By the mid sixteenth century Safavid Persia had accomplished a level of high sophistication in design and technique not only in carpets but also in architecture, bookbinding and manuscripts. The export of this energetic explosion of design was vastly speeded up when Shah Tahmasp became more overtly devoted to religion and as a result closed many of the royal design ateliers. Persian artists who went to India brought with them their acquired skills and workshop experience. Carpets under the Mughals in India therefore derived their designs heavily from those of Persia, to some extent copying extant Persian carpet designs, but also adapting the complex designs shown in book illustrations using curvilinear drawing techniques together with figural forms (Walker, D.: Flowers Underfoot, Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era, New York, 1997, p.29).
The field design of the present carpet consists of three repeats of a relatively dense pattern unit containing scrolling vine and blossom motifs radiating from a cusped medallion. The general design shows a density of detail typical of carpets woven in the first third of the seventeenth century. The repeating medallions along its length are however a very rare Mughal feature. Single medallions overlaying 'in and out' scrolling floral designs influnced by the carpets of Isfahan are known (see Walker, op.cit, fig.56; Christie's London, 15 October 1998, lot 297; and Sotheby's New York, 15 April 1998, lot 238). The present arrangement, its basic structure far closer to Ottoman than Safavid carpets, is most unusual. The border, with its elaborate interlocking compartment design copied almost directly from Safavid carpets is one of the most popular of the period. Related examples are found in a number of carpets dateable to the 1620s (Walker, D.: op.cit., figs.54, 56 and 64; and Christie's, London, 3 May 2001, lot 122)