• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 2203

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe Including Carpets from The Corcoran Gallery of Art

    24 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 30



    Price Realised  


    Central Persia, 17th Century
    Approximately 25 ft. 11 in. (790 cm.) x 10 ft. 3 in. (312 cm.)

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    One of only seven known Isfahan 'strapwork' carpets, this example highlights a multi-layer effect of a traditional claret blossom-filled field that is punctuated by a sculpted indigo arabesque. The strapwork forms graceful curves, cusps and trefoils and is overlaid with blossoming vinery, adding to the intricacy of the design.

    Among this group of seven, the other six are: the Jaipur carpet in the Nasser D. Khalili collection in London, the Tabbagh Gallery carpet in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, the Emery carpet in the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Vitall Benguiat carpet whose whereabouts is unknown, the first Bijapur carpet in Asar Mahal, Bijapur and lastly, the second Bijapur carpet in the Bijapur Archaeological Museum.

    In his article on Isfahan strapwork carpets (I. Bennett, Isfahan 'Strapwork Carpets', Hali, Issue 41, September/October 1988, pp. 35-43), Ian Bennett relates the field design of the Corcoran example most closely with the Bijapur and Tabbagh carpets. The palmette and leaf bracket motif found in the main border of our example is closely related to the main border of the Jaipur and Emery carpets (Bennett p. 40).

    It may not be a coincidence that Vitall Benguiat is associated with two of these seven-known Isfahan strapwork carpets. As a trusted dealer and advisor to Clark, Benguiat sold the Senator this carpet sometime at the beginning of the 20th century. It was featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 1910 exhibition of Early Oriental Rugs as an example of this magnificent group.


    Convent of Saint Anthony, Lisbon, Portugal.
    Acquired from Vitall Benguiat, New York.
    William A. Clark, New York.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to Benefit the Acquisition Fund


    W.R. Valentiner, Exhibition catalogue, Loan Exhibition of Early Oriental Rugs, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1910, p. 50, no. 41.
    Illustrated Handbook of The W.A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1928, p. 73.
    'Carpets for the Great Shah', The Corcoran Gallery of Art Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 1, October 1948, p. 20, no. P28, Ill. III.
    K. Erdmann, Der Orientalische Knüpfteppich, Tübingen, 1955, fig. 76.
    K. Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, Berkeley, 1970, p. 121.
    M.S. Dimand, J. Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, p. 86, fig. 118.
    R. Ettinghausen, 'Oriental Carpets in the Clark Collection', The William A. Clark Collection, Washington, D.C., 1978, p. 85.
    I. Bennett, "Isfahan 'Strapwork' Carpets", Hali, Issue 41, September/October 1988, pp. 35-43.


    New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Loan Exhibition of Early Oriental Rugs, November 1910-January 1911, no. 41.
    Washington D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Carpets for the Great Shah, 3 October-16 November 1948, no. P28.