Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Seley Carpet

Object Name:
late 16th century
Silk (warp), cotton (weft), wool (weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Rug: L. 280 in. (711.2 cm) W. 121 in. (307.3 cm) Tube: L. 157 in. (398.8 cm) Diam. 21 in. (53.3cm) Wt. 86 lbs. (39 kg) (carpet was weighed with 120 lb. tube at 204 lbs.)
Credit Line:
Presented in memory of Richard Ettinghausen, Gift of Louis E., Theresa S., Hervey, and Elliot Jay Seley, and Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick and Fletcher Funds, 1978
Accession Number:
Not on view
This is one of the finest Persian carpets known, produced at a time when the art of carpet weaving had achieved its greatest heights under the patronage of the Safavid shahs in the sixteenth century. Striking in the harmony of its pattern and color, this carpet combines the medallion scheme adapted from bookbindings with a field composed of a well-planned system of floral forms on scrolling vines and floating cloud bands of Chinese derivation.
Vitall and Leopold Benguiat, New York and Paris (until 1932, their sale,American Art Association, New York, April 23, 1932, no. 22); Louis E. Seley, New York (by 1961–78; gifted to MMA); Elliot Seley, New York (by 1961–87; gift and sale to MMA)
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 113, 170.

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. 185, pp. 8, 16, 265-266, ill. p. 266 (color), fig. 25 (b/w).

Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 72-73, ill. fig. 57 (color).

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