Qum, circa 1950
5'3" 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
This fine Persian area rug was woven in Qum (north central Persia) around 1950. It is in excellent condition and has been hand-knotted with pure silk. Certain things in this rug that lead us to believe it's in excellent condition is that it still has its original tassels on the fringes. Another thing we like to do when we're evaluating silk rugs, to get an idea of how good the condition is, is we want to check to see that the foundation of this is pliable and strong. So the way that you would normally do that is just to put some small folds into it and see if there's a good action. The test reveals that this carpet is in excellent condition. The foundation is very strong.
This fine Qum rug also features a rich assortment of symbols. Symbolism in Persian rugs is passed down from generation to generation and were believed to protect the rug owners from misfortune. An oval arrangement of motifs radiating out from the center medallion suggests the petals of a rose which is symbolic of innocence.
Some other prominent symbols featured in its field are dogs and deer alongside peonies and various other flowers. The dogs are regarded as protectors of noble places, the deer signify well-being and the peonies refer to power. Its blue field is a symbolism for running water. In Persian carpet weaving tradition this would refer to the water one only encounters in paradise in addition to fertility, life, cleanliness and the desire to overcome obstacles.
Within its thicker border one can view large sized rows of motifs such as the tree of life, roses and pomegranates. Here the trees of life represent the direct path from earth to heaven. Each pomegranate is a symbol of fertility. 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.
Qum rugs, also known as Ghoum, Gom, Qom, Qoum, Kum or Koum, are woven in workshops of Qom, a city located in northwest central Iran. Since rug production did not begin in Qom until the 1930s, Qom doesn't have any traditional designs of its own. Qom weavers prefer to weave the most favorable designs of other Persian weaving groups and sometimes Caucasian weaving groups and adjusting these designs to their own taste. It is possible for Qom rugs to be mistaken with Kashan or Esfahan rugs. However, they will not be mistaken with Tabriz rugs because Qum, Kashan and Esfahan rugs are woven with the asymmetric (Persian) knot and Tabriz rugs are woven with the symmetric (Turkish) knot.
All silk, part silk/part wool, and kork (fine wool taken from the belly of sheep) Qom rugs are very well-known in Iran and abroad. The foundation of Qum rugs could be either cotton or silk. Most Qum rugs have curvilinear patterns and very elaborate floral motifs with intricate leaves and vines. As mentioned above the designs are varied, taken from different weaving groups. Some designs used in Qum rugs consist of vase, moharramaat, mir-i-boteh, zell-i sultan, panelled garden, hunting, tree-of-life, pictorial, Shah Abbassi melallion-and-corner with usually a circular medallion, all-over Shah Abbasi, medallion with open field, medallions resembling the famous Esfahan Sheikh Lotfollah medallion, prayer and all-over gul farangi (roses).
The gul farangi motif seems to be a popular motif also used in vase, tree-of-life, and zell-i sultan designs. A panelled design containing very different motifs in each compartment is also common; the motifs inside the compartments can consist of pictorials, vases, hunting scenes, and botehs all in one rug.
The colors used in Qum rugs are as diverse as the designs. The overall appearance could either be pale with background and border colors such as ivory, champagne, turquoise and light green, or it could be dark with background colors such as dark blue and even sometimes red. Red, blue and green are also used as motif colors. Other commonly used colors in Qum rugs are mushroom, rose, gold, yellow ocher and orange orcher. To learn more about iranian rugs, please 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: Mengčs, 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.