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 © MIK, Georg Niedermeiser

Name of Object:

Cartouche carpet


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum


16th century

Type of object:

Carpet fragment

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cotton, silk, wool; knotted pile carpet; asymmetrical knot, Jufti knot


L: 193, W: 59

Period / Dynasty:



Northern Iran, Khorasan


In addition to this Berlin carpet fragment, a second, somewhat larger one exists in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Both fragments are considered among the most outstanding examples of early Safavid carpet art. The two fragments together allow the design of a cartouche carpet to be clearly recognized. In staggered rows, tall rectangular cartouches alternate with slightly oval medallions. To even out the size difference of the two motifs, the medallions are adorned at top and bottom with shield-shaped additions. The two motifs touch at their vertical and horizontal central axis. Each of the areas between the two main motifs is filled with two semicircular lancet leaves. The special character of the carpet lies in the subtle drawing of its individual motifs, its variety of colour and its colour composition. Each colour area is separated from the next by a differently coloured outline. The carpet ground, which is normally in one colour, also changes its colour in each field. The interplay of twenty different colours and colour shades succeeds perfectly. The knotting technique and the very short pile allow the colour and the motif design to emerge precisely – some of the outlines are only one knot wide. There is frequent evidence of cartouche carpets in Timurid miniature painting, but no carpets from this period have been preserved. Because of the use of individual Jufti knots the province of Khorasan is presumed to be the area of production.

How date and origin were established:

The carpet has been dated on stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and knot-technique

How Object was obtained:

Purchased 1898 by the Kunstgewerbemusem, Berlin from F.R. Martin; 1956 transferred through the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin

How provenance was established:

The carpet has been located on stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and knot-technique

Selected bibliography:

Beselin, Anna, Geknüpfte Kunst. Teppiche des Museums für Islamische Kunst, Berlin: Minerva, 2011. Spuhler, Friedrich, Oriental Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Munich: Smithsonian, 1987.

Citation of this web page:

Anna Beselin "Cartouche carpet"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;de;Mus31;7;en

Prepared by: Anna Beselin

MWNF Working Number: DE1_007

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