Paulette Goddard Remarque, purchased from her estate in 1993
Christie's London, 27 April 1995, lot 574
Hali, vol. 1, Winter 1978, advertising section p. 7. (The Textile Gallery)
Hali, vol. 81, June/July 1995, p. 119
The attribution of this carpet to the Northeast Persian town of Khorossan comes from the extensive jufti knotting used throughout the piece. For more information on jufti knotting, see Michael Franses, "The Caucasus or North East Persia, A Question of Attribution" in Heinrich Kirchheim, Orient Stars, Stuttgart, 1993, pp. 94-100. Using this basic premise, a corpus of carpets of thirteen various design groups can be assembled, all of which share a number of similarities, such as the strikingly vivid and saturated color palette incorporating deep greens and brilliant reds and the appearance of strong and frequent diagonal lines within the design that is facilitated by the jufti knot being woven on alternating warps rather than in the usual vertical lines. The lot offered here appears to have a rather elusive design as its field populated by floating mihrab panels does not compare closely to other saphs made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Only one other example of this design is known today after appearing in a sales catalogue of the Parisian auction house Drouot, where it was erroneously designated as Mughal, but was subsequently withdrawn from the sale. The border of the saph offered here with its less curvilinear and more angular drawing, however, is comparable to that of contemporaneous Isphahan carpets, such as the one illustrated John J. Eskenazi, Il Tappeto Orientale dal XV al XVIII Secolo, London, 1981, no. 31, with which this carpet also shares the same inner border and the jufti knotting. This carpet has been reduced along the right side and it is most probable that two fragments known are from the removed section, see, Eberhart Herrmann, Asiatische Teppiche-und Textilkunst, vol. 1, 1989, no. 72 and B. W. Robinson, et al., Islamic Art in the Keir Collection, London, 1988, no. T30, p. 82. The saph offered here was certainly woven for a specific commission as the original indentation in the lower right corner indicates. As suggested in Hali, June/July 1995, p.119, it was very likely produced for a small private mosque.
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