Senneh Prayer Kilim


Northwest Persia, 19th century
182 x 121 cm (6’ x 4’)
Condition: very good according to age, both upper edges restored, scattered small old repairs
Warp: wool, weft: wool

This lovely, colourful example of the rare prayer kilims presents three different textile designs. Cashmere textiles, either from India or from Persia, were highly prized items within Qajar society. Therefore, it is no surprise to find their designs in equally fine luxury city kilims from Senne and its surrounding areas.

The main field in the head-and-shoulder mihrab shows botehs on a blue ground, such as we can find in depictions of costumes in Qajar paintings from the end of the 18th century onwards. In most Sehna kilims, as in our piece, the botehs turn to one side, but sometimes they march in different directions. (See HALI 115, p. 111.)

In the spandrel above we see strips related to Persian kani weaving, which were used not only for clothing but also in the Naksi embroidered trouser ends of the Zoroastrian community. The third textile design is found in the red-and-white border that provides an almost exact representation of Persian cashmere weave, with small flowers in narrow strips.

A similar prayer kilim but with the reverse arrangement of the field and spandrel designs was sold in Wiesbaden as part of the Vok collection (R&B, Vok collection Selection 3, p. 97). That example had the same main border, while the minor borders were once again flower meanders but this time on a white ground. It differed in the shape of the mihrab as it belonged to the smaller subgroup in which the head-and-shoulder mihrab is replaced by a simple pyramid shape.

The Kurdish weavers of Senne and its surrounding areas managed to produce the finest and most elaborate weavings among Persian kilims. Their refined city taste counterpoints wonderfully the nomad weavings of the southern Caucasus.

Published: Rippon Boswell, 13 November 1993, Lot 142.

Estimate: € 8000 - 14000

Startpreis / Startingbid

4 000 €

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