Mughal summer carpets were used in the peripatetic Mughal court as floor coverings in royal tents upon which affairs of state were conducted and dignitaries were received. Large ones, such as that offered here, are rare.
The large border of repeating pietra dura-like cartouches closely resembles decoration found on the ceilings of the Aramgah as well as on the carved marble dados of the Diwan-i-'am (public audience hall) of the Red Fort in Delhi. Similar quatrefoil cartouches are also found in the borders of 17th century Mughal carpets. One such carpet with similar cartouches bordered by floral guard borders like that of the textile offered here, is in a private collection - attributed to Northern India, Kashmir or Lahore in the second half of the 17th century (Daniel Walker, Flowers Underfoot. Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1997, fig. 114, p.116). The guard borders with 'wind-blown' floral motifs resemble those on a pashmina carpet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (14.40.723, Walker, op.cit., fig.109, pp.110-111). That carpet is again attributed to Northern India, Kashmir or Lahore, circa 1650. A Mughal summer carpet was sold at Christie's South Kensington as part of the Robert Kime sale, 27 October 2010, lot 304. Another example, with similarly dense and colourful design is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (John Guy and Deborah Swallow, Arts of India: 1550-1900, London, 1990, no.86, p.105).