Description of Design and History
The silk Tabriz group represented by this important example comprises the earliest type of Persian workshop silk carpets to survive in significant numbers from the Qajar period. In this general character and field approach, the piece belongs to the first period of the style, and might feasibly derive from the first quarter of the century. Its exceptional state of preservation alone separates it from those silk carpets of similar size, coloring and powerfully archaic appearance that are palpably older than any other Tabriz products, whether in wool or silk, of the 19th century.
The central design possesses that energetic, almost barbaric, mode of expression common to this silk Tabriz group, with the eight “floating” foliate palmettes establishing the main effect in their free-form construction. These devices are suspended from an ivory ribbon-lattice, producing an underlying medallion and tendril-scroll composition, against the rich golden ground. Various heavily foliated secondary ornaments contribute to the somewhat ghostly fecundity of the field. The deep blue primary border and five guard borders, all save the outer carrying dense vegetal and floral arrangements, provide an imposing setting for the central panel.