Antique Persian Afshar | 4ft 5in by 6ft 9in, 3rd quarter, 19th century




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This is a stunningly beautiful, collectible rug that achieves the level of splendor seen in very few rugs woven by the nomadic Afshar tribe. Its weaver created a highly emotive design that evidences enormous spontaneity, yet is also very thoughtfully managed. Although other South Persian tribes used darker palettes that have a more subdued nature, the finest Afshars venture into more exuberant palettes like this piece. The result is a much more upbeat ambiance.

Aptly capturing the joyfulness of a field of spring flowers, soft apricot, tangerine, pumpkin and vermilion increase the rug’s vitality. A clearly very mature weaver used one of the signature Afshar designs, an allover pattern of stylized blossom motifs, as a jumping off point to create a composition that is electrified by the abundance of splendid rare orange and saffron hues.  She deftly grounded this expressive palette through a contrasting sapphire blue field that is brightened by delicate ivory tendrils. The effect is entrancing and honestly often makes me chuckle.

Rather than being a simple frame, the border is a unique depiction of pairs of seedpods, known as “boteh”, that seemingly dance in their frame and further emphasize the rug’s joie de vivre. Its condition is superb with even medium pile and original edges and ends.