The inscription cartouche reads farmayesh-e (commissioned by) Hajji Muhammad Husayn Kashani.
The field design of this carpet is from the same cartoon and with a very similar border as a carpet sold twice in these Rooms, 28 April 1994, lot 567, and then 25 April 2002, lot 150. That carpet was also signed, which was read as "farmayesh-e Hajji Muhammad Hassan (?) Aqa Taher Kashani". The similarity of the name with that of Hajji Mulla Muhammad Hassan Mohtasham makes for a tempting conclusion. The inscription on our carpet, which must refer to the same man, makes it clear that the name tentatively read as Hassan in the previous carpet is in fact Husayn, and therefore it cannot be an early signed Mohtasham.
The fact that it was commissioned for a Kashan merchant of whom there appears to be no record in no way takes away from the exquisite design and colouring of this carpet. Its field design is very close to later 18th century Khorassan carpets, such as a fragment sold in these Rooms from the Bernheimer Family Collection of Carpets, 14 February 1996, lot 180. The design had a revival of interest in the 19th century and appears in Bakhtiari carpets as well as a Fereghan example (Sotheby's, New York, 1 June 2006, lot 210). It is however the drawing, colouring and spacing of this near-pair of carpets woven for Hajji Muhammad Husayn Kashani that really stand out as the best that one could hope to find from a 19th century Kashan carpet, woven with the technical features that have come to be associated with the elusive weaver Mohtashem.