Exquisite and Unique Fine Persian Esfahan Carpet

Rug #1390
Size: 427 x 312 cm / 14 x 10.2 ft
Handwoven in: 
Design: 
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POA

A Fine Persian Esfahan Carpet, Central Persia, Kork Wool on Silk Foundation

Mid 20th Century

With a fine  architectural design, the ivory field with a central ivory and pale blue scrolling arabesque and palmette star medallion radiating four layers of offset pale blue teardrop pendants each enclosing scrolling arabesques, palmettes and flower heads framed by interlocking red winged pendants supported by layered scrolling curvilinear vines issuing palmettes, flower heads and sets of curled serrated leaves within a narrow blue border enclosing continuous hooked vines

Esfahan is a historically important urban centre for the weaving of fine decorative rugs which was established as the Persian Capital city in 1598 under the rule of Shah Abbas I. The Shahs of the Safavid Dynasty were collectively proactive Patrons of the Arts, including the weaving of exceptional decorative carpets which set the standards of excellence in woven art. Following the demise of the Safavid Dynasty which ended in 1736, there was stagnation in the creation of magnificent carpets, partly due to decreased Art Patronage within Persia, and due to shifts in decoration styles in Western markets which erred towards a preference in European artistic styles. In carpet terms, the English Axminster and Wilton styles and the French Aubusson and Savonerie styles became more popular and established in the home markets during the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the second half of the 19th Century there began resurgence in fine Persian carpet weaving, and by 1910 the industry was back in prominence. The ‘Revival’ of Persian excellence recalling the ‘Golden Era’ of magnificent 16th and 17th century carpet production was well under way. This transpired due to a return to Royal Patronage of the Arts under the auspices of Nasr al-Din Shah of the Qajar Dynasty, ruled 1848-1896 through to the present day. This resurgence was also enhanced by a return of interest, now to a wider Western market as a result of Industrial growth which created a considerably larger potential wealthier clientele. The major traditional Persian urban centres, including Tabriz, Isfahan, Kashan, Kerman, Meshed, for example responded to this new and significant interest, not only striving to recreate the magnificent styles of carpet design established in the 16th and 17th Centuries, but also looking at new sources of inspiration for carpet designs. The accent on striving for excellence recalling the exemplary standards of the 16th and 17th Century, the ‘Golden Age’ of carpet production, always in mind.

The increased interest and demand also led to the setting up of new centres, for example Qum and Nain. Both these centres are well established and known for the production of exceptional decorative rugs and carpets, adopting the ‘Revivalist’ ethos in striving for excellence in carpet Art which will stand the test of time.

This magnificent Persian Esfahan carpet dating to the mid 20th Century exhibits true characteristics of this Revivalist approachto rug design made with the best possible quality materials. the design displays an architectural pattern based on the elaborate interior decoration of a tin glazed ceramic tiled mosque domed ceiling or interior arch. these tiles are ornately decorated in bright colours displaying traditional floral forms similar to those seen in carpet pattern details. 16th and 17th century Persian architectural ceilings, arches and walls were invariably embellished in this way. Historic Esfahan mosques displaying such elaborate and stunning decoration include the shah mosque 1629, Janchi mosque 1610, Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque 1618, and the Khaju bridge 1650, constructed with twenty four highly decorated arches constructed under the auspices of Shah Abbas II around 1650. all these wonderful constructions would inevitably have been used as inspiration for the weavers of exceptionally fine Persian Esfahan carpets in classical times and in the finest 20th century revivalist times as is clearly the case in this striking impressive Persian Esfahan carpet. the definition of the pattern details are beautifully drawn artistically and cleverly arranged with the central star woven with intricate floral details surrounded by the blue pendants radiating from small to large, to create a large medallion, each pendant also enclosing extremely detailed flowing floral arabesque scrolls. this large circular medallion overlaid on a formal arrangement of a classical Safavid Persian pattern comprising two tiered meandering scrolling curvilinear vines adorned with beautifully drawn classical palmettes of varying forms supported by similarly technically finely drawn flower heads and leaves, all presented in delicate complementary colours with shades of ochre, pale blue and red detailing, typically seen colours from the 20th century Esfahan palette. The scale of the overall background pattern elements serves to enhance the importance and focus on the central medallion. Normally a broad main border with a complementary floral pattern would be present to frame the main action in the field area, however its absence only serves to enhance further the power and significance of the central medallion.

There is no doubt that the composition of this carpet is an artistic triumph, consistent with the very best of Persian Esfahan carpet workmanship of the 20th century.

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