Plate One

Plate Three & Four

Plate Eight

Plate Ten

Plate Twelve

Plate Fourteen

Plate Sixteen & Seventeen

Plate Nineteen

Plate Twenty-One

Plate Twenty-Three

Plate Twenty-Six

Plate Twenty-Eight

Plate Thirty
Plate Two

Plate Five, Six & Seven

Plate Nine

Plate Eleven

Plate Thirteen

Plate Fifteen

Plate Eighteen

Plate Twenty

Plate Twenty-Two

Plate Twenty-Four

Plate Twenty-Seven

Plate Twenty-Nine

Plate Thirty-One & Thirty-Two


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Although many carpets have survived ostensibly as pairs, it's more likely that we are often seeing thesurvivors from a whole series of multiples. These two examples reveal the differences in treatment of one particular design.

The Lyons carpet, Plate Five, is complete but very damaged whereas Plate Six, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is a fragment cut in the width and then re-sewn together. These rugs seem to continue what this writer considers an interim Safavid style characterized by a cartouche/medallion layout that is familiar from some later Timurid miniatures, figure 16.

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The weavers were not slavishly copying a cartoon but were obliged from a technical standpoint to improvise. It is interesting to note Plate Seven, a detail of the Metropolitan Museum 's example, shows only the dragon and phoenix in combat.

Unlike the carpets shown in the Timurid miniatures, figure 16, here we have a tabula ansata with enclosed cartouches and an arabesque border. The mythical animal combat scenes portrayed in these fragments can be traced back to the ancient Scythian Art of the Steppes regions that is now the south-eastern part of Russia.

There are similar representations of the Dragon and Phoenix in combat in Chinese Art but rarely do they attain this level of ferocity. Scenes of animals in combat were often represented in Iran beginning from the time of the Mongols when they first appeared in miniature paintings of the Persian Shiraz school, as well as in the Timurid manuscripts.

By general consent these examples, Plates Five, Six and Seven are amongst the earliest surviving Safavid carpets.