Mughal millefleur carpet
North India, Kashmir or Lahore,
second half of 17th century
Pashmina wool pile (780 knots per sq.inch),
silk warps and wefts.
Purchased with the help of the beneficiaries of Sir David Ross and the Friends of the Ashmolean.
This superb millefleur carpet is one of the most important of its kind to survive and one of the outstanding objects in the Museum’s collection of Mughal Indian art.
The very finely knotted Ashmolean carpet, with its deep wine-red ground, is a highly refined example of the millefleur type. In its main field, diverse floral sprays, blossoms, leaves and palmettes are connected by scrolling vines in repeating pattern units. The border, however, reveals a more typically Indian inspiration with its scrolling pattern of lotus buds and flowers. The lotus recurs throughout Indian art, not only as a decorative element as here, but as a symbol of the primordial waters, the energy of nature, of purity and (in Hindu-Buddhist contexts) the realisation of Enlightenment.