Persian Carpet Fragments

Category: Exhibitions

16th- and 17th-Century Persian Carpet Fragments to be Exhibited at The Textile Museum September 1, 2006 – January 7, 2007

Pieces of a Puzzle: Classical Persian Carpet Fragments, an exhibition featuring 16th- and 17th-century Persian carpet fragments made in the Iranian province of Khorasan, will be on view at The Textile Museum September 1, 2006 – January 7, 2007.

Carpet fragment Compartment Design

Pieces of a Puzzle includes fragments of the two earliest Khorasan carpets known, dating from the 16th century. The exhibition brings together three surviving primary fragments of one of these carpets, reassembling them into their original configuration. The exhibition will also include a number of fragments of other pattern types dating from the 17th century. The 10 fragments on view are drawn from The Textile Museum’s own collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and from private collectors. Daniel Walker, Director of The Textile Museum, is the exhibition curator.

Fragment Portuguese carpet

For decades, scholars have tended to discuss Persian carpets, whether classical or from later periods, in terms of a general overview of many types. In the 1970s research focused on specific types or classes of rugs; in recent years, significant advances in knowledge have come from this particular approach. Classical Khorasan carpets are of a class characterized by superior wool and dyes, a broad palette featuring particular color combinations, exquisite drawing and distinctive knotting variations. Despite this, they have received scant attention – perhaps because of their often fragmentary nature.

By bringing together fragments from the same carpet, the exhibition aims to provide visitors with a sense of the scale and grandeur of the complete piece, and allow them to share in the process of research and discovery experienced by the curator.

Related Educational Programming

The Textile Museum Fall Symposium: “New Directions in Persian Carpet Studies” October 20 – 22, 2006

Carpet fragment

Complementing the exhibition Pieces of a Puzzle: Classical Persian Carpet Fragments, this weekend conference will explore the history and current state of Persian carpet studies, and will consider new and original work of potential interest. Participants will enjoy a rich program of presentations by scholars and researchers, receptions, exhibition tours and a “Show-and-Tell” of related textiles.

The morning program on Saturday, October 21 includes two longer lectures that will review the history of Persian carpet studies. The first will examine the period prior to 1970, when the basic guidelines still in use today were essentially laid out by scholars, many of whom were German. A second lecture will focus on the period from 1970 to the present, notable for emphasis on technical analyses and studies of specific carpet types or classes. In the afternoon, several lectures will explore current work in the field, with particular emphasis on new lines of research.

Fragment Multiple Medallion Carpet

For further information and to register:, call
(202) 667-0441, ext. 64 or e-mail

The Textile Museum is located at 2320 ‘S’ Street, NW in Washington, DC. The Museum is open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Source: Press release The Textile Museum Juli 2006

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