Garden Carpet
portion of rug © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1957.137
People
Unknown Artist
Title
Garden Carpet
Classification
Textile Arts
Work Type
rug
Date
c. 1800
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Knotted wool pile on cotton warp and weft
Dimensions
H. 685.8 x W. 243.84 cm (270 x 96 in.)
Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Joseph V. McMullan
Accession Year
1957
Object Number
1957.137
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
Descriptions
Description
Formal design with streams, fish, trees and shrubs motif.

Label Text: Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, written 1993
Garden Carpet
Western Iran, ca. 1800
Knotted wool pile on cotton warp and weft
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan
1957.137

Stylized trees, flowering plants, and channels of flowing water stocked with fish appear on this large carpet. Its design of rectangular plots is derived from the fourfold plan of the for mal Persian garden, or chahar bagh. Only part of its 22 1/ 2-foot length ca n be exhibited here.

Label Text: Courts and Countryside: Islamic Paintings from the 14th through the 17th century, written 1999
Garden Carpet
Iran, 18th century
Wool pile on cotton warp and weft
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan
1957.137

The vertically symmetrical design of this carpet imitates the classical Persian garden known as a chahar-bagh (a four-part garden). The lay­ out of the chahar-bagh was governed by a perpendicular network of irrigation channels that carved out rectangular flower beds . In this carpet, the water of the irrigation channels is indicated by a lively zigzag pattern. Fish with four fins course through the channels. The parterres are planted with ornamental trees and floral borders.
Because of their huge dimensions, it has been suggested that large carpets such as this may have been intended for outdoor use. Wherever it was unrolled, this carpet transformed its immediate environment into a garden.

Label Text: A Garden of Art: Masterpieces of Islamic and Indian Art 8th - 18th c., written 1986
Garden Carpet
Iran, Kurdistan, 18th century
Wool pile
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan 1953.137

Publication History

Daniel S. Walker, Oriental Rugs of the Hajji Babas, exh. cat., Asia Society (New York, NY, 1982), fig. 20

Sheila Blair, ed., Images of Paradise In Islamic Art, exh. cat., University of Tennessee Press (Austin, TX, 1991), page 98/figure 34

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 87

Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin, ed., The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, Taschen GmbH and Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (Cologne, Germany, 2010), pp. 594-595, ill. 1.

Exhibition History

The Here and the Hereafter: Images of Paradise in Islamic Art, University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, 01/22/1992 - 03/29/1992; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, 03/16/1991 - 05/26/1991; Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Springfield, 04/26/1992 - 06/21/1992; Asia Society Galleries, New York, 06/27/1991 - 09/06/1991; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, 09/26/1991 - 12/15/1991

Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/08/1993 - 08/22/1993

Courts and Countryside: Islamic Paintings from the 14th through the 17th century, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/21/1999 - 08/22/1999

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted