This floral arabesque carpet belongs to a group previously attributed to both Iran and India. The four‑ply warp points to Iran as the place of manufacture. Furthermore, such carpets were woven in large quantities and numerous examples survive. Few of these, however, possess the intensity, scale, and originality of this one. Light and dark blue arabesque bands run symmetrically through the field, creating a sense of flow. The design is further elaborated by the fine network of buds, rosettes, leaves, and palmettes in the background, as well as by the equally vibrant main border, set against a blue background.
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Title:Floral Arabesque Carpet
Geography:Made in probably Iran
Medium:Cotton (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions:Rug: L. 189 in. (480.1 cm) W. 82 1/2 in. (209.6 cm) Wt. 41lbs. (18.6 kg) with 6" tube Bottom: H. 187 in. (475 cm) W. 80 3/4 in. (205.1 cm)
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1969
In the A'in-i-Akbari, a history of the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, it is reported that carpets were still imported into India from various locations in Iran. The book noted, however, that the emperor had so succesfully established a native industry that workshops were "found in every town, especially in Agrah, Fathpur, and Lahor." It is evident that the pattern on this beautiful floral-and-arabesque carpet is related to the so-called Herat or Isfahan group of Indian rugs. They may well have served as models, but certain features seem to indicate that this is a product of Indian looms, although it is impossible to specify the place where it was woven. The formal, measured grace of a Persian design has been transformed into a turbulent Indian design given movement and vitality by the large, intersecting light- and dark-blue spiral arabesques with terminals of split-leafed lanceolate leaves and secondary scrolls. The spacing of the main and subsidiary designs lacks the clarity of Iranian examples. The more abstract, static border placed in opposition to the vibrant field, the cloud bands with their flamelike tips, and the composite palmette in the corners of the rug all seem to differentiate it from Persian prototypes. The center is marked by the juxtaposition of two abstract forms, and the top by the tiny trefoil joining the tips of two leaf terminals. An inner guard band bearing reciprocal trefoils seperates the main from the border design. The colors retain most of their original intensity.
Carolyn Kane in [Berlin 1981]
1. Abu-i Fazl 'Alami, A'in-i Akbari, translated by H. Blochman, vol. 1, Calcutta 1873, p. 55.
Kevorkian Foundation, New York (by 1966–69; its sale, Sotheby's London,December 5, 1969, no. 19, to MMA)
Dallas Museum of Art. "The Kevorkian Foundation Collection of Rare and Magnificent Oriental Carpets," October 8, 1966–November 27, 1966, no. 8.
Dimand, Maurice S. "Special Loan Exhibition, a Guide and Catalog." In The Kevorkian Foundation Collection of Rare and Magnificent Oriental Carpets. New York: Plantin Press, 1966. no. 8, ill, pl. IV (color).
Dimand, Maurice S. "The Seventeenth Century Isfahan School of Rug Weaving." Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972). pp. 261, 264–5, ill. fig. 9; color plate and b/w illustration.
Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 36, pp. 72, 109, ill. fig. 102 (b/w).
Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 137, ill. (b/w).
"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 143, pp. 330–31, ill. (color).
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 214–15.
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