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Silk Animal Carpet

Object Name:
Carpet
Date:
second half 16th century
Geography:
Iran, probably Kashan
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Silk (warp, weft, and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions:
Rug: L. 94 7/8 in. (241 cm) W. 70 1/16 in. (178 cm) Mount: L. 103 1/4 in. (262.3 cm) W. 78 in. (198.1 cm) D. 3 in. (7.6 cm) Wt. 206 lbs. (93.4 kg)
Classification:
Textiles-Rugs
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
14.40.721
Not on view
This silk rug demonstrates the part played by the miniaturist in designing rug cartoons. Neither the symmetry usually associated with carpet designs nor the repeat patterns of textiles is evident here. Animals, including fantastic beasts of Chinese origin, arranged singly or in groups, are pictorially laid out in a landscape of flowering plants. As in most Persian carpets, the animals are engaged in combat—possibly evoking the underlying symbolism of a cosmological order dating back to pre-Islamic times as well as referring to the hunt, a symbol of royal power.
Prince Princezza, Evora, Portugal; Edouard Chappey, Paris (until 1907; sale Galerie Georges Petit,Paris, June 5–7, 1907, lot 1912, sold to Altman); Benjamin Altman, New York (1907–d. 1913; bequeathed to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 293, ill. fig. 194 (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. 13, pp. 101, 142-143, ill. fig. 79.

Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. p. 171.

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. 182, pp. 4, 261-263, ill. p. 262 (color).



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