Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Rug: H. 196 in. (497.8 cm)
W. 134 in. (340.4 cm)
Tube: H. 146 in. (370.8 cm)
Weight: 79 lbs. (198 lbs. rolled on tube. tube is 119 lbs. empty)
Diam. 20 in. (50.8 cm)
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1910
Not on view
This magnificent jewel-colored carpet, with its elegant, curvilinear "compartments" based on a geometric star pattern, is filled with creatures borrowed from Chinese art, such as the dragon and phoenix in combat. The benevolent phoenix has its counterpart in Persian lore, where it is known as the simurgh, also a wise and protective bird. Other compartments contain decorative arrangements of Chinese ch'i-lin and flying geese, as well as the purely Islamic arabesque. The border with its medallions and cartouches reflects those of Safavid bookbindings, which also make great use of ribbonlike Chinese cloud bands, by now thoroughly assimilated into Persian art. With its fine weave (550 knots per square inch), silk foundation, and the close relationship between its elaborate pattern elements and the art of the book, it seems likely that this carpet was designed in the book atelier working in the service of the shah. This carpet has been reduced in length. A complete carpet woven from the same cartoon belongs to the Musée Historique des Tissus in Lyon, France.
[ Vincent Robinson & Co., until at least 1882; to Thiem]; Baron Adolph Thiem, Berlin(after 1882–ca. 1895; sold to Yerkes); Charles Tyson Yerkes, New York (ca. 1895–d. 1905; his estate,1905–10; sold to MMA)
Vincent J. Robinson. Eastern Carpets. London, 1882. ill. pl. 3.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Guide to an Exhibition of Oriental Rugs and Textiles. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1935. p. 13, ill. fig. 3 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 285, ill. fig. 189 (b/w).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1970. no. 166, p. 185, ill. (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 6, pp. 98, 134-135, ill. fig. 67.
Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1975). ill. p. 35 (b/w).
Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 105, ill. fig. 77 (color).
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. p. 113.
de Montebello, Philippe, and Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 6th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. p. 323, ill. fig. 30 (color).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 179, p. 256-257, ill. p. 256 (color).