Art/ Collection/ Art Object


19th century
Attributed to Northwestern Iran or Caucasus
Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
L. 154 in. (391.2 cm) W. 74 in. (188 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1971
Accession Number:
Not on view

A hunting carpet is so defined through the presence of men on horseback, as distinct from an animal carpet, which contains birds and beasts only. Although the basic design is definitely derived from the great Persian hunting carpets of the 16th century, the figures here are drawn with such crudeness that they might almost be imagined the work of a child. How such primitivism found its way into a basically sophisticated design is difficult to explain. There has been no inclination on the part of the weaver to place recognizable horsemen on any of the steeds, although the ability to draw a human figure is demonstrated in at least two places, where figures are so placed as to appear seated atop a tree. Scattered through the field in addition to these trees on a rather large scale is a variety of beasts together with flowers strewn at random wherever it seemed to strike the weaver’s fancy. In utter contrast to the drawing of the field, and contributing to the extraordinary effect of this piece, we find the main border, as well as the companion guard borders, drawn with considerable skill and control.

[Arts Council 1972]
Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1960–71; gifted to MMA)
"Catalogue of an exhibition held at the] Hayward Gallery, London, 19 October–10 December 1972." In Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V. McMullan Collection. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972. no. 46, p. 44.

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 46, pp. 186-187, ill. pl. 46 (color).

Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. p. 177.

Berinstain, Valerie. Great Carpets of the World. New York: Vendome Press, 1996. p. 158, ill. pl. 132 (color).

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