A carpet always fascinated the rich, since the rich alone could afford to own and use these works of art. It was in the golden age of carpet-making, from the 16th century through to the 18th century, when great carpets that adorn the walls of world museums were woven.

The designs on carpets are varied. Images of rulers, both legendary and historic are arrested from the illustrated episodes of Persian epics. Some designs are an allegory of art and nature, while others hum a tradition of chivalry and elegance, known by names reflecting the different eras of Islamic rule.

Ardabil the Hunting carpets, owe its name to the rich display of mounted hunters chasing preys and fighting beasts blending in the arabesqued field. Isfahan pattern gleams with palmettes, rosettes and scrolling vines amidst the central medallion.

Autumn carpets, one of the cultural treasures of Persia etches out a delightful view, reminiscent of the Garden of Paradise.

Carpet production under the Safavid dynasty became a state enterprise, where numerous carpet workshops came up in the precincts of the kingdom. This exercise was taken further in India when the Great Emperor AKBAR, established weaving centers within the palace grounds.

Miniaturised motifs of the 'Tree of life', the density of vines, the dreamy pinks, the pale indigos and soft ivories, scrolling vines in thick columns, floral ambience of cypress trees, continued their march into the hearts of today's connoisseurs as they did into the hearts of great Emperors.

Weaving a Portrait carpet is a consummate expression in knotting, requiring great imagination and memory. To keep track of the millions of threads that go into weaving the innumerable knots is an exceptional skill. Pivotal moments from history, mythology and tales from folklore are skillfully captured in little details of the weave.

A thread of remarkable quality, silk is both luxurious and practical. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it changes hue with the play of light from different angles. At varied times of the day a silk carpet reveals new aspects of design and artistry with every viewing. A soft evening moonlight would burst open the intensity and complexity of the design into an opera of opulence.

Each carpet is a unique masterpiece, ever created to keep ancient traditions alive. To acquire a precious piece, provides a lifetime or more of pleasure, besides becoming a precious heirloom. The artistic achievement of the weave survives even today.


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  © 2011 MIRAJ Islamic Art Centre, Dubai, U.A.E.