Antique and Modern Rugs: Perfectly Persian

Why the Perennial Classic Deserves New Consideration

Antique Persian Rugs

Last summer Sotheby’s auction house sold the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet pictured above for $33.7 million – three times more than they’d ever sold any textile for before.

It’s easy to envy the anonymous bidder who scored this rare vibrant beauty which once belonged to the industrialist and Montana senator William A. Clark (1839-1925). The staggering final bid elicited a collective jaw drop in antique textile circles. There’s been a marked uptick in interest in 17th-century rugs in recent years, but what could inspire someone to spend so much on a single textile?

Rarity certainly has something to do with it: The colors and weaving technique represented in the Clark carpet are unusual. But the auction-house happening is also representative of a growing sentiment that reaches much further than the pockets of ultra-wealthy antique buyers. Increasingly, across almost all segments of the American population, people are searching for authenticity in their consumer choices.

This extends well beyond home design. It relates to food, fashion, music and more. After a century of the industrialized world moving us toward mass marketing and greater homogeneity, people are pushing back, spurring artisan culture and a myriad indie cottage industries to serve consumers who want something that’s not just shiny, new and exactly like what everyone else has. But one of the big ways this desire manifests itself in home design is in renewed interest in spaces that evoke history, because a great story – a time-tested narrative – is the hallmark of authenticity.

Persian GoldVia: John B Scholz – architect Continue reading

World Record Price For A Rug: $33 M

The World is waking up to a new record price in the world of Rugs today. A Sickle-Leaf Vine Scroll and palmette “Vase” Technique rug probably Kirman South East Persia $33,765,000 at Sotheby’s NY.

New record price for a rug“This is one of the most beautifully drawn and elegant of the many “Vase” – technique carpets. Like the formal Garden carpet designs it can be regarded as a bird’s eye view of a woody landscape, here seen through festoons of spiraling creepers terminating in slender sickle leaves, and bearing the large floral motifs familiar in so many of the lattice designs.”
– May H. Beattie

A Sickle-Leaf Vine Scroll and palmette Vase Technique rug

“If a prize could be given to one single item from the extensive Clark Bequest of Oriental carpets, it would readily be presented to a rug belonging technically and thematically to the well-known group of Persian “Vase Carpets.” Although there are a few rugs which generally relate to it, the Clark carpet remains unique… Almost all Persian carpets… emit an air of tranquility. … In contrast to this classical repose, the Clark carpet has all the aspects of Baroque impetuosity. … The awareness of contrasting movements and ornamental abundance is further sharpened by the unusually compact format of the carpet; its many elements seem to be barely contained in the available space. … Here then, as sometimes happens in carpet compositions when the designer deviates from the standard pattern, a new concept is born from well-known themes re-arranged to appear novel and exciting.
– Richard Ettinghausen

World Record Price For A Rug

Below is the last world  record price for a rug set in 2010 at Christie’s London for $9.5 Million ironically also a 17th Century Persian Kirman rug.

As rugs continue to claim new heights as an art form and not just decoration for the floor it would be interesting to see rippling effects on vintage and antique carpets from the 19th and 20th Century which we show case in our galleries.

Persian Kirman Rug sold in 2010 for 10M