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Lattice, Palmette and Sickle-Leaf Carpet
southwest Caucasus
early 18th century

190 x 398 cm (6ft 5in x 13ft 1in), wool pile on a wool foundation


Enclosed by a reciprocal trefoil border in red and ivory, the field design of this superb carpet is composed of a lattice overlaid with beautiful large flower heads, which have twisted petals and are flanked by leaves; at the interstices of the lattice are large side-view palmettes. This field pattern is based upon a late sixteenth or early seventeenth century East Persian design from the province of Khorasan.

Related Khorasan lattice carpets can be grouped by design into two distinct groups. In one of these groups the lattice contains palmettes flanked by leaves; fragments survive in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, and in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. It is on this type that the design of the present southwest Caucasian carpet was based. It is interesting that at least three Khorasan fragments with this design variation have been erroneously attributed to the Caucasus on several occasions. In the other Khorasan design type the compartments formed by the lattice have alternating ground colours and are filled with cloudbands or medallions; a complete example survives in the Art Institute in Chicago, and a small fragment of field is in the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul. The famous Nigde carpet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is the only other known Caucasian version of these great Persian carpets.

This carpet would be a true masterpiece within any collection of Caucasian carpets, and is an outstanding 'classical' carpet fit to grace any elegant home.

Provenance: Private collection, Scotland.
Literature: Related examples are listed in 'The "Historical" Carpets of the Caucasus and Surrounding Regions', in Orient Stars, A Carpet Collection, E. Heinrich Kirchheim, Stuttgart and Hali Publications Ltd, London, 1993, pp. 96-8 and pp. 365-6, note 129. A rug with an identical border and similar proportions, possibly from the same workshop as the present example, was sold at auction at Anderson Galleries, New York, 8-9 May 1925, lot 232, 173 x 412 cm (5ft 8in x 13ft 6in), illustrated as frontispiece.

ref : 19943
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