Hear Expert Commentary
Speaker: Walter B. Denny, PhD
University Distinguished Scholar | Islamic, Museum Studies, Orientalism
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Ballard four-lobed Ushak carpet, isn’t a complete carpet. It’s about two-thirds of the original. We don’t know why it was cut down; probably to fit in somebody’s living room in a previous century. It remains in every expert’s imagination as the quintessential example of an Ushak carpet in all of the glory of its original pile condition. The coloration and texture are very unusual and the design itself is virtually unique in Ushak carpets. All of this makes this particular carpet, not only one-of-a-kind, but also a window into a kind of class of carpets that has survived in numerous examples down into our own time, but almost never in the condition that we see in this fabulous object. It’s a tribute to Ballard that in a time where other collectors might have turned up their noses at the fact that the carpet was fragmentary (was not complete) that he realized that here was something unique in the world—that nobody else had. And now, of course, we have it in St. Louis.