Islamic Art in Antique Rugs

Islamic Art in Antique Rugs: The most iconic Islamic art form and cultural tradition.

Carpet weaving is the most iconic art form to come out of islamic societies. This extraordinary tradition is most famous for producing the ‘pile carpet’ also known as the ‘oriental carpet.’ And so,  predominantly you will find the most sophisticated islamic art in antique rugs.

In the late 16th century, Shah Abbas made an economical plan that set the carpet weaving industry on fire. He did this by making trade treaties with Spain, England, and France. As a result, carpet weaving transformed from the hands of peasants to that of prestigious artists. It was soon a national industry.

Shah Abbas, Islamic Art in Antique Rugs, Nazmiyal Collection
Shah Abbas, a historical force behind Islamic art and carpets.

Within Islamic societies, the finest pieces were collected in royal households, but they became acquired by royalty outside of Islam as well. By the early 17th century, Islamic rugs were being generated more than ever before and becoming a status symbol throughout European high society households. These exquisite Islamic art pieces were too precious for the floor, so they were commonly used to decorate the walls or cover furniture.

As for the earliest Islamic carpets, most cease to exist. Of those that survived the ages, early scholars had to depend on Italian and Flemish paintings, particularly Renaissance paintings, to determine their birthdays. These historical paintings became a major source of information on early Islamic carpet weaving.

The Saithwaite Family, Islamic Carpets in Paintings, Nazmiyal Collection
The Saithwaite Family by Francis Wheatley, Circa 1785
Young Woman With a Water Pitcher, Nazmiyal Antique Rugs, Islamic Rugs in Paintings
Young Woman with a Water Pitcher by Johannes Vermeer, Circa 1660-67

Moving forward, rugs from the 17th century were identified from the clues the actual rug provided, such as its type of dies, style, and design. Origin was often determined by the knot style. For instance, Persian carpets were typically made with an asymmetrical knot while Turkish carpets were made with the opposite.

In conclusion, antique rugs are a monumental part of Islamic Art History. They serve as expressive, decorative representations of Islamic history and a major entity in the world’s extraordinary history of art as a whole.

Below are five exquisite examples of rare 17th Century Islamic Art in Antique Rugs. Click any rug to indulge in its beauty further.

1. The Nazmiyal Collection’s 17th Century Khorassan Garden Design Persian Carpet,

once part of the famed collection of William Andrews Clark.

Antique 17th Century Persian Khorassan Carpet from William A. Clark, Nazmiyal Collection

2. Oversized Antique 17th Century Persian Isfahan Oriental Rug (44143)

Oversized Antique 17th Century Persian Esfahan Oriental Rug, Nazmiyal

3. Late 17th Century Palace-Size Silk Indian Suzani Embroidery (46159)

Late 17th Century Palace-Size Silk Indian Suzani Embroidery, Nazmiyal

4. Antique 17th Century Large Turkish Oushak Rug (47072)

Antique 17th Century Large Turkish Oushak Rug, Nazmiyal

5. Large Antique 17th Century Persian Isfahan Carpet (44889)

17th Century Persian Isfahan Carpet, Nazmiyal

This blog and textile art was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs