Lecture | Flower/Power: The Legacy of Persian Carpets


Flower/Power: The Legacy of Persian Carpets

A Lecture by Julia Bailey



Most Persian rugs made before the sixteenth century are now lost; our best idea of what they looked like comes from manuscript paintings. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, according to these paintings, rugs generally exhibited small-scale, abstract, geometric designs. But during the sixteenth century, under Safavid rule, carpets gained a new, more naturalistic vocabulary, representing both courtly life on earth and a hoped-for afterlife in a tree- and flower-filled garden paradise. In addressing the design evolution of Persian carpets, Julia will present some of the most illustrious examples of surviving sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Persian carpets, and will show how their artistry has influenced more modern Persian rugs, including examples in the current auction.

Julia Bailey is a former co-chair of the New England Rug Society and continues as the editor and publisher of its newsletter, A View from the Fringe. She is retired managing editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World, published by the Aga Khan Program at Harvard University. Formerly she was an assistant curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she organized “Ambassadors from the East: Oriental Carpets in the MFA” (1999) and “Poetry of the Loom: Persian Textiles in the MFA” (2001). In 2003 she curated “The World at Our Feet: A Selection of Carpets from the Corcoran Gallery of Art,” at the Sackler Gallery, Washington; in 2006 she organized and mounted “New England Collects,” at the eighth American Conference on Oriental Rugs, in Boston. She received the Joseph V. McMullan Award for Stewardship and Scholarship in Islamic Rugs and Textiles in 2014. Julia is coauthor of Through the Collector’s Eye: Oriental Rugs from New England Collections and has published many articles and reviews in HALI. She serves on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Textile and Fashion Arts at the MFA.

Skinner Boston Gallery
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