The Seley Carpet, Safavid period (1501–1722), late 16th century
Silk (warp), cotton (weft), wool (weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile; L. 280 in. (711.2 cm), W. 121 in. (307.3 cm)
Presented in memory of Richard Ettinghausen, Gift of Louis E., Theresa S., Hervey, and Elliot Jay Seley, and Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick and Fletcher Funds, 1978 (1978.550)
This is one of the finest Persian carpets known, produced when the art of carpet weaving had achieved its greatest perfection under the patronage of the Safavid shahs in the sixteenth century. Exceptional in its harmony of pattern and color, it combines the medallion scheme adapted from bookbindings with a field composed of a well-planned system of floral forms on scrolling vines and floating cloud bands of Chinese derivation. The medallions in the border are filled with felines and deer. The classic design is notable for the balance achieved between the formal symmetrical composition and the lively drawing style enriched by the many colors that further enhance the carpet's brilliance.