Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Velvet

Velvet

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    late 16th century-early 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk velvet

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support, and the assistance of Mr I. Schwaiger, Selfridge & Co.Ltd., Mr A. F. Kendrick, Mr O. S. Berberyan, G. P. & J. Baker Ltd. and Mr A. Benardout

  • Museum number:

    T.226-1923

  • Gallery location:

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

Silk textiles decorated with large human figures are one of the most striking products of Iranian weavers in the 16th and 17th centuries. This length of velvet was probably used as a hanging. It shows aristocratic young men standing in a flower-strewn garden, on either side of a cypress tree that grows by a fish pond.

Physical description

Silk velvet with repeating composition of two young men flanking cypress trees by ponds, the field semé with flowering stems.

Technical analysis

Foundation weave: 5 end satin, decochement 3 by 1 and 2 wefts.

Warp: 2 warps: 1 foundation warp, 1 pile warp.
Proportion: 6 foundation warps to 1 pile warp.
Foundation warp:
Material: silk, Z twist, yellow.
Thread count: Not possible as the reverse was not accessible
Velvet Warp: Silk. Not possible to determine the twist. The colours are: gold/yellow, green, blue, red, white, black, and apricot. It is assumed that the black pile warp predominates and the other colours introduced when needed in channels. According to an analysis of an identical piece by Reath, this velvet employs the pile warp substitution method for introducing colour (Reath, 1937).

Weft:
Proportion: Not possible to determine.
Foundation wefts:
Material: silk, yellow, Z twist. Alternately single and double
Thread count: not possible to determine
Supplementary wefts: Not possible to determine but would expect to see a supporting weft on the back as the velvet warps are not visible on the obverse under the satin foundation.
Supplementary Metal Wefts:
Material: silk core, yellow and white, S twist. Metal threads wrapped around silk core in S direction.
Thread count: not possible as the reverse was not accessible.

Selvedge: N/A

Description: Cut, voided velvet. Two men holding a flower to their nose, either side of a cypress tree. Each row of men alternates.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)

Date

late 16th century-early 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk velvet

Dimensions

Length: 161 cm incl. backboard, Width: 78.5 cm, Width: 57 cm, Length: 39 cm

Historical context note

As this fabric demonstrates, the Safavids were unfazed by the traditional Islamic wariness about figural imagery; indeed, they positively gloried in such imagery, creating magnificent garments full of pictures of beautiful youths, scenes from Persian literature, and so on. Such garments were of particular value on diplomatic missions, where they served to scandalize the Safavids' much more traditionally-minded Ottoman rivals.

Descriptive line

Silk velvet with young men flanking cypress trees, Iran, late sixteenth to early seventeenth century.

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

Tim Stanley ed., with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004; p. 64, plate 78.
Illustrated in 'Iranian Textiles' by Jennifer Wearden and Patricia L Baker, V&A Publishing, 2010, fig.2 page 12.

Labels and date

VELVET
Persian; 16th -17th century.
Young men smelling flowers, among cypress trees, flowering plants and fishponds. In silk pile and silver, on a gold ground, this is a masterpiece of velvet-weaving.
Formerly in the Treasury of Jaipur, India, this velvet was purchased with the help of contributions from the National Art Collections Fund and others. [Used until 09/2000]
Length of Velvet with Men and Cypresses
Iran
1550-1650

Silk textiles decorated with large human figures are one of the most striking products of Iranian weavers in the 16th and 17th centuries. This length of velvet was probably used as a hanging. It shows aristocratic young men standing in a flower-strewn garden, on either side of a cypress tree that grows by a fish pond.

Silk velvet and metal-wrapped thread

Museum no. T.226-1923. Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund, Mr I. Schwaiger, Selfridge & Co. Ltd, Mr A.F. Kendrick, Mr O.S. Bergeryan, G.P.J.J. Baker Ltd. and Mr A. Bernadout [Jameel Gallery]

Materials

Silk (fiber)

Subjects depicted

Cypress trees; Men; Fishponds

Categories

Textiles; Islam

Collection

Middle East Section

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.