The knot count is approximately 8V x 7H per cm. sq.
The large silk carpets produced in Heriz towards the end of the 19th century are some of the most spectacular of all Qajar weavings. Woven as special commissions, they would have been seen as one of the most explicit ways of displaying wealth and status. The design of the present lot displays clear influences of the Safavid Kirman ‘Vase’ carpets (for a fuller discussion on ‘Vase’ carpets see lot 100 in the present sale) combined with a typical North West Persian colour palette. Unlike the arrangement of the 'Vase' carpets, the present example employs a design that is mirrored both vertically and horizontally, a device that is also employed by a very closely related silk Tabriz carpet in the Honar Collection (William Robinson & Silke Braeuer, The Honar Collection of Rugs & Carpets, Maidenhead, 2014, no.71, p.62-63) and a contemporaneous silk Heriz carpet offered in Christie’s New York, 15 December 2004, lot 86. A ‘Vase’ carpet that incorporates a comparable palmette and vine lattice field with a Cyprus tree border, as seen in our carpet, is published by Ulrich Schürmann (Oriental Carpets, London, 1968, p.35) and another sold in American Art Association New York, Collection of V. & L. Benguiat, 4-5 December 1925, lot 42 and later in Sotheby’s New York, 15 April 1993, lot 83. This highly decorative border is also seen on a blue ground in a 16th/17th century Southern Persian fragment published by F.R. Martin (A History of Oriental Carpets Before 1800, Vienna, 1908, pl.XX) and on a red ground in an 18th century carpet published by May H. Beattie (Carpets of Central Persia, Sheffield and Birmingham, 1976, no.56, p.81). A Mughal interpretation of this border, with a more organic drawing and complex corner resolution, can be seen on lot 50 in the present sale.