Frenchwoman Martine Marie-Pol (1870-1939), Comtesse de Béhague, a noted collector of antiquities and Islamic art, once owned an exquisite Kirman rug.
The rare rug descended in her family, returned to the market in the 1980s, and was consigned by a dealer to a Christie's Islamic and Indian sale earlier this month.
The prototype for the most popular Persian carpet design of all, the herati pattern, the rug features a continuous design of conjoined leaves and a sophisticated weaving pattern associated with prized "vase" Kirmans.
A pre-sale of £200,000-300,000 ($308,000-461,000) was quickly surpassed. At £2.4m the countess’s rug beat the record price for a carpet at auction; at £3.5m it beat the record for an auctioned Islamic work of art. The rug finally sold for £6.2m, about $9.5 million (including commission and taxes).