Antique Rugs

History of antique rugs

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.

Techniques and design

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.

An Exceptional Collection of Antique Carpets

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Rugs 1 - 30 of 1503
An Indian Agra Rug BB4980
Size: 8'4'' × 6' Circa: 1920
An Indian Agra Rug with a modernist influence. Abstract geometric shapes placed symmetrically and mirrored. neutrals contrasted with black, r...
Item No: BB4980
Turkish Oushak Rug BB6161
Size: 12'8'' × 12' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Turkish Oushak rug.
Item No: BB6161
Persian Tabriz BB6185
Size: 15'7'' × 11'1'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Persian Tabriz rug.
Item No: BB6185
 Caucasian Rug BB6173
Size: 3'5'' × 2'6'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Caucasian Rug
Item No: BB6173
Turkish  Rug BB6166
Size: 12'7'' × 9'7'' Circa: 1940
A Mid 20th century vintage rug.
Item No: BB6166
French Aubusson Rug BB6149
Size: 8'2'' × 7'6'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century French Aubusson rug.
Item No: BB6149
Persian Meshad Rug BB6162
Size: 24'2'' × 12'10'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Persian Meshad rug.
Item No: BB6162
Turkish Hereke BB6181
Size: 4'10'' × 3'9'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Turkish Hereke rug.
Item No: BB6181
Turkish Borlou BB6186
Size: 20'1'' × 13'2'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Turkish Borlou rug.
Item No: BB6186
Turkish Oushak Rug BB6167
Size: 19'10'' × 12'5'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Trurkish Oushak rug.
Item No: BB6167
Caucasian Kuba Rug BB6170
Size: 4'4'' × 4' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century caucasian Kuba rug.
Item No: BB6170
 Persian Tabriz BB6178
Size: 5'5'' × 4' Circa: 1920
@ABCAn early 20th century Persian Tabriz rug.
Item No: BB6178
Persian Tabriz BB6177
Size: 5'5'' × 4' Circa:1920
@ABC An early 20th century Persian Tabriz rug.
Item No: BB6177
Abussson BB6179
Size: 5'3'' × 4'10'' Circa: 1920
@ABC An early 20th century Aubusson carpet.
Item No: BB6179
A Karabagh rug BB6180
Size: 6'3'' × 4' Circa: 1920
@ABC An early 20th century antique Karabagh rug
Item No: BB6180
Size: 20'2'' × 16'3'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Indian Amritsar antique rug, the dark brown field with a palmette, serrated leaf and flowering.
Item No: BB5726
A Karabagh rug BB6176
Size: 6'9'' × 3'10'' Circa: 1920
@ABC An early 20th century antique Karabagh rug, the camel field with two columns of blossom bouquets within a flowering vinery border.@ABC
Item No: BB6176
A Persian Kirman rug BB4587
Size: 19'8'' × 15' Circa: 1880
An unusual example of from our selection of late 19th century Persian Kirman (Kerman) antique rugs, the cream field...
Item No: BB4587
A Persian Sultanabad rug  BB6048
Size: 18' × 12'7'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Sultanabad antique rug from West Persia, the cream field with a bold allover pattern of staggered pink, blue, green and beige stylized palmettes separated by floral vinery and rosettes, within a salmon palmette and rosette border.
Item No: BB6048
A Persian Meshad rug BB5770
Size: 14'3'' × 9'6'' Circa: 1920
This exquisite antique early 20th century Persian Meshad rug is a cornucopia of traditional oriental carpet imagery. Floral motifs and arabesques make up the all-over design, with staples such as the boteh - the Persian inspiration for the paisley pattern,...
Item No: BB5770
A Persian Sultanabad rug BB3918
Size: 17'4'' × 11'9'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Persian Sultanabad antique Mahal (Mohal) rug, the charcoal gray field with an enlarged...
Item No: BB3918
A Persian Meshad carpet BB4035
Size: 21'3'' × 13'2'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Persian Meshad (Meshed) antique carpet, the pale beige field with an intricate allover herati...
Item No: BB4035
A Persian Tabriz Rug BB6044
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. Common staples of Oriental rug weaving, such as the boteh - the...
Item No: BB6044
A Persian Kirman Rug  BB6046
Size: 19'3'' × 14' Circa: 1900
An early 20th century Persian Kirman (Kerman) antique carpet, the blue field with floral sprays covered with linked rust and camel cartouches containing floral motifs within a blue cartouche border.
Item No: BB6046
A Persian Bakhtiari carpet BB6047
Size: 19'5'' × 14'2'' Circa: 1900
An early 20th century antique Persian Bakhtiari carpet having an allover lattice of stepped cusped medallions containing strap work, rosettes and floral vines in shades of blue, brown and sand within a midnight blue flowering vinery border.
Item No: BB6047
An Indian Agra carpet BB3151
Size: 17'7'' × 14'3'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Indian Agra garden carpet, the rich abrashed forest green with a symmetrical trellis overall o...
Item No: BB3151
A Persian Tabriz rug BB4081
Size: 17'9'' × 12'5'' Circa: 1880
A late 19th century Persian Tabriz antique rug, the camel field with a spacious lattice of palmettes, delicate flow...
Item No: BB4081
An Indian Amritsar carpet BB5751
Size: 20'2'' × 13'3'' Circa: 1900
An early 20th century Indian Amritsar antique rug, the camel field with an allover lozenge lattice pattern.
Item No: BB5751
A Persian Kirman carpet BB4258
Size: 20'5'' × 13'10'' Circa: 1880
A decorative late 19th century Persian Kirman (Kerman) antique rug, the cocoa field with a dense scrolling vine...
Item No: BB4258
Persian Meshad Rug BB6137
Size: 12'4'' × 10'3'' Circa: 1920
An early 20th century Persian Meshad rug.
Item No: BB6137