This carpet was likely woven by a member of the Yomut tribe of Central Asia. The staggered motifs seen in the carpet’s field are known as guls (flowers); the nomadic textiles and carpets of Central Asia often display guls that are unique to a particular tribal group. The guls seen here take the form of octagons with serrated edges, each of which encloses a smaller octagon with a small central floral motif; it is the particular design of this gul that makes it attributable to the Yomut Turkmen nomads.
The design of this Yomut appears on a red ground rather than on the usual brownish red. It is distinguished also through the unusual appearance of a secondary pattern element of a diamond-shaped cartouche along the edge of the field. The main border is characteristic of Yomut work, with an angular meander bearing solid stylized palmettes on the side, in contrast to the skeletonized ones at the ends. It is interesting to note that the minor borders are given unusual importance. Each of them displays delicately drawn reciprocal shrubs, but the outside border is nearly twice as wide as the inside one.
[Arts Council 1972]
Vitall and Leopold Benguiat, Paris and New York (until 1925; their sale, American ArtAssociation, December 4–5, 1925, no. 40); Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–d. 1973; bequeathed to MMA)
Paris. Institut du Monde Arabe. "Le Ciel dans un tapis (Heaven in a Carpet)," December 7, 2004–March 27, 2005, no. 57.
Lisbon. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. "Le Ciel dans un tapis (Heaven in a Carpet)," April 28, 2005–July 31, 2005, no. 57.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Turkmen Jewelry," October 9, 2012–February 24, 2013, not in catalogue.
"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. 122, p. 55, ill. pl. XLIII.
McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 122, pp. 352-353, ill. pl. 122 (color).
Le Ciel dans un Tapis. Paris and Lisbon: Editions Snoeck, 2004. no. 57, pp. 198-199, ill. p. 199 (color).