The inscription reads;
'Farmayesh-e (ordered by) Sardar Asad, Farmanfarma, (Governor) of Kirman and Belouchistan'
The cartoon for this carpet is taken directly from a Louis XIV Gobelins tapestry from the series 'Les Sujets de la Fable' after the drawings by Raphael. Depicting 'La Danse d'une nymphe, de la droite', the festive and tambourine-playing putti is set within a flowering landscape, which is embellished in the Roman fashion with a bacchic 'krater' flower-vase, while its guardian deity Pomona is courted by Vertumnus in the guise of a faun playing the pipes of the fertility deity Pan.
A copy of this tapestry hung in the Public Rooms of Nasir al'Din Shah Qajar (1848-1898) at the Golestan Palace. This tapestry must have been the inspiration for the series of Kirman carpets using this design.
The son of Hajji 'Aliqoli Kahn Sardar Asad, military commander who helped revive the aborted movement for a constitutional government in Iran and strong promoter of education and European culture, Ja'farqoli Khan Sardar inherited his father's title upon his death on 23 October 1917. He also gained the title of Farmanfarma, when he was appointed the position in Kirman from 1919-20. Shortly after this he was appointed Governor of Khorassan. Therefore, even without an exact date in the signature cartouche on the present lot, we can be fairly certain that the carpet was produced during his term as governor of Kirman in 1919-20.(Encyclopaedia Iranica, New York 2000, III, p.543-549). A contemporary photograph capturing a number of the Khans, including, Ja'faqoli Khan is illustrated, Hali, 44, April 1989, p.23.
It would appear that his father's ties with the United Kingdom and his interest in European art and culture remained with his son, and are reflected in both the subject matter of the present carpet, as well as in another commissioned by the same patron, sold Sotheby's, London, 24 April 1991, lot 205, whose design is taken from an 18th century painting by Watteau.