Posted on: March 23, 2021

Staff Pick: Antique Persian Tree of Life Hunting Scene Carpet

Carpets remain a classic medium for Persian storytelling. Within the carpet’s pile, the art of storytelling has been passed down from generation to generation through one-of-a-kind masterpieces. This week’s Staff Pick is this incredible Tree of Life Hunting scene carpet. Continue reading to learn about this carpet’s story and its symbolism.

In Persian carpets, a rough distinction is drawn between the two carpets that artisans weave, village carpets and city carpets. Village carpets are rustic and tribal in design. City carpets differ because they incorporate a more refined weave and are typically pre-planned designs of a master weaver. These carpets typically take longer to complete but provide more detail and clarity in the motifs. Their specifics may differ, but themes such as Persian gardens and the circle of life can be found in almost all fine Persian carpets, in either city or village pieces.

Traditionally, carpet designs describe the circle of life in a less masculine way. Five brown trees outlined in red or black detailing represent the tree of life and symbolize our connection between life and earth. In shades of blue, green, pink, purple, and cream wool, blooms of flowers symbolize the tranquil side of nature. As the branches cross and intertwine, birds appear in cream, gold, and black, cautious of approaching predators. Below the canopy, a more intense story is told. Amongst the hunting scenes, flowers gently sit upon the blue background. Camouflaging themselves with the design, bees, butterflies, and caterpillars hide from the birds above. A multi-level border surrounds the field design and is home to additional hunting scenes and tree of life motifs. Though less dramatic than the field, the artisan also incorporated more cheerful motifs, including bird nests, hunting dogs, along with flowers and butterflies.

Not completely atypical in Persian city carpets, hunting scenes are usually less graphic in other examples. As part of the Orley Shabahang Antique collection, this carpet is an exceptional piece. If you like this antique Persian Tehran, look at our antique collection on our website or our digital showroom on 1stdibs.