Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

"Portuguese" Carpet with Maritime Scenes

Object Name:
17th century
Northeastern Iran, Khurasan
Cotton (warp, weft, and pile); wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Carpet: L. 161 3/4 in. (410.8 cm) W. 70 5/8 in. (179.4 cm) Wt. 44 lbs. (29.5) with 8" tube Left side of the Carpet: L. 161 in. (408.9 cm) Right side of the carpet: L. 158 3/4 in. (403.2 cm) Top of the Carpet: W. 68 in. (172.7 cm) Bottom of the carpet: W. 70 1/2 in. (179.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
Not on view
This is one of a group of unusual carpets, long referred to as "Portuguese" carpets because of the European figures in Portuguese dress that appear in them. In the center of the field are five concentric lozenge‑shaped medallions decorated with flowering vines. The maritime scene in each corner contains ships manned by Europeans. In addition, fish, a wide‑mouthed sea monster, and a small half‑submerged nude human figure, which is probably a merman, swim in the water. The exact source and meaning of the scene are unknown.
Mrs. Chauncey J. Blair, Chicago; [ P. W. French and Company, New York , by 1938–44; sold to MMA]
Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 249.

Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. Vol. I-VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. vol. III, p. 2375, ill. vol VI, pl. 1217.

Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gallery VII, no. 4, pp. 141-142.

Ellis, Charles. "The Portuguese carpets of Gujarat." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 267, ill. fig. 1 (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. 10, pp. 51, 100, ill. fig. 73 (b/w).

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. 187, p. 268, ill. p. 268 (color).

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