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Carpet - 'Polonaise' carpet

'Polonaise' carpet

  • Object:

    Carpet

  • Place of origin:

    Isfahan (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1600-1625 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk warp and weft, silk pile with metal-wrapped thread

  • Museum number:

    T.36-1954

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WW2

This type of carpet is known as a ‘Polonaise carpet’ even though it was made in Iran. The design of this fragment is nearly identical to that of a huge carpet donated to the shrine at Najaf in Iraq, probably by Shah Abbas the Great.

The misleading name arose because carpets of this type came to Europe in the early 17th century through trade or as royal gifts. Many were found in Poland and were later mistaken for Polish products. This gave rise to the term ‘Polonaise carpet’.

Physical description

A large rectangular carpet fragment with borders on two sides. Strapwork design in red and yellow silk with gold- and silver-wrapped thread.

Place of Origin

Isfahan (probably, made)

Date

1600-1625 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk warp and weft, silk pile with metal-wrapped thread

Dimensions

Length: 259 cm, Width: 144.8 cm

Object history note

Sold to the Museum in May 1954, by Lady Christabel Aberconway.

Descriptive line

Carpet fragment, silk knotted pile on silk foundation with metal-wrapped thread brocading, 'Polonaise' strapwork design on red ground with borders on two sides, probably Isfahan, Safavid Iran, 1600-1625

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

The Arts of Islam, Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Hayward Gallery, 8 April - 4 July, 1976, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1976.Cat. no. 64, p.101.
Mehmet Aga-Oglu, Safawid Rugs and Textiles. The Collection of the Shrine of Imam `Ali at Al-Najaf (New York: Columbia University Press, 1941) fig.4.
Dimand, M. S. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973. pp. 59-60
Allan, W. James, The Art and Architecture of Twelver Shi'ism: Iraq, Iran and the Indian Sub-Continent (Azimuth Editions, London, 2012) ISBN. 9781898592297
Pl.3.5b, pp.87

Labels and date

Carpet Fragment with Red Ground
Iran, probably Isfahan
1600-25

Carpets of this type were taken to Europe in the early 17th century through trade as or royal gifts. Many were found in Poland and were later mistaken for Polish products. Yet the design is nearly identical to that of a huge carpet donated to the shrine at Najaf in Iraq, probably by Shah Abbas the Great.

Silk pile with silk warp and weft and metal thread

Museum no. T.36-1954 [Jameel Gallery]

Production Note

The term 'Polonaise carpet' arose when carpets of this type were found in Polish collections.

Materials

Silk; Thread

Techniques

Weaving

Categories

Textiles

Collection

Middle East Section

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