Isfahan, circa 1950
5'4" x 3'5"
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Sizes Are Approximate. Photos Are Representative And 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 has been carefully hand-knotted with premium quality wool and silk seen as highlights. This rug is in excellent condition and still has its original tassels on the fringes. It 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.
Its circular arrangement of motifs radiating out from the center medallion suggests the petals of a rose which are symbolic of innocence. The first inner ring of its dark cobalt blue medallion is surrounded by miniature roses alongside eight peonies representing power. Its blue border is a symbolism of 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 the border one can view larger sized peonies beside oleander flowers representing protection of happiness. The slightly larger lotus flowers symbolize rebirth and immortality. Some other prominent symbols featured in its field are pomegranates, lilies and leaves. The pomegranates represent fertility and the leaves nestled between arabesque vines and lilies represent endless regeneration and purity respectively. An understanding of 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.
"Antique" refers to carpets at least 100 years old, whereas rugs between 50 and 99 years of age are classified as "semi-antique".
Typically crafted with hand-spun wool and eco-friendly organic dyes, old carpets have a more luminous surface, creating an illusion of depth. Newer pieces are rarely able to capture the patina and character of an antique, which can add warmth to even the most 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. The authenticity of the unique designs produced by local cultures declined with the introduction of larger-scale production that aimed to accommodate foreign tastes. Preserving the traditional techniques involved in the craft also became more challenging following the effects of the Industrial Revolution.
Antique rugs are made of wool, cotton and silk. New rugs can be made from a variety of fibers, both natural and synthetic, including wool, cotton and silk, but also silk blends, faux silk (often called "Art Silk" or "artificial silk"), mercerized cotton and olefin.
If a rug has signs of wear but still looks vibrant, this is an indication that it is a genuine antique.
For insurance purposes, you should always obtain a certificate of authenticity from the dealer. This document should include the size, origin, age, style, materials, knot density, condition and estimated retail value of the carpet.
An authentic antique will not have a brand name associated with it, nor will it be hand-tufted.