Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ardabil Carpet at Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA

Later this year, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), will exhibit the famous Ardabil Carpet for a short period of time, in November 2009.

There are two magnificent Persian carpets called the Ardabil Carpets. Their exact origins remain unknown. They are said to have come from a complex of shrines and mosques at Ardabil in North West Iran, the burial place of Shaikh Safi al-Din Ardabily, ancestor of Shah Ismail, founder of the Safavid dynasty. This dynasty ruled Iran from 1501 to 1733. At one end of the Ardabil carpet, a cartouche contains an inscription which dates to 1539/40 AD.

One Ardabil Carpet is in Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The other piece is in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA.

Here is some preliminary information on the piece which is in Victoria & Albert Museum in London :

Size: 17' 6" x 34' 6" or 5.34 x 10.51 meter

Weft: Un-dyed silk (beige) 3 paired shoots after each row of knots

Warp: Un-dyed silk (beige) 35 threads per square inch
Knot: asymmetrical (Senneh or Farsi); 340 per square. inch
Pile: wool, 10 colors: white, black, green, yellow, three shades of blue, and three shades of red

Purchased in sum of £2000 in March 1893

Unknown to the Victoria & Albert Museum at the time, there was a more finely knotted second Ardabil carpet, which is now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This carpet has lost its borders and part of its central field; a portion of the missing areas are used to repair the carpet owned by the V&A.

The size of the Ardabil Carpet kept at LACMA is 13' 2" x 23' 7" or 4.00 x 7.18 meter.

I will write more on this exciting and one of a kind event later.

Khosrow Sobhe
Certified Rug Specialist (CRS)

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