This fragment of a carpet with vases can be thought of as being the bottom left quarter of a carpet some 5 metres long and 2.5 metres wide. It belongs to an early group of carpets with vases produced in Safavid Iran, possibly in the region of Kirman in southeast Persia. The large vases in pale colours – which give their name to the group, the original Persian name having been lost – are disposed on the field at regular intervals, with the remainder of the blue ground covered by an artful floral composition. This has three different systems of scrolling tendrils designed in such a way as to create a staggered array of pointed oval fields. These are occupied by large fantastical flowers, which may be described as having palmette-, rosette- and bell-shaped blossoms. Smaller flowers, leaves and curling cloud bands are packed around so tightly as almost to give the impression of a continuous pattern, with the narrow apricot border, itself occupied by an undulating tendril, imposing a limit on an endless repeat. The few fragments of these early carpets with vases, none of which has survived complete, always inspire great admiration for their refined composition, their exceptionally varied colour with its subtle gradations, and the unusually high quality of the design of the individual motifs. Every detail points to the existence of a court workshop where the best carpet designers and most skilled workers combined to produce one of the greatest triumphs of Persian carpet manufacture. The reign of the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas I (1588-1629) would have provided ideal conditions for such an achievement.


  • Title: Carpet with Vases
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Late 16th century
  • Location: Iran
  • Physical Dimensions: w144 x h249 cm
  • Type: Rug
  • Medium: Wool and cotton
  • Inv. no.: I. 8/72
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814517
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Dietrich Graf || Text © Scala Publishers / Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jens Kröger
  • Collection: Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps