Isfahan, circa 1950
5' x 3'6"
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Sizes are approximate. Photographs are not necessarily exact for color.
New Rugs Are Of The Highest Quality In Its Category And Are Handpicked Overseas By The Bashir Family
Pre-owned Persian semi-antique rug genuinely woven in Isfahan (central Persia) around 1950. It is in excellent condition. It still has its original tassels on the fringes and it is extremely rich in symbolism. Symbolism in Persian rugs are passed down from generation to generation and were believed to protect the rug owners from misfortune.
Within its blue border, we see a variety of flowers. They mainly consist of rows of ivory lotuses and peonies each representing rebirth and power respectively. The blue border is a symbolism for running water. In Persian carpet weaving tradition this would refer to the water ones only encounters in paradise in addition to fertility, life, cleanliness and the desire to overcome obstacles. An arrangement of motifs radiating out from the polygonal medallion in its red field suggests rose petals symbolic for innocence. The field also includes an assortment of flowers and leaves sprouting from arabesque vines representing endless regeneration.
Colors also play a major role in conveying the story of rugs. For instance, the red colored field in this particular piece represents wealth, courage, beauty, luck and faith. Understanding how to "read" these symbols and patterns enables one to connect with the weaver's story, as well as community and society. At times, it can even provide historical insight and information on the best manner in which to showcase each work of art.
Isfahan, also spelled Isphahan, has long been one of the centers for production of the famous Persian Rug. Weaving in Isfahan flourished in the Safavid era. But when the Afghans invaded Iran, ending the Safavid dynasty, the craft also became stagnant.
Not until 1920s, between two world wars, was weaving again taken seriously by the people of Isfahan. They started to weave Safavid designs and once again became one of the most important nexus' of the Iranian rug weaving industry. Isfahani carpets today are among the most wanted in world markets, having many customers in western countries.
Isfahani rugs and carpets usually have ivory backgrounds with blue, rose, and indigo motifs. Rugs and carpets often have very symmetrical and balanced designs. They usually have a single medallion that is surrounded with vines and palmettos and are of excellent quality. These carpets are often made up of pure silk. A combination of silk and wool is also sometimes found. These materials make up the pile of the rugs, while cotton is usually used to hand knot a strong and durable foundation. In finer Isfahans, silk is used as a base. To learn more about iranian rugs, visit our Persian Rugs section.
Sources and inspiration: Bérinstain, Valérie, et al. L'art du tapis dans le monde (The art of carpets in the world). Paris: Mengès, 1996. Print.; Jerrehian Jr., Aram K.A. Oriental Rug Primer. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1980. Print.; Herbert, Janice Summers. Oriental Rugs, New York: Macmillan, 1982. Print.; Hackmack, Adolf. Chinese Carpets and Rugs, Rutland and Tokyo: Tuttle, 1980. Print. ; De Moubray, Amicia, and David Black. Carpets for the home, London: Laurence King Publishing, 1999. Print.; Jacobsen, Charles. Oriental Rugs A Complete Guide, Rutland and Tokyo: Tuttle, 1962. Print.; Bashir, S. (n.d.). Personal interview.; Web site sources and dates of consultation vary (to be confirmed). Without prejudice to official usage.
Older carpets (antique or vintage) are rugs that date back to the last 100 years. Rugs that are 50 to 99 years of age are referred to as semi-antiques.
They are typically crafted with hand-spun wool and eco-friendly organic dyes, which have a luminous surface, providing an illusion of depth. They have a wonderful patina and character which cannot be usually captured in a newer piece. Each antique carpet is different, as they are found in every type of home and add warmth to pristine and minimalist spaces.
Oriental & Persian carpet designs began to change at the turn of the 20th century, as Western influence expanded across the Middle East. At the time, the native cultural designs began to lose their authenticity because their ability to maintain traditional designs diminished. As the Industrial Revolution came about, preserving traditional master craft techniques became more of a challenge.
- Antique rugs are made of natural fibers such as, wool, cotton and silk. New rugs are made from a variety of fibers including synthetic and natural fibers such as, mercerized cotton, faux silk often called "Art Silk", silk blends and artificial fibers such as, olefin.
- If the rug has signs of wear but still appears to be vibrant, this is an indication of a genuine antique carpet.
- For insurance purposes, you should always obtain a Certificate of Authenticity from the dealer, which should include the size, origin, age, style, materials, knot density, condition and estimated retail value.
- An authentic Oriental rug will not have a brand name associated with it and it will not be hand-tufted.