The soft kurk wool and rich colour palette of the present lot are typical characteristics of a group of high quality Kashan carpets that are widely acknowledged as having been woven by, or were produced in the workshops of, Hajji Mollah Mohammed Hassan Mohtasham. Mohtasham was generally regarded as being one of a handful of master weavers who helped re-establish Kashan as an important weaving centre in Persia at the end of the 19th century (Adil Besim, Mythos und Mystik, Alte und Antike Textilkunst, vol.3, Vienna, 2000, no.49).
The weave of this particular carpet is much finer and more compact than most. Those produced in the latter years of the 19th century tend to have a denser pile and heavier weight, and are quite unlike the thin and light-weight handle of the present lot, which suggest that this was an earlier production. In his article, Ian Bennett ('Myth of Mohtasham', Hali, issue 35, pp.44-49), discusses at length the reasons as to why he believes 'Mohtasham' carpets were produced at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, based on a number of mainly technical elements, including wool quality, design, colour and style. This theory is further supported by a carpet that sold in these Rooms, 10 April 2008, lot 208, which was inscribed as having been woven in the workshop 'Mohtasham' and which was dated AH 1322/1904 AD. Despite Bennett's research and the evidence of existing woven and dated material, it is difficult not to agree with Herrmann, (op cit. p.45) that the present carpet was woven during the first half of the nineteenth century.