The royal weaving workshops established by Shah Abbas (1587-1629) in the capital city of Isfahan were incredibly prolific, creating carpets of the finest quality for the demanding European export market, as well as for the Persian nobility. This lot exemplifies the classic prototype of an iconic claret field, undulating vinery and cloud bands, all within a deep indigo border.
Two similar examples were sold in these rooms with strikingly similar designs (Christie's New York, 24 November 2009, lot 321 and Property from the Detroit Institute of Arts; Christie's New York, 20 April 2010, lot 203). All three have designs that center a small flower head around which four diagonally matched small palmettes and then two pairs of facing larger palmettes radiate. Filling out the field are symmetrically placed and delicate cloud bands, spiraling tendrils and rosettes that allow the central motif to come forward. The layering of and juxtaposition of the spiraling vines and perfectly balanced palmettes, both in color and size, create a sophisticated and dynamic composition. However, the strong and static border of alternating palmettes contains and frames the energy of the field exemplifying the brilliance of the red-ground Safavid Isfahan group.