The inscription is somewhat indecipherable but what can be read is as follows;
… sahib-qiran shah ‘abbas (?) …. bandeh-ye dargah … 1027
“… Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction Shah ‘Abbas (?) … slave of the court … 1027(1617-18).”
The inscription must have been copied from an imperial inscription by an illiterate artisan in the 19th century.
Double-sided rugs are highly unusual with very little documented material published on them and with few examples ever appearing at auction. On one side the design of the present rug shows a large scalloped, lobed medallion with a fan-shaped cresting above, resting on what appears to be an urn-like base below. The reverse bears a somewhat angular interpretation of a Safavid ‘Vase’ design with a two-plane lattice of linked palmettes and flowering vines framed by flowering prunus trees. Both sides use the same palette of rich golden-yellow, rust-orange and corn-flower blue but within two different designs. The two sides of a smaller double-sided silk Heriz rug, sold in Sotheby’s London, The Toms Collection: Oriental and European Rugs and Carpets Volume II, 7 June 1995, lot 46, each have the same overall design but differ in colour. A third example, a double-sided silk rug, this time from Kashan, sold with Sotheby’s New York, 1 June 2006, lot 26. It shows two prayer niches in the field which are loosely related to each other in terms of the basic architecture but differ in design and have very different border designs and colour palettes. Later examples of double-sided rugs were more often woven in wool. There is no published example which is made in both wool and silk.