Any organisation which had supplied work such as the superb Carpet of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque would wish to sign the work. The company which created the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque’s principal carpet managed to do just that and wove into the carpet their details.
The high density of thread in the Grand Mosque Carpet , over 250 knots per sq inch, and extraordinary craftswomanship together with the size (at its creation the carpet was several times larger than any other Persian carpet) and cohesive design make this carpet probably the most important Persian Carpet created in modern times.
Part of the carpet’s central design is a reference to the interior design of the dome of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan. This clever reference (the mosque’s interior is overflowing with Persian design) encloses and is surrounded by floral designs of Acanthus, Carnation and Vine that are comparable to those used on the Ardabil Carpet at the V&A. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque’s carpet covers a finished area of 4343 sqmeters and was created with a number of individual pieces in Iran and invisibly joined inside the mosque with some extra work to adjust the carpet around the columns.
It’s not unusual for the creator of an important carpet to ‘sign’ their work, most famously the creator of the Ardabil Carpet.
The V&A Ardabil carpet may have been one of a pair made for the enlarged shrine of Safi al-Din Ardabili around 1540AD; or the Imam Reza Shrine at Mashad. It has a silk backing and wool pile at 330knots per inch, the ‘twin’ is even higher at up to 420 knots per inch . Both carpets were said to have been damaged and then sold to Hildebrand Stevens by the Safi al-Din shrine after it suffered an earthquake after 1873, in order to pay for the shrine’s restoration.
A later buyer was Ziegler & Co of Manchester who repaired the V&A carpet with the one now in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, making additional ‘improvements’. The repaired carpet was then purchased by the V&A and while the other, eventually, was gifted by J Paul Getty to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is also repaired. The V&A displays theirs in the Islamic & Middle East room next to the entrance shop.
The Persian signature on the Ardabil Carpet gives the creator as Maqsud Kashani and the date 946 in the Islamic calendar, which is equivalent to AD 1539 – 1540.
In the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the carpet’s script is Arabic giving the date of creation both in Islamic date 1417-1420 and Gregorian 1997-2000, the location as Mashad and the creator the Iran Carpet Company.
If you wish to learn more about the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, my book is available in the UK in full colour here as a Paperback (only) on Amazon worldwide. The mosque is also included in my updated 408page Oman Guide – available here.