Ardabil Carpet

Ardabil Carpet

The Ardabil Carpet (Ardebil Carpet) is either of two famous Persian carpets which are currently held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Completed during the rule of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp I in the mid-16th century, probably in Tabriz, the carpets are considered some of the best of the classical Persian school of carpet creation. They were first placed in a Mosque in Ardabil, but they had been damaged in Iran and were sold in 1890cite book |last= Getty |first= J. Paul |authorlink= J. Paul Getty |title= As I See It: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty |url= |format= html |date= Revised 2003 edition |publisher= Getty Trust Publications |location= Los Angeles |isbn= 978-0-89236-700-9 |pages= pp. 270-271 |quote= ] to a British carpet broker who restored one of the carpets using the other and then resold it to the Victoria and Albert Museum. William Morris, then an art referee for the V&A, was instrumental in the acquisition.cite web |url= |title= "The Ardabil Carpet - a new perspective." |author= Lynda Hillyer (Head of Textile Conservation) and Boris Pretzel (Materials Scientist) |format= html |work= Victoria and Albert Museum, [ Conservation Journal] Spring 2005: Number 49 |quote= It was William Morris, in his capacity as one of the V&A's Art Referees, who persuaded the Museum to raise, with the aid of public subscription, the then vast sum of £2000 to purchase the carpet in March 1893. ]

The second "secret" carpet was sold to American businessmen Clarence Mackay and was exchanged by wealthy buyers for years. Passing through the Mackay, Yerkes, and De la Mare art collections, it was eventually revealed and shown in 1931 at an exposition in London. American industrialist J. Paul Getty saw it, and bought it from Lord Duveen for approximately $70,000 several years later. Getty was approached by agents on behalf of King Farouk of Egypt who offered $250,000 so that it could be given as a wedding present.cite web |url= |title= "J. Paul Getty buys art in Europe and the Pierre Hotel in New York." |format= html |work= |quote= He [Getty] paid £14000 for the piece once declared “not for sale” by Lord Joseph Duveen. Years later [in 1938] he turned down an offer of $250,000 from King Farouk of Egypt, who wanted the rug as a wedding present for his sister, when she married the Shah of Iran. ] Getty later donated the carpet to the Museum of Science, History, and Art in the Exposition Park in Los Angeles.

This most famous of Persian carpets has been the subject of endless copies ranging in size from small rugs to full scale carpets. There is an 'Ardabil' at 10 Downing Street and even Hitler had an 'Ardabil' in his office in Berlin.cite web |url= |title= "The Surprising Geometry of the Ardabil Carpet." |author= Jennifer Wearden (paper presented at [ Ars Textrina International Textiles Conference] July 1995, University of Leeds) |format= html |work= Victoria and Albert Museum |quote= ]

The foundation is of silk with wool pile of a knot density at 300-350 knots per square inch (470-540.000 knots per square metres, i.e. 26 million total knots). The size of the carpets are 34 1/2 feet by 17 1/2 feet ( 10,5 metres x 5,3 metres).cite web |url= |title= "The Ardabil Carpets." |author= |format= html |work= Jozan Magazine on Oriental Rugs |date= 31 January 2003 |quote= Sources: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, "The Oriental Rug Lexicon" by Peter F. Stone. ] The carpets have an inscription: a couplet from a ghazal by Persian mythic poet Hafez and a signature.cite web |url= |title= "The famous Ardebil Persian rug." |author= Shahram Razavi |format= html |work= (includes closeup photograph of central medallion) |quote= ]


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