Sunday, April 09, 2006

The spring of Khosrow

Looking at images of a carpet at Sacramento Airport by Seyed Alavi, with its design showing satellite views of the Sacremento River, reminded me that one of the most famous of all carpets was made to illustrate a landscape. This was The Spring of Khosrow, a vast silk Persian carpet (84 x 35ft) depicting a royal garden. According to Penelope Hobhouse ( in The History of Gardening), it “used golden threads to represent the earth, shimmering crystal for the rills, and pearls for the gravel paths. Fruit trees in the geometric plots had trunks and branches shaped in silver and gold with precious stones representing flowers and fruit.”  It was also known as The Winter Carpet because it could be used when the weather was too bad to experience real gardens.  Sadly in 637, when the invading Arab army found the carpet at Ctesiphon, they cut it up and divided the pieces among themselves. However, the tradition of depicting gardens on Persian carpets has continued.

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