The carpets of Isfahan were produced in great quantities for both the local market and for export to Europe from the end of the 16th century until the second half of the 18th century, as there was continuous demand for the classic ruby-red grounds with their spiralling tendrils and flowering palmettes. Yet within the group there were a number of variations.
The present lot, although smaller than some, has a powerful scale of drawing with a balanced geometry formed by the strong vertical axis highlighted by the ivory stylised cloudbands and the set of three paired palmettes that run along this axis, much like a central back-bone. The design works on a number of planes through the use of colour and scale. The first and most recessed plane is the mere hint of pale blue scrolling vine which drifts in the background. The second plane of ivory flowering vine has more energy in its scrolling form as it dances around the third and final plane of paired sets of in-and-out palmettes set on the horizontal and connected by waves of stylised cloudbands. A carpet with a similar multi-planed field but with a different border and considerably more worn is the Benguiat spiral-vine carpet in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, pp.108-9, cat no.23.
Warp: Cotton, natural ivory, Z4S
Weft: Cotton, natural ivory, Z2S, 2-3 shoots
Piile: Wool, assymetric knot, open to the left
Density: 5H x 6V per cm. sq.
Colours: Burgundy, rose, deep blue, medium blue, light blue, blue-green, bottle-green, light green, ochre, yellow, ivory, walnut (12)