The Garden of Paradise in the Poldi Pezzoli Museum 'Tiger' Carpet and in 16th Century Persian Carpets

The exhibition, organised by Michael Franses, research fellow for important museums, presents to the public the context in which the precious carpet, acquired personally by Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli in a private auction in 1855, was made. Manufactured in central Iran around 450 years ago, this rug is among the rare examples of carpets made for Shah Tahmasp's royal court surviving today in Italy. Moreover, it is one of the only two integrally preserved examples of this period preserved in Italian museums today, despite having been repeatedly restored in the past.

In Persian culture, carpets are often representations of the Garden of Eden, and this particular example, so densely populated by lively animals and wild beasts, really becomes a heavenly garden. The verses included in the carpet's bordure say that the carpet was created for the feet of "the world's Darius", probably referring to Shah Tahmasp himself.

The exhibition is an occasion for once again introducing the audience to an extraordinarily rare and precious artifact, made of wool, silk and silver thread (formerly gilded), that was put into relation with the famous carpets of the Ardabil Mosque, today preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In order to preserve this precious artifact, the Museum's director, in accordance with Superintendent for Fine Arts in Lombardy, commissioned Luisella Belleri -- whose company Open Care specialises in integrated services for the management, development and conservation of artistic heritage -- with a complex and delicate restoration. The result of this operation will be presented to the public together with the famous early 16th century 'Hunting carpet' (the other previously mentioned entirely intact Safavid carpet), a property of the Pinacoteca di Brera but loaned to the Poldi Pezzoli Museum since 1923, as well as other extraordinary 16th century carpets and fragments from public collections, such as Museo Nazionale del Bargello and Museo Stefano Bardini, Florence, as well as private collections, among which Gallery Moshe Tabibnia.

Milan, Museo Poldi Pezzoli
23 May - 1 September, 2014

Museo Poldi Pezzoli
May 22, 2014