Floral motifs have been part of the artistic repertoire in Iran for millennia. They gradually changed, becoming more stylized during the first centuries of the Islamic era (7th-9th centuries), when the depiction of humans or animals was forbidden.
The Mongol conquest of Persia (Ilkhanid period, (1252/74-1335) fostered the spread of Far Eastern designs, which ended up dominating the realm of decoration. Artisans borrowed motifs such as the dragon, phoenix and clouds from Chinese art.
The Safavid period, which marked the golden age of Persian weaving, stands out for the fineness and complexity of its carpets and fabrics’ designs. Some 2,000 high-quality carpets were made in the royal workshops, which were run by famous master miniaturists.
In the seventeenth century, the increase in diplomatic exchanges and trade with the West enriched the Persian vocabulary with new motifs, including the rose, iris and narcissus that can be recognized in the two fragments on view here.