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Posted on: July 23, 2019

Antique Spotlight – Tree of Life Carpet

This week we take a look at this Persian Tree of Life carpet from Isfahan. It dates back to the late 19th century, but its excellent condition speaks volumes to its inherent beauty and craftsmanship.

This Persian Isfahan Tree of Life carpet from 1890 shows an Arabesque gateway around a central medallion that is protected by four phoenixes.

This Tree of Life carpet from Isfahan was created with vegetable-dyed, handspun wool that was hand-knotted on a cotton weft in 1890. Its arabesque borders encompass an arched gateway that is filled with flowers and birds of paradise. The floral and curvilinear design of this carpet is beautifully proportioned and visually balanced in its coloration of light reds, golds and blues amid a neutral cream backdrop. It measures 4’10” x 6’11” and is in excellent antique condition.

This Persian Isfahan Tree of Life carpet from 1890 shows an Arabesque gateway around a central medallion that is protected by four phoenixes.

Every motif in this antique Isfahan is a symbol that tells a viewer the story of the carpet. There is a depiction of paradise within the arched gateway – a symmetrical pair of trees and a foursome of phoenixes. The concept of the Tree of Life dates back to the Zoroastrian creation myth of ancient Persia. It remained relevant in this antique carpet’s inception as the Tree of Life represents the Garden of Eden in Islam. Furthermore, the phoenix exemplifies a spiritual guide in Persian myth and folklore. Finally, the central medallion is a literal and metaphorical point from which the rest of the design grows. It relates back to the first pillar of Islam, Tawhid, which states that there is only one god who sustains the universe.

A detailed image of this Persian Tree of Life carpet from Isfahan shows trees around a central medallion filled with flowers as well as two yellow phoenixes with wings of red, white, and blue.

To see more of Orley Shabahang’s world renowned antique collection, visit our 1stDibs storefront or our website. To touch and feel of these pieces of history, however, you can stop by an Orley Shabahang showroom or the new 1stDibs gallery.