A Kashan Pictorial Silk Rug 1850's
Anton Felton, Jewish Carpets, Suffolk, 1997, no. 1 pp. 58-60 (illustrated)
Ross Dunn, A World History, McDougal, Little & Co., 1988, p. 71
Werner Daum, Die Konigin Von Saba, Belser Verlag, 1988, p. 121
Abba Eban, Heritage, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1984, p. 43
"Splendours of the Past", National Geographic, 1981, p. 90
The Jewish World, ed. Elie Kedourie, Thames and Hudson, 1979, pp. 85, 156, 157
This charming carpet, created as religious wall-hanging meant to convey Judaism's basic ideologies, is the earliest dated carpet in the Anton Felton collection. Created in the nineteenth century, it depicts the legendary visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon to test his legendary wisdom, as described in I Kings 10: "And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, and what he had done in the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with riddles"(Kings 10:1).
This biblical story, only briefly mentioned in here and in Chronicles has nevertheless had an impact on the imagination of artists in Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and Ethiopian traditions throughout the ages. From the 12th century onward, Solomon and Sheba often appeared as a pair and among the masters who depicted the two are found Tintoretto, Rubens, Bosch, and Claude Lorrain.
Twenty-nine detailed panels on the carpet enclose Solomon and Queen Sheba to recount the early history of the Jewish people. Symbols of the twelve tribes are depicted and titled, along with significant Judaic events and venues. These vignettes include those featuring two important synagogues in Jerusalem's Old City; the burial place of the Patriarchs in Hebron; the sacrifice of Isaac; Pharoah's daughter discovering Moses, and the Western Wall of Solomon's Temple.
The asymmetrical elements shown, such as the columns surrounding the six steps and the frame encircling King Solomon and Queen of Sheba are the weaver's intentional devices, meant to emphasize the belief that only God can create something perfect.