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Posted on: October 8, 2019

Find It At The Met – Safavid Textile Fragment

Good design is timeless, and that is certainly the case with this sixteenth century Safavid textile fragment. Its floral motif and colorway are just as mesmerizing now as they were six hundred years ago.

A yellow, orange and green silk flower pattern sits on a blue velvet field in this Safavid era textile fragment.

Measuring 8.5″ x 8″, this silk velvet Safavid textile fragment depicts a floral pattern repeated on a blue field. Offset rows of yellow, blue, pink and orange bouquets weave their way up the piece. Floral motifs are common in Safavid era design. Of course flowers have always been a central theme in Persian textiles because of the cultural value of Persian gardens. In this case, however, the style and colors of the floral motif show the importance and influence that European markets had on Safavid textile manufacturers.

A yellow, orange and green silk flower pattern sits on a blue velvet field in this Safavid era textile fragment.

Although this Safavid textile was woven in Persia, its colors and the style of its floral motif are of a European spirit. This cross-continental exchange can be attributed to the Silk Road, an important trade route connecting China to Europe through Persia. The flower style and colors show the effect that the European buyers had on Persian textiles during the Safavid era. Silk velvet fabrics were in high demand at the height of the Safavid dynasty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. European nobility used these luxury textiles for clothing as well as home decor.

To see this piece in person, visit the Islamic wing at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. And to find Safavid-inspired treasures for your own home, visit us at Orley Shabahang.