Turkey or Iran
16th or 17th century
silk, with metal thread; slit-tapestry weave
212 x 84cm
The main field is entirely filled with a design incorporating a number of chinoiserie elements. The dominant motifs are sprays of flowers, which branch out from a vertical stem dressed with fantastic composite blossoms. This floral ‘tree’ grows from an ornate vase which rests on a curious device set with a pair of phoenix heads, and it is inhabited by a pair of snarling felines. The upper corners of the field are filled with a pair of chinoiserie clouds, while the lower corners are filled with sprays of flowers that rise from the phoenix-headed device. the sprays have been bent to fit the composition. Like the tulips sprouting from the vase, this last feature is most characteristic of Ottoman floral ornament. A kilim of this type (now in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum in Ingolstadt in Bavaria) was captured from the tent of the Ottoman grand vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha at the relief of Vienna in 1683.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.394, pp.332–3.