Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Carpet with Niche and Flower Design

Object Name:
mid-17th century
Made in India or Pakistan, Kashmir or Lahore
Cotton (warp and weft), silk (weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Textile: L. 61 in. (154.9 cm)
W. 40 1/2 in. (102.8 cm)
Mount: L. 66 5/8 in. (169.2 cm)
W. 45 in. (114.3 cm)
D. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Wt. 107 lbs. (48.5 kg)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan, 1973
Accession Number:
Not on view
This weaving is part of a group that uses the most popular motif of the emperor Shah Jahan’s reign: the single flowering plant, in this case a poppy, set within a niche. The similarity of their design to tent panels with niches and to hangings shown in royal audience scenes suggests that they were hung vertically rather than being placed on the floor.

The field of this extraordinary rug is dominated by a single large flower, probably a chrysanthemum, filling almost the entire field from the bottom to the arched top. A highly realistic effect is achieved by rendering both leaves and flowers in almost full-face position giving the weaver the possibility to represent them in great detail. Below, on either side of the main flower, appear smaller flowers, probably tulips. Interlacing leaf stems provide the transition from the field to the spandrels of the arch above. These spandrels are filled with a chrysanthemum scroll on a fairly large scale, but in colours contrasting to those of the chrysanthemum in the field. In addition, two of the blossoms on either side are drawn in profile view. The border design is based on a meandering floral scroll. But the floral rosettes of this scroll are conventionalized and can no longer be identified botanically, with the exception perhaps of the four poppies in the corners and four more in the centres of the longitudinal as well as the lateral borders.

[Arts Council 1972]
Charles Tyson Yerkes, New York; Elbert H. Gary, New York (until d. 1927)December 7–8, 1934, no. 403, to Dikran Kelekian); sale, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc., New York, December 7–8, 1934, no. 403, to Kelekian; [ Dikran G. Kelekian, New York, from 1934]; Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–d. 1973; bequeathed to MMA)
Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Romance of the Taj Mahal," December 17, 1989–March 11, 1990, no. 200.

Toledo, OH. Toledo Museum of Art. "Romance of the Taj Mahal," April 28, 1990–June 24, 1990, no. 200.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. "Romance of the Taj Mahal," August 23, 1990–November 25, 1990, no. 200.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era," November 20, 1997–March 1, 1998, no. 20.

New York. Asia Society. "The Arts of Kashmir," October 1, 2007–January 6, 2008, fig. 215.

"Catalogue of an exhibition held at the] Hayward Gallery, London, 19 October–10 December 1972." In Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V. McMullan Collection. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972. no. 7, p. 35, ill. pl. VI (color).

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 7, pp. 42-43, ill. pl. 7 (color).

Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. pp. 123, 125, ill. fig. 139 (b/w).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p.138, ill. (b/w).

Gans-Ruedin, Erwin. Indian Carpets. London: Thames and Hudson Inc., pp. 78-79.

Pal, Pratapaditya. Romance of the Taj Mahal. London; Los Angeles: Thames and Hudson, 1989–1991. no. 200, pp. 186, 189, ill. fig. 200 (color).

Walker, Daniel S. Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 20, pp. 88-92, 169, ill. fig. 89 (color).

Pal, Pratapaditya. The Arts of Kashmir. New York: Asia Society, 2007. p. 196, fig. 215 (color).

Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 87, ill. fig. 74 (color).

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