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A NORTH WEST PERSIAN KELLEH
A NORTH WEST PERSIAN KELLEH

LATE 18TH CENTURY

Details
A NORTH WEST PERSIAN KELLEH
LATE 18TH CENTURY
A couple of reweaves and scattered repiling, partially rewoven along all four sides
12ft.2in. x 6ft.1in. (370cm. x 184cm.)

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Jason French
Jason French

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Lot Essay

The field design of this striking yellow-ground kelleh echoes earlier Persian Safavid ‘Vase’ carpets of the 16th and 17th centuries, as seen in lot 100 of this sale, but which has since moved away from the early sinuous style of drawing towards a much more angular interpretation. There is evidence however of an early production of palmette lattice designs that are closer in drawing to the present lot as seen in the ‘Sphuler Lattice carpet with Tulips and Leaves’, that is in the Orient Star collection, dated to the 16th or 17th centuries, (E. Heinrich Kircheim et al., Orient Stars: A Carpet Collection, London 1993, pl.63, pp.128-9). Likely woven in Khorasan, east Persia defined by its jufti-knotted pile on cotton foundation, that carpet has a series of linked ascending palmettes enclosed within paired sickle leaves and a lozenge lattice on a golden yellow ground. The same bold angular palmettes and geometric lattice, are found on a group of 18th century carpets produced in the Karabagh region of the South Caucasus. The serrated drawing of the palmettes in our lot is similar to two lots in the Textile Museum, dated by Charles Grant Ellis to the 18th or early 19th century, which have similar bold drawing and spacing, (Charles Grant Ellis, Early Caucasian Rugs, Washington, 1975, pls.19 & 20). Plate 19 is woven on an unusual red ground while plate 20 is woven on a lighter cornflower blue field. Both colours, like the bold yellow ground of the present lot, are much less common than the more frequently encountered indigo ground colour. A paler yellow ground carpet with a similar overall palmette repeat lattice but with more angular drawing was gifted by James V. McMullan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Joseph V. McMullan, Islamic Carpets, New York, 1965, pl.44, pp.182-3). That carpet has a border which can be seen more frequently in North West Persian Medallion carpets of the 16th and 17th centuries. The archaic style border of hooked angular palmettes on our kelleh is made even more eye catching by the juxtaposed ivory and navy blue palette with a ruby-red outline. Typically found on rugs woven in the Kuba region, an almost identical border design on a black ground can be seen on a smaller Kuba fragment, lot 17, in the present sale.

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