Opulent Farewell to Carpets at CNY
‘Opulence’, at Christie’s New York on Thursday 13th April 2017 has a strong focus on 19th century furniture and decorative arts, including 34 rugs and carpets.
These are the last such rugs and carpets to be seen for sale at Rockefeller Center, at least for the foreseeable future, as Christie’s have decided that they will no longer offer carpets in New York unless in an exceptional situation such as a single owner sale. As a consequence, the New York carpet specialist Elisabeth Poole Parker is stepping down after 21 years in Christie’s rug department. HALI and all our readers wish her well.
The likely carpet highlight of the sale is lot 246, a late Qajar period Kerman pictorial carpet with inscriptions indicating that it was ‘Ordered by Sardar Mohtasham Bakhtiari, Governor of Kerman and Baluchistan’ and ’Commissioned by Muhammad Reza Khan from the Workshop of Ali Kermani ’. The design of this carpet, and at least four other known examples, was based on a Louis XIV Gobelins tapestry, La Danse d’une nymphe, which was woven for Louis XIV on three separate occasions between 1686 and 1704, after a drawing by Raphael (1483-1520). The scene depicts the nymph Pomona with Vertumnus in the guise of a faun playing the Pan-pipes seated next to a plinth in a verdant landscape evoking Arcadia, the idyllic home of the fertility god Pan.
Another fine carpet on offer is the Boone Ningxia lion-dog daybed cover, lot 224, woven in northwest China in the during the Qing period in the early 18th century, and depicting at the centre of its ‘longevity’ pattern field a medallion withja pair of lion-dogs encircling a coin. Michael Franses notes that there are only eight lion-dog carpets from the early 18th century, with the Boone carpet being among the earliest (Classical Chinese Carpets I. Lion-Dogs and Hundred Antiques , London, 2000, p. 44)