Pictorial Dorokhsh carpet. Hand-knotted wool, Birjand, Khorasan, Persia, about 1890. Photography Cadry 2022.
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Propagandist Strategy or Artistic Agency?

Duration: 1 Hour
Finished 15 October 2022
Powerhouse Museum

A panel of specialists in Persian art, material culture, carpet weaving and Islamic art and architecture will discuss the significance of a unique pictorial Persian Dorokhsh carpet, showcased for the first time in Weavers, Merchants and Kings, an exhibition celebrating Cadrys 70th Anniversary, on now at Powerhouse Ultimo.

The hand-knotted wool carpet, made in Birjand, Khorasan, Persia, about 1890, was recently acquired by the Cadry family having captured the private collectors’ attention for being one of only a handful of known examples of very large antique Dorokhsh carpets to feature an architectural scene as the central design. It appears to depict an Indian palace and it is speculated it may have been intended for display inside one. This object is very similar to noted Dorokhsh pictorial carpet from Golestan Palace, Iran.

Since the early 1500s the Dorokhsh region – near Birjand and Qaen in South Khorasan, Iran – has been renowned for the design and production of traditional Persian carpets. Our panel conversation will focus on the mechanisms around the creation of this particular Dorokhsh carpet to examine the agency of the artists who made it and the spectrum of socio-cultural and political factors involved in the traditional act of carpet-weaving.

Speakers include Robert Cadry, Managing Director of Cadrys Rugs; Dr Andrew Jacob, Curator of Astronomy, Powerhouse-Sydney Observatory and Dr Mahroo Moosavi, Nizami Ganjavi Fellow, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford and Lecturer in Architectural History, University of Sydney. Program is moderated by Prof Pedram Khosronejad, Curator of Persian Arts, Powerhouse.



Mr Robert Cadry is a second-generation, self-confessed rug addict whose father, Jacques Cadry, established the family business in Australia in 1952. Today Cadrys Rugs is run by Robert, along with his sons Ari and Jared. Together they continue the legacy, value and tradition of the business with renewed passion for the future. Cadrys has expanded from its original showroom in Edgecliff, Sydney and now hosts three retail showrooms, two wholesale showrooms and two distribution warehouses between Sydney and Melbourne.

The family are also private collectors who have amassed Australia’s largest range of collectible, decorative and antique rugs of, Persian, Anatolian, Caucasian and European origin. Weavers, Merchants and Kings, an exhibition celebrating Cadrys 70th Anniversary, on now at Powerhouse Ultimo includes several notable objects generously on loan from the Cadry family – including a rare large pictorial Dorokohsh carpet made about 1890.


Dr Andrew Jacob is an astronomer and Curator at Powerhouse and Sydney Observatory. His research interests include everything astronomical and astrophysical and their related histories. He has a particular interest in Australian astronomical history including the role of Sydney Observatory. His PhD project used the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer, resulting in a contribution to the calibration of the cosmological distance scale. Dr Jacob was involved with research on Sydney Observatory’s role in the Astrographic Catalogue and Carte du Ciel projects for the East Dome.  He is currently contributing to a new exhibition for Sydney Observatory.


Professor Pedram Khosronejad is the Curator of Persian Arts at Powerhouse Ultimo, and an Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Society Research Cluster at Western Sydney University. He previously worked as the Associate Director of Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies at Oklahoma State University in the United States (2015–19) and as the Goli Rais Larizadeh Chair of the Iran Heritage Foundation for the Anthropology of Iran in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (2007–15).

His research interests include cultural and social anthropology, visual anthropology and ethnographic film with a particular interest in Iran, Persianate societies and the Islamic world. He is interested in the ways in which vernacular aesthetics; traditional schools of visual art and material culture; and techniques of fabrication and production are bound up in, influenced and changed by wider economic, political, social and cultural trends. His ongoing interdisciplinary research explores the question: ‘How in the 21st century museums could be a place of debate, engagement, and recognition with both timeless and contemporary themes?

Prof Khosronejad is the curator of Weavers, Merchants and Kings (8 September 2022 – 20 January 2023), Charkha and Kargha (13 August 2022 – 15 January 2023) and Iranzamin (19 March – 8 August 2021).


Dr Mahroo Moosavi is Nizami Ganjavi Fellow at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and Lecturer in Architectural History at the University of Sydney. She is a former Bahari Fellow in the Persian Arts of the Book at the Bodleian Libraries, and Oliver Smithies Lecturer at Balliol College, University of Oxford. An art historian, specialised in the arts and architecture of early modern Iran, her research focuses on the intersections of art and literature of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries Persianate societies.

Dr Moosavi particularly interested in the thematic and architectonic connotations of the textually inscribed objects and the epigraphic programme of the public buildings of the major early modern Iranian cities such as Isfahan and Qazvin. Her research is also concerned with new readings of the arts of Islam and Iran through blurring the boundaries between the visual and textual cultures, such as in the cases of the illustrated manuscripts and the single-page paintings of the Safavids (1501–1722 AD).