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Victoria and Albert Museum Early Dragon rug, 17th cenury, Safavid Empire, possibly Karabagh, Territory of Gendje /Ganja Beylerbeyi (Province)

Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 170. Acquired in 1906. 11 feet x 6 feet 4 inches (3.35m x 1.93m).
Warp - Two-ply whitish-brown wool; 18 to one inch; on two levels.
Weft - Red-brown wool; two shoots after each row of knots.
Knots - Wool; Ghiordes type; 9 to one inch; 80 to the square inch.
Colours - Seven. Brown-black (field); white (border); medium blue; yellow; crimson-red; light blue; purple.

The design of the present example, and of many others of the group, is based on the scheme of long serrated leaves forming a diamond lattice, with palmettes at the intersections. The highly conventionalised representations of the three chief mythological animals of China, the dragon (ti'en lung), the phoenix (feng huang), and the unicorn (ch'ilin), must have been derived through Iran from the Chinese.

The archaic character of the design has caused it to be thought that the date of this carpet may be as early as the 13th century; but a careful comparison of the materials, colours and condition with those of others of admitted later date seems to make it certain that, however ancient the design may be, the carpet itself was not made earlier than the 17th century.