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Tabriz, the cultural center and summer residence of the Iranian court in the 1300s, was home to scholars, painters and weavers. Silk rugs surviving from the 1500s were made there for the imperial courts and as gifts to foreign dignitaries. Around 1860, when Europeans and Americans began purchasing them, the production of silk rugs dramatically increased.
The central medallion of this rug symbolizes a doorway into heaven. This sunburst pattern has its origins in the decorations of the dome ceilings of mosques and the covers of illuminated manuscripts.
Gustave E. Efroymanson (Indianapolis); given to IMA 1946.