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Antique Tabriz rug, Azerbaijan, NW Iran, 1880s


Sotheby's Sale: N08503 | Location: New York
Auction Dates: Session 2: Tue, 25 Nov 08 2:00 PM

LOT 300 (of 147)
A TABRIZ SILK CARPET, NORTHWEST PERSIA,
circa 1880

500,000700,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS: approximately 20ft. 1in. by 13ft. (6.12 by 3.96m.)

original end finishes

TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
Warp: silk, Z2S, natural ivory

Weft: silk, 2Z, red and natural ivory, 2 shoots

Pile: silk, asymmetrical knot open to the right

Density: 23-24 horizontal, 25-27 vertical

Sides: 4 warp cords overcast in copper red silk

Ends: ivory kilim with tied warp fringes

Colors: vermillion, dusty rose, golden rod, light apricot, teal, royal blue, green-blue, sage, ivory


CATALOGUE NOTE
Weavers in the city of Tabriz were among the most versatile craftsmen in Persia who were able to adapt to the perpetually-changing markets of the late nineteenth century, when western interest in Persian carpets had dramatically increased. Tabrizi weavers were able to easily understand and produce what domestic and foreign customers wanted, which made Tabriz one of the most important weaving centers catering to foreigners in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, when most of the city's carpet industry was controlled by German firms, see Murray L. Eiland Jr. and Murray Eiland III, Oriental Carpets, London, 1998, p. 89. To satisfy the increased demand, carpets in Tabriz were woven in every size and shape, with different color palettes and designs and employing wool, cotton and silk. Carpets with both rectangular and curvilinear designs were produced in Tabriz and it is impossible to associate weavings from the city with one particular look or color scheme. However, no matter how creative weavers became with shapes, motifs and color, they always produced precisely drawn and carefully executed pieces. Among the rarest pieces woven in Tabriz are large silk carpets that were most often made as special commissions due to the expense of this luxurious material. Silk carpets from Tabriz are always very closely sheared and exceptionally pliable, and have very sophisticated and intricate, often more traditional, designs than their woolen counterparts. With its centralized composition in the field displaying a complex variant of the 'Vase' design, the lot offered here is a superlative example of a large silk carpet from Tabriz. The Safavid-inspired field design is framed by a border incorporating a selection of smaller panels recalling prayer rugs. Many of the niches include plants and flowering shrubs that link the present carpet to seventeenth and eighteenth-century garden carpets. This revived interest in Safavid art is a characteristic of the late Qajar era at the end of the nineteenth century. As the Qajar Dynasty (1794-1925) was in decline, recalling the glorious Persian past, often instigated by the curiosity of Europeans traveling in the area, was common among local artists and craftsmen. Unlike the design, the color palette of the carpet offered here is more unusual as the use of such mellow and soft colors with gentle juxtapositions was not in fashion at the time, when saturated hues and bold contrasts were used by most weavers. The very high quality of craftsmanship, the emblematic design executed in unusual colors, along with the delicate material preserved in its virtually original condition and the large size make the carpet offered here a testament to the excellence of Qajar-era carpet weaving.



TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
Warp: silk, Z2S, natural ivory

Weft: silk, 2Z, red and natural ivory, 2 shoots

Pile: silk, asymmetrical knot open to the right

Density: 23-24 horizontal, 25-27 vertical

Sides: 4 warp cords overcast in copper red silk

Ends: ivory kilim with tied warp fringes

Colors: vermillion, dusty rose, golden rod, light apricot, teal, royal blue, green-blue, sage, ivory


CATALOGUE NOTE
Weavers in the city of Tabriz were among the most versatile craftsmen in Persia who were able to adapt to the perpetually-changing markets of the late nineteenth century, when western interest in Persian carpets had dramatically increased. Tabrizi weavers were able to easily understand and produce what domestic and foreign customers wanted, which made Tabriz one of the most important weaving centers catering to foreigners in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, when most of the city's carpet industry was controlled by German firms, see Murray L. Eiland Jr. and Murray Eiland III, Oriental Carpets, London, 1998, p. 89. To satisfy the increased demand, carpets in Tabriz were woven in every size and shape, with different color palettes and designs and employing wool, cotton and silk. Carpets with both rectangular and curvilinear designs were produced in Tabriz and it is impossible to associate weavings from the city with one particular look or color scheme. However, no matter how creative weavers became with shapes, motifs and color, they always produced precisely drawn and carefully executed pieces. Among the rarest pieces woven in Tabriz are large silk carpets that were most often made as special commissions due to the expense of this luxurious material. Silk carpets from Tabriz are always very closely sheared and exceptionally pliable, and have very sophisticated and intricate, often more traditional, designs than their woolen counterparts. With its centralized composition in the field displaying a complex variant of the 'Vase' design, the lot offered here is a superlative example of a large silk carpet from Tabriz. The Safavid-inspired field design is framed by a border incorporating a selection of smaller panels recalling prayer rugs. Many of the niches include plants and flowering shrubs that link the present carpet to seventeenth and eighteenth-century garden carpets. This revived interest in Safavid art is a characteristic of the late Qajar era at the end of the nineteenth century. As the Qajar Dynasty (1794-1925) was in decline, recalling the glorious Persian past, often instigated by the curiosity of Europeans traveling in the area, was common among local artists and craftsmen. Unlike the design, the color palette of the carpet offered here is more unusual as the use of such mellow and soft colors with gentle juxtapositions was not in fashion at the time, when saturated hues and bold contrasts were used by most weavers. The very high quality of craftsmanship, the emblematic design executed in unusual colors, along with the delicate material preserved in its virtually original condition and the large size make the carpet offered here a testament to the excellence of Qajar-era carpet weaving.