Art And Culture

Exhibit of Garden Rugs at Golestan Palace

There are nine exquisite rugs on display belonging to the Qajar times. Their floral designs include motifs of trees, vases, birds and water
Samples of the rugs on displaySamples of the rugs on display

Golestan Palace in Tehran, a UNESCO world heritage center, is holding an exhibition of Qajar era fine rugs with garden designs.

There are nine exquisite rugs on display belonging to the Qajar times (1785-1925). Their floral designs include motifs of trees, vases, birds and water.

The exhibition will run through October 22. Visiting hours are from 9 am-4 pm, reported.

“Persian garden and Persian rug are two ancient Iranian arts whose connection dates back centuries,” said Masoud Nosrati, director of Golestan Palace complex.

Nosrati quoted a description of Persian rugs by American expert on Iranian art Arthur Upham Pope (1881-1969). In ‘A Survey of Persian Art, vol 3,’ co-authored by his wife Phyllis Ackerman, Pope wrote: “The garden in all its splendid aspects is the basic theme of Persian carpets.”

“A Persian carpet is more like a garden than a rug,” Pope wrote. Gardens and the quest for paradise have been fundamental to Iranian thought from time immemorial. Gardens are a permanent feature in poetry, literature and the arts.

The first famed paradise carpet of note to be recorded was of the Sassanid ruler Khosrow I (531-571 CE). This lost paradise carpet was described by the famed Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (839-923 AD), an important source for the history of early Islam. He described the carpet at the Ctesiphon Palace of Kasra whose construction possibly began during the reign of Khosrow I.

The description says: “There was a huge carpet, depicting a garden with streams and paths, trees and beautiful spring flowers. The wide border all round showed flower beds of various colors… The ground was yellowish, to look like earth, and it was worked in gold. The edges of streams were made in stripes and between them stones bright as crystal gave the illusion of water, the size of pebbles being what pearls might be. The stalks and branches were gold or silver, the leaves of trees and flowers silk like the rest of the plants …”

Nosrati further explained that the garden was used to symbolize paradise in Iran. Such rugs often echo paradise gardens, particularly in ‘chahar bagh’ (4-garden) rugs.

Some of the featured rugs are of substantial size. “They are woven in the cities of Arak and Farahan in Markazi Province, Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi Province, as well as Isfahan and Kashan in Isfahan Province,” Nostrati said.

“They are made of silk, wool and cotton. Except for the rug from Mashhad which bears the name of ‘Akhavi,’ the other carpets have anonymous weavers,” he said. A total of 3,400 precious rugs are kept at the former royal Golestan Palace. It is located in downtown Tehran near the famous Arg Square.


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