Mike and I joined the New England Rug Society (NERS) last year. It is a great organization for both new and seasoned Oriental rug lovers. There are several meetings throughout the year and each meeting features a speaker, or sometimes speakers, who talk about a specific type of rug or textile. Most recently we attended a meeting on Spanish carpets. Many people are not aware carpets were woven in Spain, and even some rug enthusiasts have never seen one in person.
The oldest known carpet woven in Spain is the Synagogue carpet as seen above, which was most likely from the 14th century and is now at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. Rugs woven in Spain in this time period are known for their unique knotting-style. Unlike Persian and Turkish knots, Spanish knots are tied to single warp threads rather than two threads. Rugrabbit has several wonderful photos of the Synagogue carpet which can be seen here.
Popular types of rugs woven in Spain during the 15th century are known as the Armorial rugs, which bear a coat of arms or heraldic device. The carpet below features heraldic devices with two castles and a lion, and is on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
After the 15th century, quality and style began to decline. Weavers in Spain copied Turkish rug designs such as the famous Lotto and Holbein carpets. By the 17th century, Spanish carpets conformed to Western tastes with decorative lattice patterns and lighter color schemes like the carpet below.