This carpet, made in Turkey circa 1900, represents a mystery for the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, because no one knows how, or when, it came to the museum. It has been identified as a Milas carpet, suggesting it bears characteristics similar to other carpets produced in the district of Milas in southwestern Turkey. This is a vibrant wool carpet, with synthetic red, blue, yellow, and green dyes. It features three stacked medallions in the main field, with various geometric patterns along the borders. Its design resembles the earlier large-pattern Holbein carpets of sixteenth-century Anatolia, characterized by large octagonal medallions set within squares.
In 1972, art professor Dorothy Cogwell wrote a letter to one Mary Thornton about a number of “Persian” rugs in the collection, which she claimed, “do not belong to [the museum].” The carpet’s accession files contain several appraisals of antiques on the Mount Holyoke campus, ranging from 1933 to 1969. The Milas carpet was likely collected by some faculty member, who left it behind, and it somehow ended up in the museum.