Woven centuries ago, a Mamluk dynasty carpet is now being restored at Louvre Abu Dhabi – and visitors can witness the process live.
The Mamluk Carpet with Three Medallions was produced by court workshops in the capital of the Mamluk dynasty, which reigned from 1250 to 1517, in Cairo. The woollen carpet has been transformed at various times, cut and reduced in length across the centuries. Patches from the original carpet were rearranged and stitched together, adding to its fragility.
The textile conservator at Louvre Abu Dhabi will be mounting the carpet on a new rigid support, which will help in distributing its weight and minimise any structural tension. With the new mounting system, the carpet will be placed in better conditions in the years to come and will help prolong its life.
The carpet takes its name from its central motif, which shows three large octagon stars running down the middle of the piece.
Surrounding stars and octagons intertwine in varying colours of red, sky blue, yellow, ivory and brown. Its design is characteristic of the finest examples produced by the court workshops in Cairo.
Although the origin of such ornamentation remains uncertain, Louvre Abu Dhabi has found references and examples in manuscripts and architectural cupolas of the time.
The live restoration will continue until Thursday in the museum's permanent galleries. It is part of the museum's ongoing summer activities following the opening of its Children's Museum last week.
In the coming months, Louvre Abu Dhabi is also hosting a floating cinema experience where visitors can watch short films from kayaks on the waters surrounding Saadiyat Island.