The second most popular overall design for the field of medallion carpets of the Safavid period, as noted under lot 217, was that of cloudbands. Three great examples which have survived date from the early 16th century, in Paris (Pope, Arthur Upham: A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pl.1155), New York (Dimand, M.S. and Mailey, Jean: Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, 1973, no.3, p.96, fig.63, p.42.) and in the Bardini Museum, Florence (HALI 39, May/June 1988, pp.14-15).
The present example has a slightly simplified design when compared to the others. It also has considerably brighter colours and a softer fleecier wool. The technical analysis reveals some unusual features, including the irregular knotting and the five-ply warps. The combination of some of these features might indicate an East Persian origin. The soft wool, bright colours and almost jufti knotting would be consistent with a Khorassani attribution. However the different coloured wefts seen clearly showing through here are not normally encountered there, and the 5 ply warps are certainly not normal.
The drawing style and colouring are similar to those on a pair of Persian medallion carpets, one of which is in the Keir Collection (Spuhler, F.: Islamic Carpets and Textiles in the Keir Collection, London, 1978, pp.89-90 and cover illustration) and in the M.H.de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco (Pope, Arthur Upham: Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Early Oriental Carpets, Chicago, 1926, no.4). These are attributed by Spuhler to Persian Kurdistan. This is the area around Tabriz where the design was first created. It would also better explain the different coloured wefts, maroon being the colour of the wefts in the Keir piece, while in some of the Kurdish North West Persian Garden Carpets very high ply warps are encountered (The Bernheimer Family Collection of Carpets, Christie's, London, 14 February 1986, lots 121).