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Pile Carpet (fragment)

Eastern Altai, Pazyryk Burial Mound 5

5th-4th centuries BC

Wool

L 183 cm, w 200 cm

The world's most ancient pile carpet was found in the largest of the Pazyryk burial mounds. Its decoration is rich and varied: the central field is occupied by 24 cross-shaped figures, each of which consists of 4 stylized lotus buds. This composition is framed by a border of griffins, followed by a border of 24 fallow deer. The widest border contains representations of work-horses and men.

The once bright reds, dark blues and greens of the carpet are now faded, but must originally have provided a glowing range of colours.

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