About us - Mughal Carpet

Mughal carpets were the handwoven floor coverings used in the Mughal Empire in their courts. Mughal carpets and rugs have their roots in India since the 16th and 17th centuries. Mughal carpets were a blend of Persian and Indian artistry uniquely designed with scenic landscapes, floral, and animal patterns. Kashmir was producing the finest wool and silk carpets and rugs, including prayer rugs. Sometimes the knot density in these rugs was so fine and tight as 300 knots per square centimeter. The Mughal emperors were enthusiastic about textile materials, especially the third Mughal emperor Akbar who set numerous imperial workshops across India. He also arranged training of local artisans to improve the skill. In addition to textile, the manufacturing of carpets was an important industry.

Mughal carpet, Mughal also spelled Moghul or Mogul, any of the handwoven floor coverings made in India in the 16th and 17th centuries for the Mughal emperors and their courts. Aside from patterns in the Persian manner, a series of distinctively Indian designs were developed, including scenic and landscape carpets; animal carpets with spirited chases backward and forward across the field; elaborate architectural latticeworks in the Italian manner, with floral content; and several magnificent prayer rugs with a prominent central flowering plant. Characteristic of the floral patterns is common use of trailing blossoms such as wisteria or elongated bunches of grapes. Many carpets, including a series of prayer rugs that may have been produced in Kashmir, have densely packed millefleur patterns and are possibly of a later date. Fine-quality Mughal carpets, with the warp in bands of contrasting colours and with pile of such extremely fine wool that it is sometimes taken for silk on a silken foundation, have the tightest and most delicate knotting found among antique Orientals. The prayer rugs with a central flowering plant motif, for example, have approximately 2,000 knots to the square inch (300 per square centimetre), and a fragmentary lattice rug in the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., has more than 2,500. Most Mughal rugs, however, have a foundation of cotton. Mughal carpets are thought to have been made in Lahore, Āgra, and perhaps Fatehpur Sīkri. One of the most notable is the Girdlers’ Carpet, in Girdlers’ Hall, London.

Mughal Carpet - Production

Mughal carpets are thought to have been produced in various locations, including Agra, Lahore, and Fatehpur Sikri. The karkhanas of carpet, rugs, tents, and various other floor coverings was called Farrash khana. In the Mughal period, the production of carpets went beyond being merely an economic pursuit. Instead, it was intricately connected with the refined preferences of the royalty, societal traditions, and the artistic principles cherished within the Islamic realm.

Mughal Carpet - Farsh-i-chandani

Nur Jahan is credited with popularizing farsh-i-chandani, a sandalwood-colored carpeting style, which gained widespread popularity throughout the country during her reign. Heinrich Blochmann characterised it with a sandalwood hue, whereas Samsam ud Daula Shah Nawaz Khan referred to it as a silvery carpet. Farsh-i-chandani was also used in Mughal Harem. The elegantly embellished ceiling and floor colors of the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah offer a glimpse into the potential aesthetics of the Farsh-i-Chandani carpet, which is associated with Nur Jahan’s distinctive fashion sensibility.