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Wagner garden carpet

Cotton and wool Garden Carpet, Ispahan, possibly late 16th century or early 17th century

Cotton and wool Garden Carpet, Ispahan, possibly late 16th century or early 17th century

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The Wagner Garden Carpet is one of the most amazing garden carpets to have survived to the present. It was produced during the Safavid period in 17th century Kirman, a well known carpet-making city in south-eastern Iran. The layout of the carpet evokes an image of the earthly paradise as inspired by both the ancient Iranian ‘chahar-bagh’ – four-quartered garden – and the description of Paradise in the Quran. Water channels divide the walled garden, and meet at a central pool. On the banks of the waterways trees, bushes and shrubs blossom and bloom all at the same time; and animals (both predators and pray), birds of all types, multi-coloured butterflies and moths inhabit the garden. Fish and ducks populate the waterways, who’s shimmering waters are cunningly illustrated by the drawing of a lattice pattern with varied thicknesses of line and colour.

This carpet was purchased by Sir William Burrell in 1939, and he donated it with his collection to the City of Glasgow in 1944. It measures 5.31 m long and 4.32 m wide; and is made up of cotton warps; wool, cotton and silk wefts; and wool pile. It acquired its name ‘Wagner’ from a previous owner who acquired it at the beginning of the 20th century.

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