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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 12pm

Mughal-era CARPET sells for £4.8 million at Christies London

A rare carpet dating back to late 17th century Mughal India has sold for a staggering £4.8 million at Christie's London.

The beautifully detailed "Millefleur" Carpet (the name refers to the thousands of miniature flowers used in the lattice-like design) sold for more than triple its lower-end pre-sale estimate of £1.5 million at auction on Tuesday.

The carpet - one of just 12 from a period of Mughal rule stretching from the late 1700's to the early 1800's - was first owned by American railways tycoon industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt II and had hung inside the famous Vanderbilt mansion in New York City. 

According to experts, the origins of the piece may lie in present day Lahore, the historical capital of the Punjab and one of the most important cities in the Mughal empire, and which was renowned for its carpets.

The sale was part of Christie's "1400 Years of Art from the Islamic and Indian Worlds" auction which also features, among other items, an Islamic manuscript copied by Mir Ali Al Harawi and a collection of gold boxes once owned by Princess Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, the glamorous second wife of the much-maligned Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi.

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