“Ancient velvet Moghol (Mughal) – Safavide from the 17th century, cm 208 x cm 183. N. 10644 – 1/2018.” The Tuscan owner thought that amongst the objects inherited from relatives, he had found a Chinese rug and so, in December 2017, he went to Morciano di Romagna (Rimini) to have it examined by Hossein Fayaz Torshizi, technical consultant at the Court of Rimini for fabrics and rugs. To Mr Fayaz Torshizi’s great surprise, the object in question was not a rug, but an antique silk velvet panel used for decorative purposes.

“Fragment of velvet: Persian or Indian (Moghul), seventeenth century, number of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London 664-1883.”

The textile is of considerable size, 183cm by 208cm and is composed of three 70cm panels stitched together. The workmanship is very fine, with a very dense nap of more than one million weaves per square metre. It was woven in high quality silks and dyed in fourteen luminous colours, mainly old rose, fuchsia andclaret. The geometric floral design recalls the hand-knotted Persian carpets made in the capital city Isfahan throughout the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736). The motif is composed of wavy branches with naturalistic buds and flowers, in the rhomboidal Persian style, with a large flower,also in the form of a rhomboid, in the centre. It calls to mind the ‘field of flowers’ design.

The panel does not come from China, but was most probably hand-woven and used for decorative purposes at the court of the Mughal kings in India (1526-1707) or of their contemporaries the Safavid rulers in Persia (now Iran). The extraordinary similarity between Indian artefacts from this period and those from Persia is due to the harmonious and close diplomatic relations between these two courts and the great number of Persian architects, artists and artisans who visited the court of the Mughal kings in Agra (India).

The panel is so rare that at present there is only one known comparable textile.It is a smaller piece, currently held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and catalogued at number 664-1883. This rarity initially made establishing a market price an enigma. The panel, originally part of the collection of Mr Nasli Heeramaneck (1902 -1971), was passed by inheritance to the current owner, the grandnephew of Mrs Alice Heeramaneck, Nasli’s wife.

The expertise was concluded in February 2018 and, in the opinion of Mr Fayaz, the market value of the velvet panel ranges between €35,000 and €38,000.However, given the age and rarity of the piece, it is quite probable that the final value of this magnificent witness to the period of the Mughal Empire in India and the Safavid Empire in Persia will be established by an international auction. Hossein Fayaz Torshizi. February 23 2018.

October 1, 2018, Post scriptum (postscript).
This antique velvet Moghol (Mughal) – Safavide of the seventeenth century discovered and appraised by the expert of carpets and fabrics Hossein Fayaz Torshizi has been included in the catalog of the
London BONHAMS Auction House.:
Lotto 159
A rare Mughal velvet panel
North India, 17th Century
£ 25,000 – 35,000
€ 28,000 – 39,000
Islamic and Indian Art including Sikh Treasures and Arts of the Punjab

23 Ott 2018, 11:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

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