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Carpet fragment

Carpet fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1550-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand knotted woollen pile, on woollen warp and weft; asymmetrical knot, open to the left; 208-240 knots per sq. in (3,120-4,080 per sq. dm)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Although the animals are a minor part of this design, and the ones curled in combat are barely larger than some of the blossoms yet they contain graphic details: on the upper pair, the cheetah claws are leaving bloody marks in the deer's flesh!

Physical description

Carpet fragment, Hunting Carpet design, wool knotted pile, silk warp, wool-cotton-wool triple weft.
WARP: cream silk; Z2S; 26-30 threads per inch (104-120 per dm); depressed.
WEFT: cream wool, light red wool and white cotton; Z-spun, unplied (wool); Z-spun, unplied 2 parallel threads per shoot (cotton); 3 shoots (wool, cotton, wool) after each row of knots; 16 knots per inch (60-68 per dm).
PILE: wool; 16 colours: red, dark orange, orange, yellow, light yellow, dark green, green, light green, dark blue, blue, light blue, pink, dark brown, brown, light brown, very light brown; asymmetrical knot, open to the left and tied around 2 warps; 208-240 knots per sq.inch (3120-4080 per dm).
NB: report on dyes shows: red = lac, yellow = luteolin, green = luteolin and indigo, orange = madder.
SIDE FINISH: Left: incomplete; Right: missing
END FINISH: missing.
DESIGN: Field: red ground with foliate scrollwork, the dominant green stems with large lotus flowers and leaves. The secondary pink stems with smaller blossoms, flower heads and buds. In a row in the centre of the fragment are: from the top, two pairs of leopards attacking a large deer, a lion chasing a horned goat, a tiger attacking a spotted bull, and a wolf chasing a deer. Other small animals are spaced among the flowers: fox and lynx.
Borders only along left-hand side:
Main border: dark green ground with red floral meander bearing composite blossoms and light green curving stems bearing smaller flowers. Pairs of birds sit among the stems.
Inner border: yellow ground with double floral meander of orange and dark brown stems. Red and blue flowers alternate with a spray of 3 pink flowers.
Outer border: red ground with double floral meander in pink and green. Blue and yellow blossoms alternate with a spray of three very light brown flowers.

Catalogue Date: 1.12.97

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1550-1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Hand knotted woollen pile, on woollen warp and weft; asymmetrical knot, open to the left; 208-240 knots per sq. in (3,120-4,080 per sq. dm)


Weight: 13 kg, Width: 1060 mm Top edge, Width: 1050 mm Bottom edge, Length: 1990 mm Proper right edge, Length: 1955 mm Proper left edge

Object history note

Purchased from the estate of William Wentworth Buller. According to V&A archival records, this carpet fragment was "bought by Mr Buller at the Simonetti sale and left by him on deposit with the late Signor A. Castellani" (V&A Archives, Central Inventory). This refers to the collection of the painter Attilio Simonetti, which was auctioned in Rome in 1883.

Descriptive line

Middle East, Carpet, fragment. Carpet fragment, wool knotted pile on silk warp and wool-cotton-wool weft, 'Hunting Carpet' design of animal combats on red ground, Safavid Iran, 1550-1600

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Christine Klose, "Imperial Puzzle. Sixteenth-Century Persian Spiral Vine Carpets with Animals", HALI 170 (2011) pp.76-85: fig.30.


Wool yarn


Knotted pile

Subjects depicted

Birds; Lion; Gazelle; Cheetah; Stylized flowers; Deer; Tiger; Animals


Textiles; Floor coverings


Middle East Section

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