History of Agra Rugs
During the sixteenth century the city of Agra, famed for the Taj Mahal, was the capital of the Mughal Empire and the cultural center of Indian art forms such as inlaid stonework, jewelry, miniature paintings, architecture, textile design and rug & carpet weaving. In nineteenth century northern India, the art of oriental carpet weaving as a commercial enterprise was revived with stunning results. Since the golden age of Mughal India the production of rugs and carpets had virtually disappeared until it was regenerated under British rule. Prisoners in the country's jails - including those of Lahore, Yeraoda and Montgomery, as well as Agra - wove some of the most beautiful carpets. Designs for these antique Agra rugs were often based upon classical Persian pieces from the sixteenth and seventeenth century especially antique rugs and carpets in the collection of the Maharajah of Jaipur.
Many of these exceptional antique Agra jail carpets were commissioned by special order and found their way, via the powerful Anglo-Indian trading companies of the time, to the great houses of Britain and Europe. Antique Indian Agra rugs and carpets remain highly collectible, blending into both traditional and contemporary settings.