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Dragon Rug

Artist/maker unknown, Caucasian

Possibly made in Shemakha, Shirvan Province, Caucasus, Iran, Asia

17th - 18th century


17 feet x 7 feet 10 inches (518.2 x 238.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

* Gallery 206, European Art 1100-1500, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Sharples family in memory of Philip M. Sharples, 1948

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Three pairs of stylized, black-brown dragons are the focus of this bold and striking carpet. The dragon motif originated in China and became widely known from Persian miniature paintings.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Dragons and other Chinese motifs were introduced into the ceramics, paintings, and textiles of Islamic countries after the Mongol invasions from Central Asia in the thirteenth century. Monumental showpieces such as this rug were most likely woven on commission at one of the great commercial weaving centers of the Caucasus. This sole example of a complete dragon rug takes its name from the three pairs of dark brown dragons that run along either side of the central column of abstract floral designs. Surrounding the dragons are jagged-edged bands representing phoenixes. Any naturalism in portraying the animal or plant world yields here to the dynamic rhythm and organization of the dramatic overall geometric pattern, shown against a brilliant red ground, which combine to make this the most stunning example of such rugs in any museum. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 66.

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