Isfahan Rug, Persia, Seventeenth Century – This authentic piece of late Renaissance artwork is one of exceptional beauty, and also, one of historical significance. This 17th-century rug was created in Isfahan, which is located to the south of modern-day Tehran. It sits at the intersection of two main trade routes along the Silk Road. It was, at one time, the largest city of the Safavid Dynasty and its capital.
During the Safavid Empire, Isfahan was a city filled with grand palaces and spectacular gardens. The arts flourished under the support of the Safavid rulers, including rug weaving. It was during that time when the art of rug weaving entered into its “Golden Age.”
We can tell from the style of this rug that includes long, curving saz leaves and a distinctive design known as the Shah Abbas palmette, that this rug was created after the reign of Shah Abbas I, who ruled from 1588 to 1629. The large floral palmette designs in the border of this rug are a motif that indicates that this carpet was likely created by the formal weaving workshops and schools of the Safavid Dynasty.
The palmette was a design that was used to represent the court of the Shah. The inclusion of it in carpets was a requirement by the Shah as a symbol of his power and influence. Some scholarly accounts even say that weavers could be severely punished for failing to include it. This trademark of the great Safavid rulers would later become a traditional element of Persian carpet design that is still recognized today. To see an original is a rare treat.
Carpets created during this time are considered some of the most beautiful ever produced in the world. There are very few of them surviving from this time period, and most of them are only fragments. Finding a Renaissance carpet intact and in such excellent condition as this one is exceptionally rare. This captivating piece is a rare legacy from the Golden Age of the Arts and the court weavers of one of the most famous Safavid rulers. This carpet is a piece of art history and a gorgeous piece of for any fine collection.