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Carpet fragment

Carpet fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1600-1625 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (designed and made by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand knotted wool and cotton pile, on silk warp and cotton weft; asymmetrical knot, open to the left; 224 knots per sq. in (3,348 per sq. dm)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Fragment of the right-hand border of a Persian carpet dating to the late 16th or early 17th century.
The beautiful confronting birds are not quite symmetrically positioned within their cartouche and each bird is slightly different. It indicates that the weaver was working from a sketch - the birds would have been identical if a cartoon had been used.

Physical description

Knotted pile carpet fragment; part of the right hand border. Persian, early 17th century.
WARP: yellow silk; Z4S; 32 threads per inch (124 per dm).
WEFT: white cotton; Z spun, unplied*; 2 and 3 parallel threads per shoot and 3 shoots (1 of 2 parallel threads, 1 of 3 parallel threads and 1 of 2 parallel threads) after each row of knots; 14 knots per inch (54 per dm counted at 27 per 5 cm). * it is possible that these threads were originally loosely plied, but they have relaxed and now lie parallel.
PILE: wool and cotton; 12 colours: red, light red, orange, light orange, yellow, dark green, green, dark blue, blue, light blue, black, white (cotton); NB: black and light blue are corroded. The red is Lac; the yellow is Luteolin and possibly Tricin; the orange is Madder and Luteolin. Asymmetrical knot open to the left and tied around 2 threads; 84 knots to the sq. inch (3348 per sq. dm).
SIDE FINISH: Left-hand side is cut. Right-hand side is missing.
END FINISH: Lower end is missing. Upper end is cut.
DESIGN: Field: extreme right-hand side of field, 2" (5 cm) wide, has red ground with evidence of yellow primary and black secondary stems with small rosettes and parts of larger, composite blossoms.
Main border: 1'1.5" (34 cm) wide has dark green ground with one and two half rows of scalloped medallions, the red being round, the yellow cartouche-shaped and the green and pink palmette-shaped. A small red circular pendant joins the red medallions to their vertical neighbour, otherwise all abutt. The lower two halves which are red, frame a large, multi-coloured half-palmette, the two green halves above enclose blossoms on red and black stems while the upper two half-cartouches each has a light blue cloudband with a small pink flower. The central cartouche encloses a facing pair of red-headed and winged blue birds above red flowers; above, a pink palmette-medallion frames a blue blossom with an orange and yellow centre and surrounded by four small yellow flowers on green stems. The upper, red medallion has a blue, decorated peacock with a green erect tail surrounded by six light orange flowers on green stems. All the medallions are outlined in yellow. The dark green ground is decorated principally with cloudbands and orange flowers on orange stems.
Inner border: light orange ground with an arabesque meander in light blue, punctuated by red blossoms from which curve short black stems. Through the arabesques runs a fine black stem bearing florets.
Outer border: as Inner, except that the central pair of arabesques are red, are joined by a blue blossom and each contains a black blossom outlined in white.

Date analysed: 6.6.95

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1600-1625 (made)


Unknown (designed and made by)

Materials and Techniques

Hand knotted wool and cotton pile, on silk warp and cotton weft; asymmetrical knot, open to the left; 224 knots per sq. in (3,348 per sq. dm)


Length: 71 cm maximum, Length: 67.5 cm minimum, Width: 53.5 cm maximum, Width: 52 cm minimum

Object history note

Gift of L. Schwaiger, 143 New Bond Street, London.
A fragment possibly from the same original carpet is in the Textile Museum in Washington DC.

Descriptive line

Middle East, Carpet, Fragment. Carpet fragment, wool and cotton knotted pile on silk warp and cotton wefts, border design of interlocking cartouches containing peacocks, birds and lotus flowers, Isfahan, Safavid Iran, 1600-1625


Silk; Wool yarn; Cotton; Wool yarn; Cotton yarn; Silk


Weaving; Knotting

Subjects depicted

Birds; Stylized flowers; Cartouche


Textiles; Floor coverings


Middle East Section

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