This elegant prayer rug has a design that is clearly derived from Mughal millefleurs niche rugs, of which about a dozen examples are known. These rugs were most likely produced in Kashmir in the second half of the eighteenth century (Daniel Walker, Flowers Underfoot, New York, 1997, p.129). India and Persia were closely linked in this period and an increasingly strong Indian stylistic influence can be seen in all the arts of Persia, so it is not surprising that local versions of Mughal carpets began to appear relatively quickly. For a related example with an identical border, closer to the Mughal prototypes, see Jim Burns's Visions of Nature, the Antique Weavings of Persia, no.56, p.173. In the present example's more graceful and fully realized design, the trees at each side have been brought into the field, and rather than framing a small vase at the center, they frame a larger central cypress flanked by peacocks: a Persian symbol of divine protection. A similar carpet, without the central cypress tree, was bought in Kirman by Miss Ella Sykes, sister of Sir Percy Sykes, in 1895, and was probably already old (May H. Beattie, Carpet of Central Persia, exhibition catalog, Sheffield and Birmingham, 1976, no. 59, p.83). For an almost identical carpet, see Sotheby's New York, 19 May 1984, lot 167 (cover lot).