Chinese Carpet Weights
Made for the Indian Market
China, Kangxi period 1662-1722
Famille Verte Porcelain
Provenance: Collection of Anne and Gordon Getty
Acquired from Spink and Son in London, 1998.
18.2cm high, 14cm diameter (base)
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Chinese Carpet Weights
Two porcelain carpet weights each in the form of a lotus bud set on a circular base with a fluted pattern. Each individual rib is painted with a delicate floral design. At the tip of the domed finial are concentric circles of green and gilt.
Carpet weights are also referred to as mir-e farsh, which has often been misunderstood to mean “slave of the carpet” as, according to H. Thabet, “Mir” in fact means governor and “farsh”, carpet. Thus, it means “the element in charge of the carpet” or “is the controller/ governor of carpets.”[i] Typically, the weights would be placed on the corners of a light summer carpet to keep it in place outdoors. Indian carpet weights were made from an assortment of materials, typically brass, bronze, bidri, marble and crystal. The possible inspiration from architecture is visible in the similarities to the domed finials [gul dasta] seen on the top of slim columns of Mughal and Deccani buildings.
Chinese porcelain carpet weights, such as ours, are very rare. Only a few recorded examples are found, though slightly different in appearance from our example. One pair is in the Eugene Fuller Collection, Seattle Art Museum, Washington, USA; illustrated in Cox, vol. II, p. 578, fig. 846. The Fuller pair of carpet weights was acquired in India and is thought to have been commissioned to order and imported there during Mughal rule. Another example is to be found in the David Collection, Copenhagen (Inv. no. 5/2019).
Cox, W. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain, Vol. II, Crown Publishers, New York, 1947.
Thabet, H. “Carpet Weights ‘Mir Farsh’ from Mughal India: An Archaeological, Artistic and Comparative Study”, Egyptian Journal of Archaeological and Restoration Studies 7, no. 1 (June 2017)
Zebrowski, Mark. Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India. Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India, London: Alexandria Press in association with Laurence King, 1997.
[i] Thabet, H. “Carpet Weights ‘Mir Farsh’ from Mughal India: An Archaeological, Artistic and Comparative Study”, Egyptian Journal of Archaeological and Restoration Studies 7, no. 1 (June 2017), pp. 53-54.