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Carpets from Islamic Lands

Friedrich Spuhler


Surveys the finest classical carpets created in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, the Caucasus and India, now held in the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait


Among the most beautiful and precious textiles in the world, carpets from Islamic lands have been treasured for centuries on nearly every continent on earth. Prized by European monarchs and traded as far afield as Tibet and the Americas, these woven and knotted masterpieces are both distinguished works of art and revealing utilitarian objects that offer a rare glimpse of life in the Islamic world.

The third volume in Thames & Hudson's celebrated series cataloguing the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, Carpets from Islamic Lands features more than forty of the finest classical carpets created in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, the Caucasus and India between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, along with several important pre-Islamic carpet fragments. Carpet and textile expert Friedrich Spuhler describes this spectacular collection in the context of the history of Islamic art, recounting the carpets’ fascinating stories and celebrating their intricate designs and unparalleled craftsmanship.

Richly illustrated, including pictures of many carpets never before reproduced in print and even one that may have been lost forever following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, this volume is essential reading for modern admirers of oriental carpets, and a treasure in its own right.

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'The reader cannot help but be delighted by the quality of the images chosen. Absorbing the text is a pleasure. It informs as opposed to dictates … a masterful triumph'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.5 x 22.0 cm

Extent: 186 pp

Illustrations: 110

Publication date: 3 December 2012

ISBN: 9780500970331

Contents List

Preface by Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah • Acknowledgments • Introduction: The 2,500-Year History of Oriental Carpets • PART I PRE-CLASSICAL CARPETS Chapter 1: Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Carpets • Carpets from the Sasanian period • The early Islamic pre-classical period • PART II CLASSICAL CARPETS Chapter 2: Egypt • Mamluk carpets • Chessboard carpets • Chapter 3: Turkey • Seljuq carpets • Anatolian animal carpets • Ottoman carpets • “Holbein” and “Lotto” carpets • Star Ushak and Medallion Ushak carpets • Multiple-niche carpets (saff) and prayer carpets • Early village rugs from Anatolia • “Transylvanian” carpets • Late prayer rugs and their reception in Western collections • Chapter 4: Persia: Safavid carpets: the workshops • Safavid carpets: dating • Safavid carpets: pattern types • Compartment carpets • Medallion carpets Vine-scroll carpets • Vase carpets • Garden carpets • Safavid velvets • Chapter 5: Caucasus • Dragon and flower carpets • Chapter 6: India • Mughal carpets: pattern groups • Vine-scroll carpets • Floral garden carpets • Animal carpets

About the Author

Formerly a curator at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, Friedrich Spuhler is the author of numerous books on Islamic carpets and textiles.

List of Contributors

Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah