This beautiful rug is one whose colour, border design and structure enable it to be attributed to Lahore. The design of the field however is most unusual and appears to be unparalelled in the carpet literature. The origin for this design is difficult to trace, certainly in the combination of elements seen here. It nevertheless is such that it is surprising that it was not repeated.
The stellar flowerheads which form the main elements of the field are similar to those which form the centres of North West Persian medallion carpets (see lot 217). But here the design has been abstracted and then repeated across the entire field. While discussing the origins of Turkman carpet designs, Jon Thompson points out the influence from Chinese cloud-collar designs which are "in 16th century carpets...placed in the centre of the field to mark a place of special importance" (Thompson, Jon and Mackie, Louise: 'Turkmen Carpet Weavings' in Turkmen Tribal Carpets and Traditions, Washington D.C., 1980, pp.61-62). Thompson goes on to say "the Turkmen displaced the cloud collar design from its dominant central position, reduced it in size, arranged it in rows and turned it into guls". This appears to be exactly what has happened here. Even the lattice of small linked flowerheads surrounding the rosettes finds a link with Chodor Turkman weavings. Is it fanciful to think that here is some, probably subconscious, instinct on the part of the designer of this carpet, harking back to the central Asian origin of which, of course, the Mughals (Mongols) were proud?
The border of flowering vine and palmettes is very similar indeed to that of the Girdlers Carpet, owned by the Girdlers Co. of London which has a definitive date of manufacture of 1630-1634 (Walker, Daniel: Flowers Underfoot, Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era, New York, 1997, pp. 68-69, fig.62). This enables us to be confident in dating this carpet to the second quarter of the seventeenth century.