Hajji Mullah Muhammad Hassan Mohtasham has become one of the best known of all weavers in the field of Persian carpets, despite the fact that there are less than ten known signed rugs and carpets bearing his signature. So strong is his name that even when a carpet of a certain type is signed by another weaver, it is frequently referred to as a "Mohtasham" carpet but another weaver who is unknown. What is even more surprising is that the type of carpet that his name is associated with strongest, such as the present example, is also not known in a signed example. For a discussion about the weaver Mohtasham and his carpets please see Siawosch Azadi, 'The Mark of Mohtasham', HALI, 160, summer 2009, pp.67-73).
Mohtasham wove a number of outstanding carpets in Kashan, working in both wool and silk. The two rugs that bear his name in full are both in silk, yet it is with wool examples that he is now associated. The typical "Mohtasham" carpet is clearly drawn, with a curvilinear design, but with an execution that is somehwat angular. The wool used is the very best kurk wool and the black is heavily corroded. The selvages are woven in purple silk, and have frequently been rebound since silk wears very poorly. These are precisely the characteristics of the present carpet, which is a very well coloured beautifully drawn version of a classic "Mohtasham" carpet. It is not however a weaving typical of the signed examples.
The present carpet, purchased for Indian royalty, was the best that could be found at the time. It is indicative that among the "maharaja" carpets in the Roubeni collection there are hardly any wool carpets. It had to be wool of outstanding quality and superior workmanship for it to be likened to silk.