Silks and Carpets for High Society

Kerman Carpet Fragment
Iran, 17th Century
Wool pile
R. DeWitt Mallary III Collection

This fragment is part of a medium-sized carpet of which two other larger fragments are known, giving a good idea of what the whole carpet looked like. Its overall design is that of a “paradise garden” in which birds, mythical beasts, and other animals inhabit a garden filled with flowering plants, shrubs, and trees. Here we see a tall, straight cypress tree, and growing from the same place and in close contact, a gently curving prunus in full bloom. This combination is well known as a poetic image signifying love. The imagery belongs to the great period of early Safavid art, rendered here in a somewhat provincial manner. The weaving style is that of Kerman, which together with Khorasan were the two main centers of production and innovation outside courtly circles.