, Banja Luka examples were not woven but embroidered. Their basis is made of chokha, a form of heavy coat, to which were sewn smaller chokha pieces cut in the shape of flowers and leaves. In the center is found a flower in vase motif and a floral decoration is placed on the border. Higher quality specimens were decorated with silk and gold threads. The iconography was influenced by Ottoman baroque and by local heritage. It is believed that the first examples appeared in the 17th century and last were made in the middle of the 19th century. Most probably they were produced in northern and northwestern Bosnia. The rugs got their name from the city of Banja Luka, an important administrative and trade center of the region. Researchers suggest that these prayer rugs served as decoration in Ottoman army tents and also in the houses of the Ottoman nobles.