• Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction at Christies

    Sale 11939

    Oriental Rugs and Carpets

    18 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 116




    Embroidered in two panels onto a polychrome cotton checked ground, lightly corroded light brown, a couple of small holes, overall very good condition
    6ft.5in. x 4ft.1in. (195cm. x 123cm.)

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    The design layout of our embroidery shows a strong influence from earlier Safavid Persian silk kilims which were woven for the court from the end of the 16th century. The scalloped, lobed central medallion depicting an animal combat group with a lion sinking his teeth into a cow, the outward facing paired birds above and below the central medallion and the animal cartouche border of our embroidery, are extremely similar in layout to a 17th century Kashan kilim in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin (K. Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, pl.V, facing p.92). Further kilims can be found in the Textile Museum Washington, published Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, London 1939, pl.1267A; Metropolitan Museum of Art, published M.S. Dimand and J. Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, no.26, pp.105-1066, fig.93 and the closely related Doistau kilim in the Louvre, published Pope, ibid, pl.1262. These have been called the 'Padishah' group since the Berlin kilim has cartouches inscribed with this word which has been taken to indicate that it was made for the Shah. Jennifer Wearden discusses three embroideries whose designs very clearly derive from Safavid textiles (J. Wearden, 'A Synthesis of Contrasts', Hali, vol.59, pp.106-107, pls.8, 9 and 10), dating those to the first quarter of the 18th century. Our embroidery, both in terms of drawing and in terms of the iconography, is one stage further removed from the high-period Safavid textile designs than those.

    Two different techniques were employed in these embroideries, the cross-stitch and a diagonal long or running-stitch; ours uses the latter (Jennifer Wearden, "A Synthesis of Contrasts", Hali, vol.59, pp.102-111). Due to the nature of cross-stitch, the designs using that method often followed a geometric pattern of angular form (Christie's London, Battilossi Tappeti d'antiquariato, 11 February 1998, lot 81). The running-stitch however allows for softer, more fluid forms as seen in the naturalistic representation of the animals, birds, flowers and scrolling arabesque vine in the present lot. The same fluidity can be seen in an early 18th century example in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv.no.192-1989). Wearden discusses the various techniques and how designs were transferred and employed. Often the design was imprinted onto the cotton foundation with the aid of a resin or non-fast dye on a blue and white or black and white gingham-checked material ground. It would seem likely that the reasoning behind this was to serve as an alternative source of guidance. The weaver frequently worked from a squared chart upon which the design was drawn, against which they would have been able to match their work. This particular material is not discussed by Wearden but is found on a number of other related examples (E. Heinrich Kirchheim et al., Orient Stars, A Carpet Collection, Stuttgart and London, 1993, pp.68-69, pl.42; Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs, Braunschweig, 1961, pp.350-1, pl.138; Christie's London, 6 April 2006, lot 107; Christie's London 25 October 2007, lot 56, Sotheby's New York, 31 January 2014, lot 13 and Christie's London, 6 October 2015, lot 101).

    The present embroidery differs from the other examples cited in that various elements of the design have been sewn together in a quilt-like fashion, embroidered upon a number of different coloured gingham-checked grounds.

    Special Notice

    These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. This VAT is not shown separately on the invoice. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
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    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the inventory number for the Victoria and Albert Museum example is incorrect in the printed catalogue and should read 'inv.no.192-1898'