A Safavid silk velvet figural Panel depicting a mother holding her child beside a cypress and pomegranate tree Persia, early 17th Century
Lot 60*
A Safavid silk velvet figural Panel depicting a mother holding her child beside a cypress and pomegranate tree
Persia, early 17th Century
Sold for £57,500 (US$ 93,164) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Safavid silk velvet figural Panel depicting a mother holding her child beside a cypress and pomegranate tree
Persia, early 17th Century
of irregular square form, depicting a motif of mother and child standing by a cypress and pomegranate tree, the mother wearing necklaces and earrings, draped in diaphanous robe with bosom exposed, the lower segment of the robe rendered in bright gold, her lips decorated in pink and tresses intertwined with flowers, the child with a small pendant medallion, the trees rendered with brilliant colours with brown branches, yellow and pink leaves, blue and teal fruits, the upper left with a feline figure in mid stride
28 x 27 cm. max.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection;
    Acquired from Francesca Galloway in 2011;
    Lisbet Holmes Collection, London.

    Published: Francesca Galloway, Islamic Courtly Textiles and Trade Goods from 14th to 19th Centuries, Exhibition Catalogue, London, April 2011, p. 13

    This fine and exquisite example of Safavid woven velvet is part of a small group of four that were found together in Tibet and sold through Spink and Son in London circa 1983. One of the other panels appeared in Christie's, Arts of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, 5 October 2010, Lot. 248; and the other is in the David Collection (see Kjeld von Folsach and Anne-Marie Kleblow Bernstead, Woven Treasures: Textiles from the World of Islam, Copenhagen 1993, p. 112.)

    Exhibiting a brilliance, finesse and richness that is characteristic of the most accomplished examples of Safavid textile production, the present woven velvet panel was almost certainly a royal commission from the court of Shah Abbas I (AD 1588-1629) and quite probably presented as a diplomatic gift to a European counterpart.

    One of the key features of this group of textiles is their clear European influence, particularly in their depiction of the distinctly Christian subject matter of mother and child. The features and costume of the woman are not strictly Safavid and her round facial features indicate she may be of European or Central Asian origin.

    The influence of Christianity is well documented in Shah Abbas' reign, in particular as a result of the mass resettlement of Armenians in Persia and the presence of Christian ministries and delegations which were active participants in Safavid court life.

    The present work marks an era of increasing rapprochement and courtship of the West, when the Safavid monarchs sought to offset the threat posed by their Ottoman neighbours through increasing ties with England and Portugal.

    Delicately rendered and technically refined, the present work is a rare and important example of Safavid textile production at its artistic zenith.
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