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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Velvet Fragment with Floral Design
Textile Arts
Work Type
17th century
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Safavid period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

cut and voided silk velvet with metal thread
104.5 x 69 cm (41 1/8 x 27 3/16 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Fund for the Acquisition of Islamic Art
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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An array of flowers and leaves grow from a single stem planted at the edge of a pond represented by cloud-like waves. These flowers repeat in horizontal rows, but the lively design creates the sense of a continuous and dynamic composition.

The ponds were once woven from metal threads wrapped around a white silk core that would have created a striking, glimmering effect. The individual botanical motifs were originally dyed with brighter colors that have now largely faded. These designs stand out because they are outlined in a darker color and since they are created from the silk pile of this luxurious velvet. Their surrounding areas are void of pile–creating an even greater contrast and emphasis on the animated, repeating pattern.

Publication History

  • Fogg Exhibit Explores Rich Tradition of Islamic Art, Harvard Gazette (July 25, 1980), p. 4, p. 4

Exhibition History

  • Birds, Beasts and Calligraphies, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/11/1981 - 09/29/1981
  • The Heavenly Court: Persian Poetry and Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/09/1985 - 03/31/1985
  • Islamic Art: The Power of Pattern, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/23/1989 - 01/17/1990
  • Woven, Hammered, and Thrown: Textiles and Objects from the Islamic World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/22/1991 - 08/18/1991
  • Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/08/1993 - 08/22/1993
  • Pattern and Purpose. Decorative Arts of Islam., Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/19/1994 - 07/03/1994
  • From Rhubarb to Rubies: European Travelers to Safavid Iran, 1550-1700, Houghton Library, Cambridge, 05/08/2008 - 08/20/2008

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at