MWNF Thematic Galleries

MWNF Portal

 © MIK, J.P. Anders

Name of Object:

Padishah kilim


Berlin, Germany

Holding Museum:

Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum


AD end of the 16th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Silk; weaving


L: 221, W: 136

Period / Dynasty:



Iran, Kashan


This extremely fine silk tapestry weaving with metal thread was given its name on account of the word Padishah woven into four cartouches. This is the Persian word for emperor or prince. The overall design corresponds to that of a medallion carpet. In the centre of the inner field is a green-ground medallion with a battle between a dragon and a phoenix. The spandrels contain red-ground quarter-medallions filled with the mythical creatures called qilin. These motifs derive from East Asian cultures and have been known in Islamic art at least since the 13th century. In addition the inner field is filled with a number of blossoms and birds. In the borders are elongated cartouches alternating with quatrefoil medallions. The cartouches are filled with beasts of prey, the medallions with grotesque faces. Technically this tapestry weaving, unlike a knotted carpet, consists only of warp and weft threads. There are no knots forming a pile. The special character of the piece lies in its materials. The areas in the field and border which today appear grey were originally gleaming silver. The yellow and red surfaces were also adorned with metal threads. These fine metal threads, which were spun around a silk core filament, have by now become corroded, so that they no longer effectively reflect the light and the surrounding colour surfaces. One must also imagine the tapestry as highly and vividly colourful. Since silk is very delicate, the colours, particularly on the front, have become seriously faded on account of their exposure to light. The blurred impression given by the motifs is accounted for by the technique. Various coloured wefts have been interlocked, that is, alternately wound around a common warp. This produces a soft outline, but avoids the appearance of slits, which would have detracted from the stability of the textile.

How date and origin were established:

The kilim has been dated on written sources, stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colors and technique

How Object was obtained:

Purchased 1914 from the possession of Kaiserin Friedrich (Prinzessin Victoria of Great Britain 1840-1901)

How provenance was established:

The kilim has been located on written sources, stylistic analysis of its pattern, due to its colours and technique

Selected bibliography:

Beselin, Anna, Geknüpfte Kunst. Teppiche des Museums für Islamische Kunst, Berlin: Minerva, 2011.

Citation of this web page:

Anna Beselin "Padishah kilim"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;de;Mus31;8;en

Prepared by: Anna Beselin

MWNF Working Number: DE1_008

On display in

MWNF Galleries



As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)