Lot 63
  • 63

A Khorossan carpet fragment, Northeast Persia

7,000 - 10,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • wool pile
  • overall dimensions of fragment approximately 249 by 68cm; 8ft. 2in., 2ft. 3in.


acquired from Eskenazi Ltd, London, 1984


Bennett, I., 'The Alexander Collection: Part II A carpet is a Picture of God', Hali, April/May 1994, issue 74, p. 93, fig. 10. Alexander, C., A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art The Color and Geometry of Very Early Turkish Carpets, New York, 1993, pp. 238 - 239, ill pp. 13 (detail) & 239.

Eskenazi. J., Il tappeto orientale dal XV al XVIII secolo, London, 1982, pp. 28, tavaola. 46.


McMullan, Joseph, Islamic Carpets, New York, 1965, pp. 164 – 172, plate. 41

Catalogue Note

The immediate vibrancy of this fragment is staggering, so much so that Alexander places it as early as at least late 14th century due to the spectacular colouring and Ian Bennett singles it out in his article, op cit, p. 93. Alexander cites the Tabriz carpet  which he believes to be a century later than the offered lot but ‘is readily’ accepted as 15th century. See Alexander, op cit, p. 121, Sotheby’s London, 7 November 2017, lot 78, catalogued as 16th century. He however owns that there are others, Eskenazi included, who assign it as 17th century and so within the chronological ordering of the book it appears later than the Tabriz– Alexander, ibid, p. 239 and Eskenzi, op cit, pp. 46 & 47. Faced with the other works within the Alexander Collection it should be somewhat acknowledged that dating becomes both complicated and less relevant, than perhaps with other works, with these extraordinary unusual and colourful pieces. With this in mind we have catalogued it as 17th century, in keeping with contemporaneous viewpoints and ascribed Khorossan as the weaving centre in accordance with the jufti knotting, but do acknowledge this fragment could be older than this dating. There is a companion piece, almost certainly from the same carpet, recorded in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities and both discussed and corroborated by Ian Bennett, op cit, pp. 93 & 94 and pictured Eskenazi, op cit, p. 47, fig. 3. In 2006 Daniel Walker discussed the Khorossan group in further depth in his review of the Textile Museum exhibition ‘Pieces of a Puzzle: Classical Persian Carpet Fragments’ and cites a number of examples. Three of which, at that time, were in private collections and share some similar motifs and colours to the present lot; notably the red outlining to the motifs and the vibrant white ‘hand-like’ palmettes, see Walker. D., ‘Carpets of Khorasan’ Hali, November –December 2006, issue 149. pp. 72 - 77, figs. 5, 7 & 8.

Perhaps the most compelling of comparisons is the so called ‘Niğde Carpet’ formerly in the McMullan collection and now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, figs 1 & 2. This carpet was initially catalogued as Caucasian, see McMullan, J., Islamic Carpets, New York, 1965, pp. 164 – 172, plate. 41, but now is attributed to Northwest Persia, accession no 56.217. Under inspection the ‘Niğde’ becomes more symbiotic with the present lot: in the use of white ‘hand-like’ palmettes, field rosettes, saz leaf design, bright yellows and blues, the red cloudbands encapsulated in a lozenge with outline centred by open rosettes. The design layout of these works is near identical and it is possible that they were drawn from the same cartoon even though their border designs are entirely different.