Medallion And Hunting Carpet
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1974.57
People
Unknown Artist
Title
Medallion and Hunting Carpet
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Animal Carpet
Classification
Textile Arts
Work Type
rug
Date
16th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Knotted wool pile
Technique
Knotted
Dimensions
235.59 x 160.02 cm (92 3/4 x 63 in.)
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan
Accession Year
1974
Object Number
1974.57
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions
Description
Carpet scene of a royal hunting ground. School of Shah Tahmasp.

Label Text: Objects from the Islamic World, written 1986
Animal Carpet
Iran, Safavid, 16th century
Wool pile
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan 1974.57

Label Text: Islamic Art: The Power of Pattern, written 1989
Animal carpet
Iran, Safavid, 16th century
Knotted wool pile
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan
1974.57

Label Text: Geometry of the Spirit: Islamic Illumination and Calligraphy, written 1988
Medallion carpet
Iran, 16th century
Knotted wool pile
Bequest of Joseph McMullan
1974.57

Label Text: Shadows of God On Earth: Arts of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Dynasties, written 1997
Animal Carpet
Iranian, Safavid, Kashan, second half of 16th century
Knotted wool pile
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullen
1974.57

If viewed as an aerial portrait of a garden setting, this carpet's border, with undulating leafy double-scrolls and stylized peonies, can be imagined as an outer garden zone inhabited by lovely birds. In a multilobed central medallion, more birds perch on the spreading branches of flowering trees that surround a pool. Between these two areas of the garden, delightful animals frolic amidst a growth of buds and blossoms. Only the presence of leopards hungrily stalking deer in this otherwise idyllic garden composition remind us of two metaphors for royalty: the triumph of a strong animal over a weaker one, and the royal hunt. The motif of the royal hunt was extremely popular in sixteenth- and seventeenth -century Persian rug designs and most often included courtly figures in pursuit of game. Perhaps the inner border is not a garden wall at all, but the confines of the royal hunting ground, wherein the animals await their fate at the hand of a Safavid nobleman.

Label Text: Arabesque, written 1990
Animal Carpet
Iran, Safavid, 16th century
Knotted wool pile
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan
1974.57

Publication History

Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), page 86/figure 92

Exhibition History

Diverse are their Hues: Animals in Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 12/18/1984 - 02/09/1985

Geometry of the Spirit: Islamic Illumination and Calligraphy, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/30/1988 - 06/26/1988

Islamic Art: The Power of Pattern, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/23/1989 - 01/17/1990

Arabesque, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/01/1990 - 03/24/1991

Shadows of God On Earth: Arts of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Dynasties, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/21/1997 - 08/31/1997

Verification Level

2 - Adequate. Object is adequately described but information may not be vetted