Polonaise carpet


Safavid Dynasty
probably early 17th century

Object Place: Isfahan or Kashan, Iran (Persia)


204.0 x 139 cm (80 5/16 x 54 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton warp, cotton weft, silk pile, silver- and gilt-silver-wrapped silk brocading

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Made in the carpet workshops of Shah Abbas I (ruled 1588 - 1629) and his successors, sumptuous silk -and-metal rugs like this one were used at court, donated to religious buildings, or sent off to European royalty. Nineteenth -century writers, confused by the heraldic designs woven into some of these carpets, misattributed the group to Poland, and the name Polonaise has persisted.

Of the eighty-two carpets or carpet fragments that Denman Waldo Ross gave the MFA, this Polonaise was the most expensive; Ross paid Paris and New York-based antiquarian dealer Dikran Kelekian $7,500 for it about 1907.

Thirty-six Persian (Sehna) knots to a square centimeter. The ground is of salmon pink; on this is a design of conventional flowers in bright green, bright yellows, blues, reds, white, gold, and silver. The ground of the main border is bright green.

Credit Line

Denman Waldo Ross Collection