The earliest example of a garden carpet outside of Asia, and produced under the Safavid dynasty in Kirman, southeastern Iran, the carpet is one of the masterpieces of the Burrell Collection (Glasgow, Scotland). The unprecedented loan of this rare and important textile is possible only because the Burrell Collection is currently undergoing a refurbishment of its building and redisplay of its collection.
This loan is made possible by The Mossavar-Rahmani Fund for Iranian Art.
At The Met, the "Wagner" Garden Carpet will be presented along with an additional eight historical carpets from the Museum's collection, also made in Iran and newly installed for this purpose, which will provide context. The carpets will be located in the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Gallery (gallery 462), which features masterpieces created under the imperial Safavid dynasty in the 16th and 17th centuries and its successors.
Through their design, garden carpets evoke an image of the ancient Iranian "chahar-bagh" -- four-quartered garden with water channels that divide the walled garden and meet at a central pool. In the "Wagner" carpet, the garden, which depicts eternal springtime, also teems with life. The trees, bushes, and shrubs are abloom; animals (both predators and prey), birds of all types, multicolored butterflies and moths inhabit the landscape; and fish and ducks populate the waterways. Shimmering water is cunningly illustrated by a lattice pattern drawn with varied thicknesses of line and color.
The "Wagner" Garden Carpet measures 531 x 432 cm (17.42 x 14.17 feet) and was woven with cotton warps; wool, cotton, and silk wefts; and wool pile. Kirman was a well-known carpet-making city in the Safavid period. The carpet acquired the name Wagner from a previous owner.
Education programs include a Friday Lecture by Dr. Noorah Al-Gailani, Curator of Islamic Civilisations, Glasgow Museum --The Burrell Collection, on September 28, at 4 and 6 p.m. This event is part of MetFridays: New York's Night Out.
The installation is organized at The Met by Sheila Canby, the Patti Cadby Birch Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art.
Following its display at The Met, the Burrell Collection will tour the Wagner Garden Carpet to partner museums in North America (details to follow).
About the Burrell Collection
The internationally recognized Burrell Collection includes some 9,000 items ranging from prehistory to Impressionism. The holdings are particularly strong in late medieval art; Chinese ceramics, bronzes and jades; Islamic pile carpets; and French 19th-century paintings. The Burrell Collection which is undergoing a major refurbishment is due to re-open late 2020.
About The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City -- The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.