Writing in Hali 55,Christine Klose admonishes us to trace designs back to their "simplest"prototypes,if we would"achieve a real understanding of what such things might mean,or once meant"Klose posits a 4-phase development,whose starting point is a Caucasian silk embroidery at that time in the Pakzad Museum in Hannover.
The second phase is represented by a NW Persian carpet,currently on offer at Christies,in an abbreviated form(Christie`s 24 April 2012,lot 39,the Cornette St.Cyr carpet)
The third phase is embodied by the famous James Burns rug.
The fourth phase culminates in the large number of 19th century carpets known to us as "Perepedil"
Frau Klose`s discussion is problematic for a number of reasons.It is difficult to believe that the origin of these carpets can be localised to one silk embroidery.The comparison with two other embroideries in her article is vague.The progression from the Pakzad embroidery to the Cornette carpet is clear,but the piece may not be much older than the Burns village rug,whose Anatolian influence(first proposed by Ian Bennett)is obvious,despite her dismissiveness.Her argument is elliptical in the extreme.A slight excursion via the Bernheimer Dragon and large Palmette carpet is unconvincing,and an over-attention to detail and concentration on mutating floral forms was perhaps her undoing.We cannot know whether the embroideries came first or not.The designs in question evolved over a period of at least two hundred years through a process of copying and cross-pollination. Transferring designs from one medium to another invariably transforms the original;even more so when the carpet designs are re-copied in embroidery.This would have been the case had the embroideries with carpet designs also functioned as wagirehs.
There is another group of Classic Caucasian carpets which entirely escaped Frau Klose`s attention.This is the Medallion-Leaf Group,of which at least 17 examples are known,ten with a red ground and seven on blue.The blueground pieces have been the subject of more attention,and they are in the main more impressive.The Chadbourne has been touted as the earliest due to its animal depictions in Dragon style,but most of the group do not have animal forms,except in the most debased style.The Schürmann carpet has them in full pomp,but is surely a later example of "archaizing".Most of the good Perepedil carpets of the 19th century have clear animal depictions.
|6-Christies 3.7.80-28 Included for its heroic condition and as the first appearance of a pre-1800 example with inverted sickle-leaves.|
The group as a whole represents a much more convenient trajectory for the Proto Perepedil,than the abstruse path which Christina Klose chose to tread.Apart from the obviously similar main motif,in a number of examples the Anatolian rams-horns start to appear.(Paris,Willborg,OS,Sothebys 1992,V&A)
The Medallion-Leaf carpets also took another more occult route in which the original sickle-leaf add-ons were inverted,thus forming a robust rams-horn design.Perhaps their 18th Century starting point was the Bakerdjian carpet illustrated by Bechirian.
|8-Bechirian page 320|
Four examples are known.The Nagels carpet from 1984,and the item published in Hali 86,page 121,described as a "Herat".
Both appear to have been modelled directly upon Caucasian silk embroideries,and seem to have used the same cartoon.A more simplified version was published by David Bamford in Hali 73,page 23,and a further piece recently surfaced at a German auction.The latter two rugs appear to be Anatolian.The origin of the first two is unknown.
|11-Hali 73-23,David Bamford|
|12-Collection Brian Morehouse|