Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more

How to Read Islamic Carpets

Walter B. Denny
2014
144 pages
146 illustrations
View More Publication Info

The engaging and accessible volume offers invaluable insights and novel perspectives on what is perhaps the most iconic of all Islamic art forms: the handwoven carpet. With a history stretching back to the fourteenth century and a geographic reach spanning Europe to Eurasia, Mongolia to the Middle East, Islamic carpets boast a degree of innovation and technical skill to rival the world's most exalted works of art. Beauty and brilliance emerge in equal measure from carpets of all forms be they colossal silk rugs exchanged as gifts by sultans and kings or small and sturdy textiles woven for use in nomadic encampments.

Some sixty superlative examples from the Metropolitan Museum's collection—from Persia, India, Turkey, North Africa, and across the Islamic world—are presented here in lavish detail, with concise and approachable texts that position each work in historical and cultural context. Beginning with a discussion of materials and techniques, How to Read Islamic Carpets offers a comprehensive introduction to this captivating art form, and reveals the lasting influence of carpet-weaving traditions in lands far beyond the Islamic world.

Met Art in Publication

Vase Carpet, Cotton (warp), silk (weft), wool (weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
17th century
‘Ghirlandaio’ Carpet, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
19th century
Salor Main Carpet, Wool (warp, weft, and pile), silk; asymmetrically knotted pile
late 18th–early 19th century
"Lotto" Carpet, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
ca. 1600
The Feast of Acheloüs, Peter Paul Rubens  Flemish, Oil on wood
ca. 1615
Tribal Carpet with Medallion Design, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
19th century
Prayer Rug with Niche Design, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
19th century
"Senneh" Prayer Rug, Cotton (warp), wool (weft); tapestry-woven
late 18th–early 19th century
Carpet with Triple-Arch Design, Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile), cotton (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
ca. 1575–90
Mosque Lamp for the Mausoleum of Amir Aydakin al-'Ala'i al-Bunduqdar, Glass; blown, folded foot, applied handles, enameled, and gilded
shortly after 1285
Prayer Rug with Coupled Columns, Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
early 18th century
Prayer Rug with Triple Arch Design, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
18th century
Carpet with Double-Ended Triple Niche, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
dated 1182 AH/1768–69 CE
Carpet, Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
late 18th–early 19th century
Carpet Fragment with Mosaic Floor Pattern, Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
4th–5th century
Confronted Animal Rug, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
14th century
'Holbein' Carpet, Wool; symmetrically (?) knotted pile
15th–16th century
'Star Ushak' Carpet, Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
late 15th century
Carpet with Repeating Medallion Pattern on Red Background, Wool; (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
19th century
"Ornamental Lotto" Carpet, Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
early 17th century
Showing 20 of 68

You May Also Like

A slider containing 5 items.
Press the down key to skip to the last item.