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AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET
AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET
AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET
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AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET
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Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fill… Read more
AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET

NORTH INDIA, LATE 19TH CENTURY

Details
AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET
NORTH INDIA, LATE 19TH CENTURY
Finely woven on the horizontal, full pile throughout, localised, minor reweaves, the 'STATE DINING ROOM' embroidered on the reverse of two corners and the letter 'H' to the reverse of another
11ft.3in. x 24ft.4in. (344cm. x 741cm.)
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Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square ( ¦ ) not collected from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London SW1Y 6QT by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Crown Fine Art (details below). Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent ofsite. If the lot is transferred to Crown Fine Art, it will be available for collection from 12.00 pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crown Fine Art. All collections from Crown Fine Art will be by prebooked appointment only.
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Brought to you by

Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam
Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam Head of Sale

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Lot Essay

The knot count measures approx. 7V x 8H per cm. sq.

The weaving tradition of these extraordinary large carpets lies in the earlier Mughal court carpet production. Thought to date from the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605) it had continued through the reign of his son Jahangir (r.1605-27) and that of his grandson, Shah Jahan (r.1628-58). The court workshops were commissioned to produce large Durbar, or 'Audience' carpets which were displayed longitudinally before the throne in the palaces of the Emperor. Until around 1630 designs were based upon earlier Persian models but after this point artists were encouraged to develop a greater ‘Indian’ style.

We know of a number of fragments in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (The Joseph Lees William Memorial Collection: 55-65-34) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London with the same pattern of angular leafy vine and flowerheads as the present carpet, that were once part of an impressively large late 17th century Mughal Lahore carpet of lattice design that had reputedly been woven for the Chihil Sutun Palace, Isfahan, (see Charles Grant Ellis, Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1988, No.64, pp.228-235). Chihil Sutun, constructed in 1647, had been a pleasure pavilion built by Shah 'Abbas II (r.1642-66) in the midst of a large park but which had to be rebuilt in 1706 following a major fire. That any fragments remain at all of that carpet is quite remarkable but others have surfaced in the Benguiat sale of 1925, the auction of Alphonse Khan in 1927 and in the S. Haim collection in Istanbul (K. Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London 1970, p.179, fig.224).

By the mid-19th century there was a heightened demand from the new mercantile classes in Victorian England and by 1890 the taste had become so fashionable that Queen Victoria instructed John Lockwood Kipling, father of the poet Rudyard Kipling, to build a State Durbar room at Osborne House. Decorated by the master carver, Bhai Ram Singh, the Durbar room was laid with a room-sized Agra carpet. An Agra of even larger propotions was presented to Queen Victoria as a gift when she became Empress of India for the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. While the present carpet was not part of the decoration of Osborne House or Windsor Castle, we can assume that it had been commissioned for a similarly impressive setting according to the repeated embroidered lettering on the underside, 'The State Dining Room'.

For a fuller discussion of Mughal carpets see Daniel Walker, Flowers Underfoot, Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997, chapter 4.

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