Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Rug: L. 140 in. (355.6 cm) W. 71 1/4 in. (181 cm) Wt. in mount 251 lbs. (113.9 kg)
Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1910
Not on view
This carpet comes from the shrine of Shaikh Safi at Ardabil, the dynastic shrine of the Safavids. The shrine attracted gifts from royalty, including the most famous pair of carpets from the mid-sixteenth century, made for a prayer hall commissioned by Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-76). With its pairs of lions attacking stags, tigers, hares, bears, foxes and wolves across a field of vines and blossoms, this carpet, however, would not have been used in spaces designated for prayer and instead may have served as a floor covering in the refectory of dormitory.
This carpet featured losses along the fold lines from improper storage, insertions from other carpets, and damaging adhesive on the back. Recent conservation treatment required removing the adhesive and humidifying the fibers. The carpet was pressure-mounted using an underlay support of custom-dyed red wool fabric to visually minimize areas of loss.
[ Vincent Robinson & Co., London, in 1892; sold to Yerkes]; Charles Tyson Yerkes, New York, after 1892–d. 1905; his estate 1905–10, sold to MMA)
Vincent J. Robinson. Eastern Carpets. London, 1882.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. pp. 245–46, ill. fig. 150 (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 290, ill. fig. 192 (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. 11, pp. 52, 100, ill. fig. 75 (b/w).