Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Rug: L. 69 in. (175.3 cm)
W. 42 in. (106.7 cm)
Mount: L. 75 5/8 in. (192.1 cm)
Wt. 95 lbs. (43.1 kg)
W. 46 1/2 in. (118.1 cm)
D. 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm)
The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922
Not on view
The significance of the unusual "keyhole" motif in the bottom portion of this and other similar carpets is a source of debate. Some scholars interpret it as representing a mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca) or a gateway, while others see it as a fountain associated with ablutions performed before prayer. Carpets exhibiting this design have come to be known as "Bellini" carpets, after the Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini (d. 1516), who portrayed such weavings placed under the feet of the Madonna in his paintings.
James F. Ballard, St. Louis, MO (until 1922; gifted to MMA)
Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995.
Paris. Institut du Monde Arabe. "Le Ciel dans un tapis (Heaven in a Carpet)," December 7, 2004–March 27, 2005.
Lisbon. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. "Le Ciel dans un tapis (Heaven in a Carpet)," April 28, 2005–July 31, 2005.
Breck, Joseph, and Frances Morris. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1923. no. 28, p. 17, 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. 80, p. 224, ill. p. 224 (b/w).
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 76, 77, ill. fig. 26a (b/w).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 120, pp. 284-285, ill. p. 285 (color).
Le Ciel dans un Tapis. Paris and Lisbon: Editions Snoeck, 2004. no. 19, pp. 122-123, ill. p. 123 (color).