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'Dance of the Nymph' Interesting Pictorial Lavar Kirman Comparison

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. 


Sotheby's Sale L08222

BELOW: Lot 348,  Sale L08222  


Lavar Kirman Pictorial Carpet Lot 348



Approximately 307 by 220cm., 10ft. 1in. by 7ft. 3in.


Circa 1910 near original condition, original sides and ends, some oxidation to browns and taupes.

Detail Laver Kirman Circa 1910 Persian Rug


Catalog Note:

"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 Pomona was 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

Private Collector's Pictorial Kerman Similar to Lot 348 offered by Sotheby's in October 2008

Cherub Comparison Between Sotheby's Lot and Private Collector's Rug

Above:  Striking similarities in design comparing the two different rugs. 

Border Comparison between Two Laver Kermans

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.

Detail of Pictorial Kerman from Private Collector

As seen in the image above, it is apparent detail was not spared in the field whatsoever of the Private Collector's Rug.

Pictorial Antique Kerman with Signature

Above:  Note the sig

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