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A Safavid carpet, Tabriz, Azerbaijan, 16th century, 756x274cm, Shah Tahmasb I or Muhammed Khudabanda Period. overall wear, scattered repiling, each corner rewoven, rejoined in a number of panels incurring minor loss. $76 000 - 110 000

The field design of this carpet is a very good example of the classic pendant medallion and spandrel design whose ornaments had been a common feature of manuscript illuminations of the earlier 15th century 'international Timurid style', see David James, After Timur: Qur'ans of the 15th and 16th centuries, The Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London, 1993, no.5 ff.3b-4a. The quarter-medallion spandrel, the mosaic-patterned circular medallion and its tear-drop pendants are all delicately scalloped with a fine tracery outline and appear super-imposed upon a field of fine linked leaf and flowering vine.
Two medallion carpets, one formerly in the Joseph V.McMullan collection (M.S.Dimand and J.Mailey, Oriental Rugs In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, no.4, p.97), the other formerly in the Charles T.Yerkes collection (M.S.Dimand and J.Mailey, op. cit, fig.62, no. 3), now both in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, share a very similar interlaced arabesque strapwork and palmette border. A further example is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, (Arthur Upharn Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pl.1112). The interpretation of this border on the present lot however is more fluid than the afore- mentioned examples.
Interestingly, whilst comparable examples can be found for the border design of the present lot, the only carpet with the same drop pendants is the Trinitarias Carpet in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Originally mistaken for a Persian carpet, it is now considered, following in-depth analyses, to be a Mughal carpet from the mid 17th century, North India, (R.Leong, B.Cosgrove and S.Osei, 'Unrolling a hidden treasure' Hall, Issue 168, Summer 2011, pp.96-99). In addition, the field designs of both that carpet and the present lot, are remarkably similar. Whilst our carpet does not have the inclusion of inverted paired cloudbands, both carpets have a stong vertical rhythm, accentuated by the pronounced alternating palmettes running in columns from one end to the other.
Whilst the present carpet does have some condition problems, the colours remain lively and clearly decipherable, and illustrate quite how remarkable the colours must have seen when they were first woven.