The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired a priceless 16th century Persian carpet in 1943, but, due to its fragility, has only been able to display it twice in the 60 years that followed. Made of wool and silk, the Emperor’s Carpet is one of the finest Persian carpets in the Met’s collection. In order to share it with visitors on a regular basis, conservators needed to stabilize its condition, first by undoing previous conservation attempts and then by addressing the damage and wear on the 400 year old carpet.
In 2006, the Museum embarked on this ambitious conservation project. In the video, Conserving the Emperor’s Carpet, produced by the Met, you will hear from the conservators involved in the project, and see video and images from each stage, which included removing layers of patches previously sewn on, and attaching a wool fabric backing to give the carpet needed support.
During the course of the project, conservators had the opportunity to analyze the techniques, materials, and dyes used to create the carpet, and to study the carpet’s selvedge under a microscope, providing a rare chance to examine the weaving techniques used in these ancient carpets.
Today, the delicate fibers of the Emperor’s Carpet have been reinforced and supported by these conservation efforts, preventing further deterioration and making it possible for the carpet to be publicly displayed. “It is so exciting that now, as a result of this conservation campaign, the public can experience the carpet as never before,” concludes Sheila Canby, the Met’s Patti Cadby Birch Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art.
Watch the video here, which details the conservation of the Emperor’s Carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Gallery Systems’ client.