Previously offered in this form at Sotheby`s Islamic in October 1982(Lot 75),it had actually first appeared at Christie`s sale of 19th April 1979,as two lots.
|2-Lot 24 and 25|
Somewhere between 1979 and 1982 it was cut and remounted.Perhaps more pieces will be parcelled out in the future.The Hali APG(Hali 172-121)notes the presence of a middle red silken weft,as found on the Lady Baillie piece sold at Sothebys in 2006 for 257,660 Dollars.(see Hali APG Hali 149-105)
|3-Sothebys October 2005+September 2006,Lot 40|
However,what is a "Shaped"carpet?The expression was coined by the German Collector Franz Sindermann.As often,the description is a misnomer,as not all of the Mughal Floral Carpets (MFC`s)are thus woven.They can be divided into two groups:
1 ) The arched carpets,with asymmetrical "lappets" forming an oval or indented shape.
2 ) The "Landscape"carpets in rectangular form,woven vertically,but to be viewed horizontally.
|4-Jaipur-Albert Hall Museum-105|
This is a simple way to identify and classify fragments from shaped carpets.Another is the appearance in the field of diagonally placed floral sprays,which are used to rotate the design(arched style)
The same device is employed in the borders of the Landscape carpets.
The carpets were presumably woven by weavers working from Talims,as suggested by Jon Thompson(In Quest of Themes and Skills,Marg 1989).Each flower would have had its own little plan.However,the Talim notation was probably not read out loud-the weavers had to decypher it individually.Mistakes are commonplace when employing the Talim system.A critical point for things to go wrong is the axis where the flower-sprigs rotate.On the Jaipur example the right-hand side has serious "bumping"
|8-Talim writer -Chattopadhya-80 + 81|
|9-Talim-Chattopadhya 82 + 83|
The Arched and Landscape carpets are always reproduced in the panoramic view,but in fact,they appear to have been woven vertically,i.e the designs were knotted sideways.This is akin to weaving a Saf,and the few Indian Safs known were also knotted vertically,with the design turned on its axis.Prayer Dhurries were also woven in this way.
It`s a logical working method-otherwise looms of up to 5 meter width would have been required.This salient point has not been emphasised in the published literature.Of the fifteen good quality closeups available for study(Arched and Landscape)all have been knotted"sideways".Misunderstandings can occur when a portion of rug is shown from the rotating axis area,as in the closeups used by Sotheby`s for the Lady Baillie.
|11-Sothebys 2005 + 2006|
Finally,the warp direction is clearly visible on the Michaelian Landscape carpet:
The carpets were woven on cotton warps,with up to ZS 10 recorded.Some examples have a red silken middle weft,otherwise a 3 row cotton weft is normal.Knotting ranges between 144 to 156 knots per square inch.It is unclear how the side finishing was carried out in the area of indentation.Presumably the warps were simply cut and fixed.The carpet of course was rectangular on the loom,the area of indentation covered by weft.
The tedious discussion concerning the original function of the arched carpets need not be gone into here.Needless to say,all the plausible explanations can just as easily be refuted.The best overview can be found in Daniel Walker(Flowers Underfoot,page 105)
Here is Walker`s drawing of two rugs placed together,resembling a re-entry prayer niche:
The Getty Arched Pair were purchased by Billionairess Doris Duke for her Museum mansion on Honolulu.Here they are in situ:
Generally considered to be a pair,placed together they look like this:
|16-Getty Auction 7 + 8|
|17-Atlantic ICOC Nr.138|
By general agreement the most beautiful example is the carpet now in Cincinnati.This piece,or its double, was also used by Hendley in a drawing,to map the different plants.
|19-Flowers Underfoot 10|
|20-Hendley Plate 1A|
This Cincinatti was also published in Erdmann,700 years,fig.254,and in Hali 4-3,Nr.253.
Purists may prefer the noble simplicity and order of the Getty pieces:
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts carpet was acquired in 1966,from John Goelet:
The Textile Museum piece seems never to have been published in colour.
The Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II Museum has two examples:
Made for the Amber Palace and purchased in Lahore in the mid 17th century,one of a pair remains in the Albert Hall Museum.
|27-Woven in Kashmir?|
It looks quite petite in this foto,but in real life resembles a captured beast of prey
|28-Foto Franz Sindermann|
Campbell`s 176 is a case in point.
But the other half had been sold at Lefevre`s in 1978,and is now in the LA Meyer in Jerusalem
|31-Lefevre 3.2.1978-lot 5|
At least a further 4 examples are known from the Campbell Photo Album,now slumbering in the V&A Library:
|32-Campell 125-City Palace Museum-Foto Franz Sindermann|
|37-Published in Marg 1965|
There are another five fragments of arched-shaped carpets:
|38-Lisbet Holmes-could be a Landscape carpet|
A fragment auctioned at Bonhams connects up to another in the Calico Museum
|39-Bonhams 12.10.2004-Lot 52|
The Landscape carpets are obviously connected to the arched examples,but how and why is another piece of the Philosopher`s Stone.The consensus favours the Michaelian carpet sold at Edelman`s New York in 1980,as best of type.
|44-Edelmann 25.10.1980-lot 203|
It was later restored and went to the Al-Sabah Museum in Kuwait,where it survived the Iraqi invasion.
|45-Kuwait Catalogue 144|
|46-Sothebys 3.6.1989-lot 1|
And a Dhurrie fragment,similar in feeling,was on show at the Milan ICOC:
|47-Sovrani ICOC Catalogue Nr.16|
Thought by many to be a pair are the Keir and Tabibnia pieces:
The Tabibnia example has an illustrious provenance:Kevorkian-Getty-Mirzakhanian (sold at Sothebys in 1969 for 4800 GBP):
|51-Christies 12 .6.1975-lot 60-could be an arched carpet|
Campbell`s 165 has some intriguing cut-outs:
The above-mentioned Jaipur fragment(8.5 meters)in a less formal pose:
Finally the Ballard example:
There is a small group of carpets,numbering at least 6 pieces,with addorsed floral designs.
One cannot be sure if some of these carpets have not been re-configured.The Christies carpet has an arched style border and rotating cornerpieces:
|57-Christies 13.10.05-lot 101|
|61-V&A+Calico Museum-Montage Franz Sindermann|
A fragment said to spring from Campbell`s 37/49,or from its pair,was carbon-dated to no earlier than 1656(Ghereh 38,page 14)
It had been previously sold at Sothebys on 12 October 1999,preceeded by an album of carpet photos taken by Colonel Hendley.
|65-Sothebys 12.10.99-Lot 92|
Assorted bits have shown up at auction in the last years:
|66-Christies 29.11.1989-lot 53|
|67-Sothebys Islamic April 1985-145|
|68-Lefevre 1980-Sothebys Islamic October 1982 Lot 76|
|69-Lisbet Holmes-Hali 2-1-page 26|
Another bit is perhaps from Campbell:
|71-Phillips 1988 and Sothebys 20.09.2006-Lot 1|
And finally the recent discovery by Steven Cohen of a splendid Landscape fragment at the Burrell:
|72-Burrell Museum-Hali 172-48|
Another fragment,probably from the same carpet,was published in the ICOC catalogue,Pacific Collections:
|74-Bernheimer,Christies 14 february 1996-148|
In a letter to Hali(173-19),Penny Oakley suggested that a fragment sold during her time at Bernheimers was a border piece to the above.The fragment was purchased by J.P Willborg and now resides in a German collection
|75-Hali 59-Willborg advert|
The Oakley Willborg Fragment was collated by Campbell,registered as his number 209.It is the part on the upper left-hand corner.The fragment had disappeared by the time of May Beattie`s inventory of 1972
There are also two round carpets,both in the Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur.One has an arabesque design,the other our familiar botanical theme:
|77-Albert Hall Museum Catalogue 106|
|78-Albert Hall 105-addorsed design|
One last group of conventional shaped carpets carries on with the large flower format(without lattice)
The best known is the Kevorkian carpet,now in the MET:
It`s twin is still in Jaipur
|81-Sothebys Islamic sale October 1982-lot 74|
And a jovial shrub carpet now in Kuwait:
To conclude,some reproductions of Mughal carpet flowers,from Colonel Hendley`s great Opus.
|83-The Crown Imperial Lily|
Franz Sindermann zugeignet