With a lyrical touch from Kashmir

THE CARPETS on display and sale, at `jannat' or paradise (at Indo-Persian Rugs & Carpets, 204, TTK Road, Chennai-600018), especially woven for the `Carpets Exhibition' in Kashmir valley and by Turkish nomadic tribes are superb. There is, for instance, a never-been-seen-before, one-of-its-kind, woollen Turkish carpet called `Guldasta' created by the Gul family of Turkey. It is orange hued and vegetable dyed, woven with huge floral bouquets - a fantastic must-see for every carpet lover. Another Turkish delight, again only one of its kind in the world, is a camel and yak wool, orange-coloured carpet strewn with Bokhara motifs, reflecting a unique sense of folk ethnographic and decorative art systems.

The choice and wealth of Kashmiri silk and woollen carpets is equally superb, both in quality and design. Varying in size from 4 feet by 6 feet to an enormous 10 ft. by 40 ft. the carpets also come as small prayer mats, long corridor carpets as well as circular ones. The matchless quality, close knotting and tapestry-like finish, the enduring traditional motifs and lyrical colours for which Kashmir carpets are world-famous, is reflected in each piece at the exhibition. Bokhara, Herati and Isphahani, Persian and Moghul hunting scenes, `Humdann' and tree of life, etc., are some of the many traditional time-honoured designs impeccably woven into the carpets on display. Many have taken more than two decades to weave and each reflects the faultless aesthetic sense of Kashmiri carpet weavers, without a single jarring note. The prices vary from moderate to a king's ransom.

Definitely worth a king's ransom and for a true carpet connoisseur is the reproduction of the 16th century Persian `Ardebil' carpet, the original of which can be seen in the London Museum. A lyrical symphony in shades of brown, featuring graceful `ardebils' or Persian lamps, it is one of the many show-stoppers at the sale. Another show stopper `copy' woven by Kashmiri weavers is a silk 10 x 40 carpet full of birds, animals, flowers and creepers. Now exhibited at the Vienna Museum, the original once formed part of the Shah of Iran's collection.

Also on display are exquisitely woven vegetable dyed Kashmir carpets, kum carpets, kilims and so on. The Carpet Exhibition which opens today concludes on September 7.