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Safavid "Garden" rug, NW Iran, first half 17th century (1622-32). Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur
The 'Garden Carpet' displayed at Albert Hall is the oldest and most refined of all such garden carpets existing in the world. It's place of origin is believed to be Kirman in Iran, a great carpet making centre in the early part of the 17th century. It was purchased in the time of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I in 1632 A.D.
The carpet depicts a formal Persian garden, divided by streams into four main garden sections. These are further subdivided into two or more sections with smaller garden plots. The four main sections are around the central tank with a high pavilion. The pavilion has a blue dome and richly decorated interior with a throne, from which the Emperor could enjoy a view of the splendid garden.
The garden and orchards within are supplied with water from the central tank, with two big ponds on either side of it by the main channel. The channel motif appears to have been inspired by the system introduced by Shah Abbas the Great (1526-1628) in and around his capital. It was known as the 'Isfahan Channel System'.
The central tank as picturised, shows fish, duck, turtles and some fabulous Chinese animals. Ferocious beasts appear to break the serenity and peace of the garden when a stag-kylon is cought in the jaw of a lion-kylon. Other ferocious animals include a Chinese monster and a fabulous dragon devouring a fish. As every animal is preying upon another the fish too turn aggressive biting stags and birds. Avenues and orchards of flowering and fruit laden trees adorn the channels and plots, full of birds on the ground, in the air and in nests.
While the ground colour of the avenues and much of the carpet is red, the groups of square garden plots around the central tank are in five colours. The group of four garden plots at the top and bottom are in four colours.
The chequework of varied coloured plots is a unique feature of the carpet and contribute to its incomparable magnificence.
The warps are of cotton knotted fourfold, while the weft threads are brown wool and silk knotted twofold. The carpet is 28'4”x12'4” in size.
Accession . No. add/P/681/2225