Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Silk with golden and silver threads
31cm x 58cm
This fragment of silk velvet came from the tent of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520–1566). The tent would have been seized by the sultan’s troops during one of the campaigns the Ottomans conducted in Persia from 1534 to 1554. Like the other fragments of the tent that have survived, it shows the refinement of the Persian textile arts in the 16th century, as well as their close links with miniatures. The execution of the figurative and floral motifs is highly accomplished. The design derives from the famous story of Khusraw and Shirin told in the poet Nizami’s Khamsa and illustrated in a great many miniatures. In that scene, Khusraw, who does not appear here, is usually shown with his finger to his lips in a gesture calling for silence. Another fragment of the tent is in the Keir Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. The Montreal Museum of Fine Art’s fragment shows Shirin bathing, her clothing hung on the branches of a tree and her saddled horse nearby. Unlike the other surviving fragments, the inscription “amal Ghiyāth Al-Dīn Djāmī” on the saddle enables the piece to be attributed to the celebrated Safavid weaver Ghiyāth Al-Dīn Djāmī. According to Ackerman, Djāmī was not only a virtuoso weaver, but also one of the masters of the royal library. Eight other pieces attest to the fact that the weaver was active during the second half of the 16th century.
Purchase, D. W. Parker Fund
Purchased from Adolph Loewi, Los Angeles, in 1951, D. W. Parker Fund
Coulin Weibel, Adele, Two Thousand Years of Textiles, New York: Pantheon, 1952, no. 132.
Salam-Liebich, Hayat, Art islamique: objets du quotidien / Islamic Art: Objects for Daily Use, Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1983: 62.
Upham Pope, Arthur, and Phyllis Ackerman, A Survey of Persian Art, London: Oxford University Press, 1964, vol. VI, 1938‒9.
Shirin Shafiee "Textile fragment" [db_in_citation_dca] 2019. http://carpets.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?itemId=object;DCA;ca;Mus31;10;en
Prepared by: Shirin Shafiee
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: CA1_010