MWNF Thematic Galleries

MWNF Portal

 © Glasgow Museums - The Burrell Collection © Glasgow Museums - The Burrell Collection © Glasgow Museums - The Burrell Collection

Name of Object:

Animal Carpet


Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Glasgow Museums - The Burrell Collection


17th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cotton warp and weft; wool pile


H: 4750mm, W: 2007mm

Period / Dynasty:


Workshop / Movement:

Lahore workshop (possibly royal workshop)


Pakistan, Lahore


A 17th century Mughal Indian Lahore pile carpet showing an imaginary jungle scene with wild animals running about. The wine-red centre-field is framed by a dark blue border. Satisfyingly complete, though well worn, its scrolling vine and animal design is composed of a network of curving and intertwining vine branches and stems that cover the whole plane of the design, carrying a variety of flowers and palmettes - the large multi-layered palm-leaf shaped leaves. Several wild animals and birds are imposed on this network of scrolling vines. They include leaping tigers and rabbits; running cows, onagers and deer; lions in combat with bears, cheetahs catching gazelles, winged lions attacking antelopes; and cockerels and parrots. The designers of this carpet cleverly used their asymmetrical pattern to evoke a real wilderness in which these wild animals live. Wild as it may seem, the animal composition consists of a three fold repeat pattern. This pattern starts with a salmon-colour tiger in the bottom left corner of the carpet and ends with the lion in combat with a bear on the same side. This pattern is repeated a second time in the middle part of the carpet; and then lifted and flipped right to left, and repeated a third time, but this time the salmon-coloured tiger appears on the right side of the top third of the carpet. By doing so, the designers of the carpet cleverly create a more convincingly wild scene by avoiding symmetry in pattern, whether between right and left or top and bottom of the centre-field.

While most of the animals are illustrated in a Mughal Indian style of figurative depictions, the border of this carpet and its large multi-coloured palmettes, as well as the scrolling vine system in the field, are in the Safavid Persian style. Not an untypical composition, as the art of pile-carpet-weaving was introduced by Iranian master weavers under the patronage of the Mughal court, which sought to emulate its rival the Safavid court of Iran.

How date and origin were established:

Manufacturing techniques and stylistic analysis

How Object was obtained:

Gifted by Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944

How provenance was established:

Stylistic analysis

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Animal Carpet"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;uk;Mus31;11;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-Gailani

MWNF Working Number: UK1_011

On display in

MWNF Galleries



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