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Sotheby's Judaica, Dec 17, 2008. A Hebrew Silk Kashan Rug Lot 128


Judaica Sale Antique Silk Hebrew KashanSotheby's December 17, 2008.  Important Judaica, New York, NY. 

LOT 128:

A kashan PICTORIAL silk rug

20,000—30,000 USD 

SOLD $22,000 USD including buyer premium 


6 feet 5 1/2 inches by 4 feet 5 inches

Alternate measurements
197 by 135 cm. 


Depicting King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and appropriately titled in Hebrew (1 Kings 10), below six panels enclosing opposing animals flanked by niches containing flowering vases, the main border composed of twenty nine panels depicting biblical events and places



London, The Jewish Museum, n.d.


Anton Felton, Jewish Carpets, Suffolk, 1997, no. 1 pp. 58-60 (illustrated)
Ross Dunn, A World History, McDougal, Little & Co., 1988, p. 71
Werner Daum, Die Konigin Von Saba, Belser Verlag, 1988, p. 121
Abba Eban, Heritage, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1984, p. 43
"Splendours of the Past", National Geographic, 1981, p. 90
The Jewish World, ed. Elie Kedourie, Thames and Hudson, 1979, pp. 85, 156, 157


This charming carpet, created as religious wall-hanging meant to convey Judaism's basic ideologies, is the earliest dated carpet in the Anton Felton collection. Created in the nineteenth century, it depicts the legendary visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon to test his legendary wisdom, as described in I Kings 10: "And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, and what he had done in the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with riddles"(Kings 10:1).

This biblical story, only briefly mentioned in here and in Chronicles has nevertheless had an impact on the imagination of artists in Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and Ethiopian traditions throughout the ages. From the 12th century onward, Solomon and Sheba often appeared as a pair and among the masters who depicted the two are found Tintoretto, Rubens, Bosch, and Claude Lorrain.Detail Silk Kashan Pictorial Antique


Twenty-nine detailed panels on the carpet enclose Solomon and Queen Sheba to recount the early history of the Jewish people. Symbols of the twelve tribes are depicted and titled, along with significant Judaic events and venues. These vignettes include those featuring two important synagogues in Jerusalem's Old City; the burial place of the Patriarchs in Hebron; the sacrifice of Isaac; Pharoah's daughter discovering Moses, and the Western Wall of Solomon's Temple.

The asymmetrical elements shown, such as Six Steps of 1 Kings 10 Silk Rugthe columns surrounding the six steps and the frame encircling King Solomon and Queen of Sheba are the weaver's intentional devices, meant to emphasize the belief that only God can create something perfect.

-Sotheby's Catalogue, December 17 Important Judaica Sale 2008. 


Rug Rag Response:

December 4, 2008, we had the opportunity to see this rug in person.  There are various other versions of Judaic rugs which exist, however, this particular weave is very fine.  The design execution is fantastic, with high attention to detail.  

Colors are absolutely incredible in person.  The dyes are spectacular, with rich jewel tones and excellent saturation, not bright or garish. 

knot density is very high, measuring approximately 17x22 ( Using standard US quarter slightly smaller than 1"x1") or ~374+ KPSI.

On the reverse side of the rug at the top there is a carefully sewn sleeve for wall hanging/display

A very fine example with historic importance.

Lot 128, Fine silk Judaic Kashan  

Below:  Excellent example of very fine design execution.  Note the rich burgundy color of the seat fabric, with exceptionally defined floral pattern.  

Seated Solomon 

Below: Knot density measured using a US quarter (just under 1"x1") approximately 17 Vertical knots and 22 horizontal.  Approx. kpsi ~374+.

KPSI for antique silk Kashan

Below: Reverse side of Lot 128.  A sleeve has been sewn on for proper hanging and wall display. 

Fabric Sleeve sewn for Wall hanging/display

Lower portion of Silk Kashan Pictorial Rug


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May 22. 2009 16:19

Brent Yalkut

I own a similarly themed rug to this kashan rug hanging in my home. Mine is somewhat larger, though. I am interested in selling it, but would like more information about its origin. I can send photos to show it.

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Brent Yalkut

May 22. 2009 17:36


Here's the link for images we need, just copy and paste:

You can e-mail them to us directly, although private consultation has a fee, the Oriental Rug Forum is free:


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