This ‘millefleurs’ prayer rug, a reference to the delicate floral design worked across the entire field, is woven with wonderfully soft pashmina wool and remains in astonishingly good condition.
Among the 700 lots on offer within the sales there is particular strength among the works of art from the Mughal, Safavid and Ottoman Empires.
The sales offer an insight into the diversity of the religious, social and geographical influences on works of art and the craftsmen, artists and patrons who created them.
Contemporary images of Henri III are rare, and even more so in this form.
Painted in oil on paper mounted on panel, the portrait dates to the end of the 16th century and is an important piece of royal iconography.
In his article ‘Ten Thousand At A Glance’, ibid., Steven Cohen suggests that the designs of Mughal Kashmir shawls may have also influenced the development of the designs of the millefleurs prayer rugs.
The correlation between the composition of the millefleurs prayer rugs and the boteh design of mid 18th century Kashmir shawls is undeniable (see Steven Cohen, ibid., figs.
2 and 3, p.75) but it does not follow that the design originated with the shawl industry.
Historically the Habsburg prayer rug has been considered the earliest of the millefleurs prayer rugs, dated by most authorities to the late 17th century or early 18th century.
Also from Mughal India is a very elegant Lahore gallery carpet, lot 116, which relates to the famous Girdlers’ carpet, commissioned for the Girdlers’ livery company in the 1630s. Ritman Collection Purchased by the present owner at Sotheby’s New York, 12 April 1996, lot 78 Literature: Eberhart Herrmann, Seltene Orientteppiche, IX, Munich 1987, cover and pp.7-9 ‘Auction Reports – Mughal Mania’, Hali 87, July 1996, p.161 Steven Cohen, ‘Ten Thousand At A Glance’, Hali 88, September 1996, pp.74-77 Notes: The pashmina Mughal millefleurs prayer rugs are amongst the most revered and sought-after of all classical Indian carpets.