Samite: silk, gilt- and silver-metal thread
Overall: 50.1 x 27.5 cm (19 3/4 x 10 13/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2003.96
Twelve jewel-like colors of silk thread illustrate the vivacity of colors extolled in Iranian flowers on gilt- and silvermetal thread grounds. In a simplified semi-naturalistic style, swaying branches support an exuberant array of blossoms in the Safavid tradition while the botanical accuracy of European prints inspired flora in varied angles and stages of maturity. Although celebrated in Iranian poetry for centuries, flowers were not featured in paintings and textiles until the 1640s, inspired by European herbals.
This sturdy silk retains its radiant colors in contrast with many silks that have faded from excessive light exposure, especially the reds and pinks which were dyed with lightsensitive safflower dyestuff.
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