The Economist tells the whole story behind the record-setting carpet sold at Christie’s Islamic sale. That’s a record for carpets and Islamic art:
At the beginning of this year Christie’s received a call from a European dealer. He had a suspicion that a carpet he had recently bought was no ordinary Persian rug, but one of the famed “vase” carpets from Kirman. Made in the city that dominated the rug-making industry of south-eastern Iran for centuries, “vase” carpets are easily identifiable by a pattern of swirling branches, foliage and flowers arranged in vases.
This particular carpet, though, had no vase on it; only a continuing pattern of intricately joined leaves that gave the design an unusual energy and charm. But it was the weaving technique that alerted the dealer to the fact that it might be a “vase” carpet all the same.
Marco Polo, travelling through Persia in 1270, praised the carpets of Kirman as a particular marvel. Continue Reading