Wall cover with flora, peacocks, and portrait medallions

Wall cover with flora, peacocks, and portrait medallions

1800s

Taffeta, hand-painted, block-printed: silk and pigments

Overall: 82.6 x 194.3 cm (32 1/2 x 76 1/2 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1483

Location

Description

The European fashion of installing Chinese export silks with painted decoration as luxurious wall coverings may have inspired this exceptional Iranian silk. European engravings, which had flooded the Iranian market by the 19th century, most likely inspired the pattern. This rare silk fabric with painted figural and foliate decoration may have been a luxurious wall covering in a palace or grand mansion in the city of Kashan where mural paintings display similar 19th-century designs. Glistening silver pigment originally formed the palmette-leaf compartment outlines (now mostly deep yellow) that display colorful blossoming plants enlivened with now tarnished silver peacocks. At their junctures, portrait medallions of Iranian princesses are distinctly Qajar in attire and style, as are the composite blossoming plants.

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