The Schwarzenberg Paradise Park Carpet
Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Wool, cotton; pile weave
H: 517cm, W: 217cm
This elaborately designed textile is known as a “Paradise Park” carpet due to its motifs including garden and animal imagery. Persian literature and art has long referenced the idea of heaven on earth, where a garden with water would bear lush plants and trees, often alongside animals both mythical and real. In this case, the term “Paradise Park” refers to a group of Persian carpets in particular that specifically combine motifs such as these in addition to a central medallion. High quality carpets from this group would have been made for members of the upper class in 16th-century Iran.
With a central medallion followed by a cartouche and pendant on either end, this carpet is divided into four quarters with mirroring imagery. Flowers and vegetation including cypress trees cover the field of the carpet, while animals such as leopards, lions, birds and phoenixes additionally inhabit the space. Ducks appear within the central medallion while a pair of peacocks fill each cartouche. The border consists of birds, flowers and cloud band motifs.
Two complete examples of similar “Paradise Park” carpets include the Mackay carpet in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Mantes carpet in the Louvre.
This carpet has been dated based on stylistic comparions with other known 16th-century carpets
This carpet has been stylistically attributed to Iran, but an exact location has yet to be established
Franses, Michael, “A Museum of Masterpieces: Safavid Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar”, Hali, 155 (Spring 2008): 72–89.
Bode, Wilhelm von, and Kühnel, Ernst, Antique Rugs from the Near East, 4th edition, tr. By Charles Grant Ellis, Ithaca, New York: Bell & Hyman Limited, 1984.
Julia Tugwell "The Schwarzenberg Paradise Park Carpet" [db_in_citation_dca] 2019. http://carpets.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?itemId=object;DCA;qt;Mus31;1;en
Prepared by: Julia Tugwell
MWNF Working Number: QT1_001