• Persia, Kashan, mid-16th century
  • Silk
  • Inv. T100

‘Animal fighting’ carpet

Persian silk carpets are generally regarded as being the finest of knotted carpets. This example belongs to a relatively homogeneous series of about sixteen. Some have a central medallion, inspired by Persian arts of the book; others are decorated with human or animal figures.

This carpet combines two decorative characteristics, a central lobed quatrefoil medallion with phoenix and dragons in combat, alternating with two palmettes. The field, with a red ground is filled with lions, tigers, panthers and antelopes and floral motifs. Pheasants with rich plumage alternate with palmettes and flowers round the border.

The city of Kashan was a well known for trading and manufacturing of silk from the 15th century onwards. Reports from European travellers, as from the end of the 16th century, document the existence of silk carpets that were regarded as luxury goods.

Wilhelm von Bode Collection, Berlin; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Hans Stiebel, Amsterdam, March 1936.

H. 230 cm; W. 180 cm

Erdmann 1970

Kurt Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets. London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 1970, p. 65, no. 68.

Ettinghausen 1972

Richard Ettinghausen, Arte da Pérsia Islâmica na Colecção Calouste Gulbenkian. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 1972, pp. 7–8, 12, no. 26.

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.),  Museums discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woodbine Books, 1995, pp. 174–5.

New York 1999

Katharine Baetjer e James David Draper (eds.), 'Only the Best'. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, p. 78–9, cat. 36.

Canby 1999

Sheila R. Canby, The Golden Age of Persian Art. 1501-1722. London: British Museum Publications, 1999, pp. 66–79, ils. 54, 62.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2001, p. 58–9, cat. 41.

Cohen 2001

Steven Cohen, 'Safavid and Mughal Carpets in the Gulbenkian Museum', Hali, no. 114, January-February, 2001, pp. 75–85, colourpl. 9.

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