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

Name of Object:

Chahar-Bagh carpet fragment


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: 4318mm, W: 3378mm

Period / Dynasty:



Kurdistan region of Iran


A large 17th century north-west Iranian pile carpet fragment designed in the Chahar-Bagh (four-gardens) style, a bird’s-eye view of a garden that consists of a symmetrical layout of flowerbeds and waterways.

On this fragment, the main waterway runs longitudinally along the centre of the carpet and branches out into two shorter waterways to the left and the right of it. The water in them is illustrated by red and cream zig-zag lines, and within it swims blue and white fish. At the junction between the main and branch waterways sits a green-coloured hexagon, decorated with a multi-coloured vegetal arabesque motif, forming an island. Out of each corner of this island grows a tree that radiates out between the waterways and into square flowerbeds. The square flowerbeds are arranged either side of the main waterway and between its branches; their background colour range include green, red and ivory. The vegetation in these flowerbeds is represented by arabesque layouts of rosettes and palmettes, and bordered by rows of small flowering plants on a dark blue background. The carpet has a wide dark blue border holding a row of alternating green and red cypress trees, floral shrubs and pairs of birds.

Believed to be of Kurdish manufacture in north-west Iran, its Chahar-Bagh layout is a visualisation of both the ancient Paradise garden of Persian Art, and the description of the Garden of Heaven in the Qur’an, a layout that has inspired many gardens across the Islamic World, from Spain to India.

Before it entered The Burrell Collection, this fragment was once owned by a renowned art critic, Sir Sidney Colvin (1845-1927), who was a Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge and the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

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 "Chahar-Bagh carpet fragment"  [db_in_citation_dca]  2019.;DCA;uk;Mus31;6;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-Gailani

MWNF Working Number: UK1_006

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