Sotheby's has an auction coming up in London, New Bond Street October 8, 2008, Sale L08222. In previewing their catalog, we noted a pictorial Lavar Kerman which are sometimes referenced as a "Dance of the Nymph" designs which is believed to stem from a wall hanging in Shah Nasir al'Din's Golestan Palace, a Persian King known to favor European art.*
In this entry, we compare and contrast two individual carpets, Lot 348 from Sotheby's upcoming sale, and a rug we found in the possession of a private collector.
BELOW: Lot 348, Sale L08222
Approximately 307 by 220cm., 10ft. 1in. by 7ft. 3in.
Circa 1910 near original condition, original sides and ends, some oxidation to browns and taupes.
"The Arcadian scene depicted in this carpet clearly reflects European
influences infiltrating Persia
in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It shows Pomona, goddess of fruit and orchards,
dancing to music played by the seated Vertumnus, god of the seasons and change
who, according to Ovid, was able to take any form. Here, Vertumnus is in the
guise of a faun, and is entertaining the goddess by playing the aulos. The
depiction of this Ovidian fable is not a only a sign of general European
influences over the carpet production in Kirman at the turn of the century, but
the interpretation of a specific work of western art. The cartoon for the lot
offered here was based on a Gobelins tapestry entitled 'Dance of the Nymph,'
from the series Subjects of the Roman Fables, after Raphael, woven on
three occasions for Louis XIV between 1686 and 1704. The story of Vertumnus and
particularly popular in the eighteenth century and it was immortalized in a
myriad of art forms from textiles to porcelain. With the revival of historic
styles in the second half of the nineteenth century, the story of the goddess
of fruit and the god of the seasons became well-known and fashionable again. In
various forms it eventually reached those far corners of the world where
European art was becoming very much in demand with rulers who were seeking
respect from western governments of the time. Royal residences across Persia and Turkey were often decorated in
lavish European styles and western furnishing was used to decorate rooms. Shah
Nasir al'Din (1848-1898) was one those rulers with a taste for European art,
and he had a copy of 'Dance of the Nymph' hanging in the Golestan Palace,
presumably providing specific inspiration for the cartoon for carpets with this
design, such as the present lot. In fact, there are numerous pieces with the
design are known, including one of particularly high quality sold in these
rooms on 17 April, 2007. Other rugs with identical or very similar compositions
were recently offered at Sotheby's London on 17
April, 2007; Sotheby's New York, 6 June, 2007
and Christie's London,
29 April, 2004, lot 50."*
BELOW: Private Collector's Rug
This carpet is believed to be slightly smaller in size and woven with lower knot density.
Above: Striking similarities in design comparing the two different rugs.
Above: Although both rugs are similar, there are some significant differences which are seen between the borders. The Sotheby's rug has a much more ornate border integrating far more flowers, more traditionally known as a classic "Milfleur" Design.
As seen in the image above, it is apparent detail was not spared in the field whatsoever of the Private Collector's Rug.
Above: Note the sig