The origin of antique rug weaving is often disputed. The most common belief is rug weaving was believed to be first created by Cyrus the Great during his reign of the Persian Empire in 529 B.C. These carpets were made in very small villages for residential use with designs and weavings identifiable of the specific community or tribe they were created. The artistic weave, quality, and deign of antique rugs reached its pinnacle during the Safavid Dynasty (1499-1722). This was most likely because Shah Tahmasp and Shah Abbas of the dynasty created a weaving industry that focused on large commercial production including highly skilled and organized weaving workshops. Royal workshops were established specifically for designers and workers to create the best carpets with intricate designs. Silk with silver or gold thread are examples of the high quality fibers used. Highly skilled artists would sketch the carpet designs, and the most intricate designs would be used by the most talented weavers in the empire. The Shah’s full support made sure the quality of the product was unparalleled during these times. Trade was then established with Europe with Persian rugs as one of the products that spurred economic growth, and Persia had grown into its golden age. The majority of most sought after antique rugs were made during this time with arguably the two greatest rugs ever woven in the mosque of Ardebil in 1539. These rugs are now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the other one is in the Los Angeles County Museum.
The fundamentals of weaving antique rugs have not changed for centuries many of the earliest known techniques and materials are still in use in the major rug producing regions of the world today such as Turkey, China, Persia, India, Morocco, and Europe. Every antique rug tells story. This story gives us insight to the time period they were created and the lives of the weavers.
Antique rugs can stand on their own for historical importance and cultural significance. Each culture ensures the longevity of their design iconography through the making of the rugs. Most high-end antique carpets, especially those from Persia or India, have traditionally been made in sophisticated urban settings where a high value was placed on such fine artistry. The more tribal and casual carpets were woven by nomadic tribesmen and women as they had access to coarser material and didn't have the advantage of an established rug loom. These men and women were inspired by cultural trends and historical events.
The golden age of rug weaving in India, Persia and Turkey occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries due to the Industrial revolution in Europe. For the newly emerged merchant class at the time, oriental rugs primarily functioned as beautiful status symbols of wealth and good taste. Most of the carpets and antique area rugs in the vast Doris Leslie Blau collection were produced during this period.
Antique carpets can vary in color, size, design, and material. Trends in utilizing antique rugs are constantly changing. One of the current popular trends in buying antique and vintage rugs is towards neutral colors which can be used in any environment. Although antique decorative rugs come in a myriad of colors, every rug has the potential to anchor a room and to create an inviting ambiance; after all a rug is the foundation of any great room. Edgar Allen Poe once wrote that "the soul of the apartment is in the carpet."
We cordially invite you to view the largest collection of antique carpets at the crossroads of the world in New York City.
Size: 17'6'' × 11'2'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Turkish Oushak rug features an all-over design of garden and botanical imagery in light beige against a muted green patina. Palmettes and various staples of Oriental... Item No: BB6077
Size: 14'8'' × 11'7'' Circa: 1920 This antique Persian Tabriz rug features an ornate all-over design of palmettes, geometric abstractions and arabesques in shades of light beige and brown against a field of abrashed sea green.... Item No: BB6073
Size: 25' × 20' Circa: 1880 This circa-1880 antique Persian Kirman rug features a strikingly intricate all-over design of large floral and diamond repeating shapes outlined in inky blue, red and green against a field of light... Item No: BB6070
Size: 15'8'' × 13' Circa:1930 This circa-1930 antique Persian Tabriz rug features an intricate all-over design of floral abstractions, arabesques and serrated leaves in shades of ice blue against a field of reddish-orange. A... Item No: BB6064
Size: 16'4'' × 11'8'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Meshad rug features a striking all-over design of floral abstractions and interlocking garden leaf motifs in shades of red, green and bone-white against a field... Item No: BB6063
Size: 10'3'' × 7'4'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Sultanabad rug features an elaborate all-over design of floral abstractions, arabesques, vinery and serrated leaf patterns in shades of red, blue and beige... Item No: BB6055
Size: 9' × 6' 1'' Circa: 1930 This circa-1930 antique Turkish Oushak rug features an all-over design of floral and geometric abstractions, arabesques and serrated leaf patterns in light beige against a field of cool brown. A... Item No: BB6053
Size: 16'5'' × 11'5'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Turkish Hereke rug features an ornate, elaborate all-over design of floral abstractions and arabesques in shades of green, blue and yellow against a field of rich red.... Item No: BB6044
Size: 9'6'' × 7' Circa 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Tabriz silk rug features an ornate beige central medallion containing the herati pattern as well as floral and geometric abstractions. Surrounding designs, such as... Item No: BB6040
Size: 27' × 16'5'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique North Indian rug features an elegant all-over design of botanical motifs of trees and flowers flanked by peacocks and exotic birds, sketched in delicate inky blue against... Item No: BB6035
Size: 25'4'' × 15'7'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Kirman carpet consists of an all-over design of repeating diamond shapes (containing such common Oriental carpet weaving motifs as the herati pattern and the... Item No: BB6026
Size: 26'5'' × 13'2'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Kirman carpet consists of an elaborate all-over design of palmettes, arabesques and curling vines in shades of beige, white and yellow against a field of... Item No: BB6025
Size: 19'9'' × 8'1'' Circa: 1920 This somewhat unusual circa-1920 antique Turkish Oushak rug has an all-over design that is a veritable cornucopia of bright color and exotic patterns. Arabesques and floral abstractions in... Item No: BB6023
Size: 19'4'' × 3'1'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Tabriz runner rug contains several abstract shapes with vignettes of gardens, flowers, birds and fish, surrounded by narrow scrolling vinery borders in... Item No: BB6021
Size: 13'7'' × 11'7'' Circa: 1920 This striking circa-1920 antique Indian rug consists of a lattice formed by closely-spaced flower shapes in shades of purple, against a field of sienna. Floral motifs prevail throughout the... Item No: BB6020
Size: 16'9'' × 9'10'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Kirman carpet features an elaborate all-over design of floral abstractions and arabesques outlined sharply in beige and blue against a field of light beige.... Item No: BB6019
Size: 19'2'' × 12'9'' Circa: 1890 Antique Persian Garden Tabriz, Circa 1890 -- View an amazing Persian Tabriz garden designed. It features a very ornate background. The rusty-reds,black and blues that are woven... Item No: BB5961
Size: 15'7'' × 11'10'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Tabriz rug features an all-over design of interlocking geometric and botanical abstractions in yellow and beige against an abrashed blue field. A solid beige... Item No: BB5939
Size: 13'4'' × 11' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Tabriz rug features an all-over design of interspersed stylized floral patterns in shades of inky blue and bone white, against a field of abrashed beige. A main... Item No: BB5937
Size: 18'9'' × 12' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Khorassan rug features an elegant all-over design of palmettes, curving vines, arabesques and floral abstractions in light beige, accented by sharp brown outlines... Item No: BB5936
Size: 19'7'' × 11'6'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Persian Sultanabad rug features an all-over design of multicolored arabesques, floral abstractions and vinery in shades including red, blue and brown against a field of... Item No: BB5935
Size: 20' × 16' Circa: 1880 This late 19th century antique Persian Sultanabad rug features a striking and intricate design with a large center medallion containing floral motifs, birds and snaking vinery in shades of gold, red... Item No: BB5918
Size: 17'8'' × 14'8'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Indian rug is hand-woven in wool and features an all-over floral design in soft blue and cream against a field of beige. A thin floral-patterned border forms the... Item No: BB5917
Size: 16' × 8'9'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 hand-woven antique Turkish Oushak rug features an all-over design of floral and geometric abstractions in a subdued palette of yellow and pink with sharp brown accents, against a... Item No: BB5915
Size: 12' × 9'7'' Circa: 1920 This circa-1920 antique Turkish Hereke rug features an intricate all-over design of geometric abstractions in shades of red and yellow, surrounded by a millefleur pattern against a field of... Item No: BB5914
Size: 12' × 9'8'' Circa: 1920 This ornately designed circa-1920 antique Persian Tabriz rug features an all-over pattern of arabesques, floral abstractions and such staples of Oriental rug weaving as the boteh, in shades of... Item No: BB5913