Materials: warp, weft and pile in best quality, pure, natural silk; natural dyes yarn
Size: cm. 242 x 160 = 3.87
Knot density: approx 1.250.000 knot per sq.mt.
A life, well over half a century, spent among drawings, precious yarns and looms, Agha Gol Mirmehdi is one of the greatest masters who have made the Qom rugs among the most prestigious in the world. A giant in whose hands the artisan tradition has become textile art; a refined innovator in the creation of drawings, Mirmehdi, never forgetting the ancient roots from which he draws, has been able to use in his artworks a new and very personal language, experimenting unusual and daring color combinations, opening to iconographic contaminations of other cultures elaborated with skillful mastery.
We use the word artworks and not simply carpets because – although he is the most copied among the Persian masters of the ‘900 – they can hardly be reproduced.
The rigorous selection of the best materials, mainly natural silk, and intermediate production processes such as hand spinning or natural dyeing of yarns, and above all, the very dense knotting, have allowed each of his works to reach levels of excellence and of prestige that few other artefacts can match.
This brief introduction was necessary to exhaustively describe the masterpiece we present in this photographic sequence. One of two extraordinary examples – the other is today in Japan – is perhaps one of the most emblematic works of recent years.
It is not rare that in the history of an artist we find a single work that more than all represents and identifies it, a creation that constitutes the maximum point of his research or – sometimes – his artistic testament, the summa of the work of a life, the achievement of excellence, the perfect synthesis; the masterpiece, in fact.
Here it is.
A thick forest of flowers of any forge and color, a multitude of species, some rendered with naturalistic richness of details others almost fantastic, which literally invades the whole central field of the carpet and continues beyond the frames, overcoming the limit, crossing every boundary. A majestic celebration of divine grandeur, of the beauty that permeates every millimeter, a garden where every attempt to stem such an explosion of life would be in vain.
Yet, seen as a whole, the extraordinary ability of the artist gives us back a work that seems dominated by a sober grace and a refined harmony of shapes and colors. But it is in the meticulous observation that we find the wonder and, in fact, only through the careful analysis of the totality of the work we discover the exceptional nature of the details.
The grandeur of the work reveals itself little by little: a host of birds, parrots, peacocks, nightingales but also the mythical Simorgh, camouflaged among the leaves and petals that make up its forms. Because of their ability to fly, in almost all ancient cultures birds are a metaphor for aspects of the divine, ambassadors of the relationship between heaven and earth. A world that preserves in itself another world hidden in the folds of the visible and that appears only to those who can read between the lines, to those who can look beyond the appearance, to those who do not stop at the surface. A work structured on different levels, to be leafed through like a book, and which, for this reason, lends itself to different readings and interpretations.
And, in fact, the elements that draw on other iconographic traditions slowly emerge. Like the carp koi, for example, widely used in the Japanese arts not only for its beauty but, above all, as a symbol of perseverance. Of Chinese origin – where a legend narrated its ascent of the Yellow River up to the Dragon Gate where it was transformed into an immortal dragon – this fish capable to swim against the current, well represents the courage and the strength to fight and overcome adversity, virtues that allow to reach any goal.
It should not be forgotten, however, that an iconographic design of such complexity is made possible by technical skills of the highest level: in fact, the best workers are needed to obtain a product of over 1,200,000 knots per square meter. Nonetheless, the selection of materials – exclusively pure natural silk of first quality – is essential to allow such dense knotting. Even today, Mirmehdi himself supervises and coordinates every single step in the realization of the work: nothing is left to chance and every technical aspect respects the best quality standards.
The measure of the value that the Master attributes to this work is also given by his signature in full that, camouflaged among the elements of the design, becomes an integral part of it.