Niche Rug

wool pile with metal thread, on a silk foundation; asymmetrical knot

164 x 102cm

This is one of four identical niche carpets, with spiral arabesque scroll filling and cartouches with the Ayat al-Kursi (surah al-Baqarah, II, verse 255) and verse 56 of the surah al-Ahzab (XXXIII). These verses are an integral part of Shi‘ite daily prayers. The niche design of these carpets suggests that they would have been hung on a wall facing Mecca, to serve as a mihrab [see TXT 186, TXT 198 for Ottoman examples].

J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.398, p.335.