Arabian Nights Silk on Silk Pictorial Rug Hand Knotted 2.5ft x 4ft
Kashmir is proud to present a rare assemblage of pictorial rugs from various parts of the world. Pictorial rugs with images of people are extremely rare, as most of the rugs are adorned with floral or geometric patterns. The first evidence of rug design dates back to the 9th century BCE, and the oldest know pictorial rug is from the 6th century BCE. The subject of pictorial rugs include kings and leaders, stories from the Bible or the Koran, and legendary heroes and poets.
Kashmiri art and handicrafts go back over 500 years, with design inspiration from Persia and other nearby nations. Dating back to 1398, Taimur invaded India, and the Sultan Sikander of Kashmir came to terms with the invaders. As part of his tribute to the invaders, he sent his son back with the Amir to Samaekand, his capital. Taimur, in addition to his military ambitions, aspired also to be a great patron of the arts, letters and philosophy. Therefore, the exile for the young Kashmiri prince proved instructive and stimulating, and he made good use of this rare opportunity. When he returned and ascended the throne in Srinagar as Zain-ul-Abedin in 1423, he collected around him skilled craftsmen and artist who began the great art tradition of Kashmir.
Over time, carpet weaving in Kashmir has attained extraordinary levels, and can claim some of the finest hand-knotted carpets in the world. While retaining the original techniques, great advancements have been made. The pile itself is now made of the fine silk from mulberry worms raised in Kashmir expressly for these carpets. The resulting sheen and luster give interplay of infinite reflections, and become even richer over time as they are used. The density of knots has been refined to achieve suppleness unknown in Persian carpets of wool. Still cottage industries, these works of art are woven in the artisan’s home, with various family members assisting. The pattern, or taleem, is “sung” and pliant weaver’s fingersrespond by creating specific number of knots in a particular color.
An Urdu couplet says:
“They are purse proud in the world that can practice some handicraft.
The fingers of a craftsman are the keys to the treasury of Kashmir.”