#20231 Indian Agra: circa 1850

Agra Carpet
Northern India
8’0” x 10’0”
Circa 1850


Warp: cotton, white, natural, Z-6 to 8-S
Weft:    cotton, white, natural, Z-3-S, Z-4-S, Z-5-S
2 shoots of weft alternating either 1 straight and 1 wavy, or both shoots straight.
Knots: wool, Z-2
Either Persia (asymmetrical) knots open left, horizontal.  15 x vertical 13 = 195/in².
Persian (asymmetrical) jufti knots, open left, horizontal.  7.5 x vertical 13 = 98/in².
Alternate warps depressed 80-90°
Finishes: not original


This carpet is an excellent mid 19th century interpretation of a classical c.1600 Indo-Isfahan in the iconic in-and-out palmette and cloudband pattern, on a claret red lac ground.  The pattern is not centered and the actual vertical axis of the design is displaced approximately 9” to the right.  In a larger carpet it would be exactly centered, but it should be noted that even period rugs in this pattern may have design offsets.  The ability to shift the pattern indicates the use of a cartoon or a talim (a coded pattern book “read” out loud by a “talim reader”).

The border also follows the classical manner closely with an in-and-out palmette and thin vine design on a nicely abrashed sapphire blue ground.  The inner directional arrow head border also is consistent with the classical model.

The detail colors of blue-green, orange-ochre, tan, dark brown and buff are also traditional.

It is still an open question as to whether the classical prototypes are Persian (Isfahan) or Indian (Agra), but only Agra carpets of the 19th century carry on the design tradition virtually unchanged, although the long and narrow 17th century format has been replaced by more Western proportions.  Many Agra carpets, often of exceptional size, were woven by inmates of the local jail, but this is more likely to be a regular creation of fine quality by a local merchant.

The Jufti knots occur in areas of plain color and in irregular patches overall.  They may be seen both on the front and back of the rug.  The use of Jufti knots, allowing for quicker execution, seems to have appeared in Agra around 1800 and is an import from Khorossan in NE Persia where it is the standard knotting technique.  Although the weaving quality of jufti-knotted carpets in often severely compromised if their overall wool quality is low, their carpet is piled in excellent quality wool and the knots are closely packed.  As a result, it has aged well and is still in fine condition.  It is a decorative carpet with no elements of later design trends or tastes.

to view this rug on our website, please use this link:  http://www.rahmanan.com/inventory/show/20231/


*written by Peter Saunders, edited by Katrina Mauro


About Rahmanan Antique & Decorative Rugs

Rahmanan deals with the sales and service of antique rugs, tapestries, and kilims. Inventory includes, but is not limited to, Turkish, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian, Moroccan, European, Caucasian, American, and Navajo pieces. We also have antique quilts.
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