This wonderfully unusual Karabagh kelleh is highlighted as having been one of the jewels in the 'Gardens of Paradise' exhibition held by Gallery Zadeh, London, October 1989, (Hali, October 1989, Issue 47, p.101). The rich blue ground serves as the perfect background to off set the wonderful variety of kaleidoscopic colours within the Harshang design which have remained so well preserved considering its age. For a fuller discussion and related examples of carpets of the Harshang design, please see the note to lot 58 in this sale.
The most unusual feature of this carpet however, is the off centre medallion that appears to float across the surface in a somewhat arbitrary manner. In the second half of the eighteenth century the court style in Persia moved towards overall repeating designs without the structure seen on earlier examples. A portrait of Nadir Shah (reigned 1739-49) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, shows him seated on a carpet whose overall design is superimposed by a small central cusped medallion (Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies, vol.3, part 1, p.42, pl.1). The earliest examples of this version appear to have been woven in Khorassan and were rapidly adopted through the north west of the country. A closely related kelleh with an off-centre medallion of irregular form, once with A & A Oriental Carpets, is illustrated in Hali, Summer 2010, Issue 165, p.86.) A similar example but with a herati pattern field and without the same idiosyncratic charm as the present carpet, formerly in the James D. Burns Collection, sold in these Rooms, 18 October 2001, lot 249.