When it comes to decorating, few objects provide as much beauty, texture and sophistication as vintage persian rugs. They are truly a work of art, with designs that reflect ancient Persian culture and tradition. These unique heirloom pieces are so desirable that many of the world’s major tastemakers and interior designers use them in their projects. The reason is simple: they offer an unrivaled combination of old world tradition and style with a modern feel.
Antique rugs that were produced prior to 1920’s come in a wide range of colors and design styles. The huge breadth of influences stems from semi-nomadic tribal traditions and imperial weaving traditions of the Safavid and Mughal empires. These weavers were free from market influence, allowing their imaginations and craftsmanship to take full expression. This resulted in timeless pieces that are prized for their flawless proportions, effortless fluidity and exotic use of nuanced color.
These works of art were woven by weavers who often had long family lineages and wove alongside one another. This allowed for a common design language to develop and grow over time. Weavers would pass this common design language down to their children, who then applied it to their own rugs.
The rugs that are most sought after by collectors were woven by weavers who were considered master craftsmen of their day. These master weavers included Ustad Zufilkhar ed Din Mohtashem, whose carpets were created in the late 1800’s and fueled a revival of interest in Persian rugs.
Another master weaver whose works were created in the late 1800’s was Ziegler Sultanabad, who made rugs that appealed to Victorian tastes and expanded the market for Persian rugs. There is also a lesser known master weaver named Hajji Jalili, who was renowned for his gray, pink and gold colored carpets that were often symmetrical.
When evaluating Persian rugs, one should look for signs that they are hand-knotted rather than machine-tufted. One way to tell is by examining the back of the rug. Authentic rugs have threads that are colorfast and do not bleed into each other. A good way to test this is by placing a piece of cloth over the rug and leaving it there for a few hours. If the dye bleeds through onto the cloth, it is not a true Persian rug. Also, a real Persian rug should be sturdy and hardy, while fake ones tend to be flimsy and easily damaged. To further ensure a rug is genuine, turn it over and examine the underside. The true weaver’s knots should be visible on this side as well. This can be a good indication that the rug is worth the investment.