FROM THE VAULT
Selected acquisitions of antique textile art
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22. 
Alg 1935
Silk carpet with vases and arabesques
Kashan, Mohtasham Workshops
Central Persia
circa 1880
264 x 201 cm (88 x 67)


Notes: asymmetrically knotted silk pile open to the left on a silk foundation
The carpets of the Mohtasham workshop have been the subject of a recent study (S. Azadi, The Mark of Mohtasham, Hali 160, London 2009, pp. 66-73) and represent the pinnacle of nineteenth century Persian carpet weaving. Mostly woven with high quality merino wool, they are very rarely in silk and even more rarely on a medium-large format. This highly refined silk example is distinguished by its soft, textile-like palette of silver and soft aubergine with touches of gold, and by an elegant pattern consisting of leafs and palmettes which sprout from two lateral vases and a sequence of split-leaf arabesques which converge to the centre. The ivory border decorated by a vinery consisting of leafs and grapes adds a further touch of exquisiteness, imparting an almost surreal quality to the composition, the latter being a distinguishing factor common to the best and most unique Persian weavings of the revival period.

 



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