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The Anhalt Medallion Carpet, probably first half 16th century, Safavid Empire. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Medium:Cotton (warp), silk (weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions:Rug: H. 312 in. (792.5 cm) W. 165 in. (419.1 cm) Wt. on 8" tube - 184 lbs. (83.5 kg)
Credit Line:Gift of Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1946
Accession Number:46.128
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

The excellent condition and unusual colors of this carpet make it a unique example of carpet production during the Safavid period in Iran. The yellow field, rarely seen in carpets of this type, renders it an unusual variation of a classic design. The central medallion, scrolling vines (arabesque), and peacocks in the field are all common features of Safavid carpets. The arabesque designs have parallels in sixteenth-century Persian tile revetments, while the central medallion design is similar to contemporary book covers, suggesting that the same court workshop created designs for manuscripts, carpets, and architectural ornamentation.

Dukes of Anhalt, Dessau, Germany (after 1683); Sir Joseph Duveen, London (by 1931–d. 1939); [Duveen Brothers, London, by 1940]; Samuel H. KressFoundation, New York (until 1946; gifted to MMA)

Exhibition History
London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 850.

The Iranian Institute. "Exhibition of Persian Art," 1940, Gal. I, no. 7.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In the Presence of Kings," April 19, 1967–September 4, 1967, no. 31.


Pope, Arthur Upham. Masterpieces of Persian Art. New York, 1945. p. 188, ill. pl. 140 (b/w).

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 850, p. 90.

"An Illustrated Souvenir of the Exhibition of Persian Art at Burlington House London, 1931." In Persian Art. 2nd ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 850, p. 90, ill. (b/w).

Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. Vol. I-VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. v. III, pp. 2302-4, ill. VI, pls. 1137-9.

Ackerman, Phyllis. "The Iranian Institute, New York." In Guide to the Exhibition of Persian Art. 2nd. ed. New York: The Iranian Institute, 1940. no. Gallery I, no. 7, pp. 8-9.

In the Presence of Kings: Royal Treasures from the Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967. no. 31, ill. pl. 31 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 7, pp. 98, 136-137, ill. fig. 69, (b/w; color).

Encyclopaedia Iranica. London; Boston; New York: Ehsan Yarshater, 1987. p. 75, ill. pl. 1 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 180, pp. 257-258, ill. p. 258 (color).

Denny, Walter B. "Textiles and Carpets in the Metropolitan Museum's New ALTICALSA Galleries." Arts of Asia 2012 (2012). p. 104, ill. figs. 5, 6.

Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 70, 71, 122, ill. figs. 56-106.