On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

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,would not have been used in spaces designated for prayer. Instead, it may have served as a floor covering in the refectory of dormitory.

This carpet suffered 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.

Carpet, Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile

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