Exhibitions/ Art Object

"Floral and Cloudband" Carpet

Object Name:
17th century
Attributed to Iran
Cotton (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
L. 97.5 x W. 56.25 in. (247.65 x 142.87 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Ralph Dudley, 1953
Accession Number:
Not on view
This type of carpet, characterized by a weft structure with four plies and a dense knot count, was once thought to be of Indian manufacture, but its structure now places it firmly in Iran. Its rich repertoire of Persian motifs is woven using a rich palette, with two to three different tones per color. An interwoven arabesque of cloudbands, peonies, lotuses, and other flowers develop in spiral-like movements and are arranged following vertical and horizontal symmetrical axes. Contrasting ground colors—rich red and dark blue—accentuate the vibrancy of the rug and help distinguishing the border from the field.  

"Floral and Cloudband" carpets were among the most popular rugs in seventeenth-century Persia, and they were sold in the West as high-priced and extremely luxurious furnishings. Carpets of smaller dimensions, such as this one, were commonly displayed on tables. From about 1620 this type became a favored model for Netherlandish artists. This date largely coincides with the arrival of the Dutch United East India Company in Persia, which imported such carpets to the Netherlands in substantial quantities.
Vitall and Leopold Benguiat, New York (until 1925; their sale, American Art Galleries,New York, December 5, 1925, no. 49, to Walters); Henry Walters, Baltimore (1925–d. 1931); his wife, Sarah Green Walters, Baltimore (1931–41; her sale, Park-Bernet Galleries, New York,May 3, 1941, no. 1327, to Dudley); Ralph Dudley, New York (1941–53; gifted to MMA)
Toronto. Aga Khan Museum. "A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West," June 6–October 18, 2015, no catalogue.

Dimand, Maurice S. "The seventeenth century Isfahan school of rug weaving." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 264, ill. fig. 10 (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. 32, pp. 107-108, ill. p. 108 (b/w).

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