Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Silk Kashan Carpet

Object Name:
16th century
Made in Iran, probably Kashan
Silk (warp, weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Rug: L. 96 in. (243.8 cm) W. 65 in. (165.1 cm) Mount: L. 101 3/4 in. (258.4 cm) W. 72 1/2 in. (184.2 cm) D. 3 in. (7.6 cm) Estimated weight: 200 lbs.
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
This carpet was possibly woven in Kashan, an important center for silk trade and carpet manufacture during the Safavid period. Decorative elements on this and other related carpets from Kashan and Tabriz indicate that weavers may have used pattern books containing popular motifs to guide them in production. These designs, including the medallions at the center and four corners of this carpet, are also present in other media, particularly in bookbinding and manuscript illumination. The cloud bands and peonies that appear throughout the work originated in Chinese art but had been fully assimilated into Safavid artistic production by this period.
J. E. Taylor, London (in 1912); Benjamin Altman, New York (until d. 1913; bequeathed to MMA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Four Silk Kashan Rugs," August 2, 1994–February 5, 1994, no catalogue.

Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 15, pp. 57, 102, ill. fig. 81 (b/w).

Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 90, 178.

Phipps, Elena. "Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Winter 2010). p. 43, ill. fig. 74 (color).

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