Antique rugs constitute an immense and diverse category of floor coverings, shrouded in aura of magic and mystery. An antique carpet is one that is over 80 years old. This obviously means that carpets that are produced nowadays will also one day become ‘antique.’ However, there is much more to it than merely age. Antique rugs for sale curated by Doris Leslie Blau belong to genuine wonders of weaving craft. They aren’t simply old rugs – they are masterpieces, permeated with timeless beauty, deep symbolic layer and historical significance. If refined workmanship, artistic sensitivity and absolute uniqueness is something you seek, embark with us on a miraculous journey through the spellbinding world of antique rugs.
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Turkey, India, the Caucasus and Europe are their most typical origin places. Characteristic features of antique rugs are traditional designs and making techniques. They are usually hand-made of natural materials and dyed with non-artificial dyes only. Due to such execution, antique rugs may remain in excellent condition for centuries. It is also the reason behind their high value and renown. In the past, the connection between craft and art was much closer than it is today. Thus, the vast majority of antique rugs are artworks rather than utilitarian objects. No matter if simple tribal or complex urban ones, antique rugs can be named timeless.
Antique rugs are in a class of their own. Exclusive and exotic, they are objects of desire of collectors around the world. What lies behind such fame of antique rugs? They may vary in color, size, design and material. Nonetheless, two things are common to them all – quality and never-fading beauty. Made in traditional techniques by skilled artisans, antique rugs sport meticulous designs. These patterns inspire awe even in the finest of contemporary craftsmen. Due to diligent workmanship, today we may marvel at ingenious carpets that were born ages ago. If we continue to seek out and care for these artworks, they will last to please further generations. Although the fashion circle goes on constantly changing the trends, antique rugs are always in vogue. The timeless character of antique oriental rugs never ceases to fascinate. Each antique rug has the potential to anchor a room and create an inviting ambience. After all, a rug is a foundation of every marvelous interior. Edgar Allen Poe once wrote that “the soul of the apartment is the carpet.” We could not agree with the master more. Yet, the greatest power of antique rugs lies in their cultural significance. Steeped in history and permeated with symbolism, they teach us about the past while helping to understand the present. Individual motifs and colors of antique oriental rugs combine in intricate patterns. These, like the legendary Scheherazade, tell stories, express emotions and document the life of our ancestors. Practically every culture in the world ensures the longevity of their iconography through rugs. This, in turn, shows how important it was for our predecessors to merge craft with meaning and art. To imbue utilitarian objects with soul. Let’s not squander this splendid, centuries-old legacy.
Doris Leslie Blau is dedicated to preserving antique rugs. After all, they are treasures of the past. We offer all kinds of antique rugs for sale. Whether you are after antique area rugs, antique runner rugs or kilims, you will find them with us. We pride ourselves in our vast collection that includes rare and luxurious specimens. Most of our antique rugs are impossible to find with any other purveyor. Now, immerse yourself in the fascinating realm of antique oriental rugs for sale and pick yours. Only then will you be able to enjoy their irrepressible charm on daily basis in New York City or any other part of the globe.
The origin of antique rug weaving is often disputed. Experts have uncovered splendid carpets in the palace of Cyrus the Great, who ruled the ancient Persian Empire in the 6th Century B.C. People crafted these antique carpets in very small villages and sold them for placement in residences. Many of the rugs featured designs and weavings unique to the particular community or tribe in which they were created.
The artistic high point for antique carpets occurred during the 15th to 18th centuries, under the reign of the Safavid Dynasty. During that period, the Shahs supported the weaving industry by ramping up commercial production and organizing weaving workshops that employed highly skilled artisans.
These royal workshops had a purpose: to give designers and workers the tools and space they needed to create the best, most intricately designed antique rugs. Many carpets featured thread made of gold, silver or silk – an example of the astounding quality of these textiles. Highly skilled artists would sketch the rug patterns, and the most talented weavers would implement the designs. The Shah’s full support made sure the quality of the product was unparalleled during these times. After establishing trade with Europe, Persian rugs stimulated the Persian economy and heralded the dawn of a prosperous era. The most highly sought-after antique carpets come from this period, including two of the most prized rugs ever woven – the Ardabil Carpets – which hail from the 16th century.
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 a story. This story gives us an incredible insight to the time period in which they were created, and the lives of the weavers.
Antique area rugs, when it comes to cultural significance and historical importance are in class of their own. Each culture, especially the ones deriving from ancient civilizations or of purely tribal provenance, ensures the longevity of their design iconography through the making of rugs. Most high-end antique carpets, particularly those from Persia or India, have traditionally been made in sophisticated urban settings where exceptionally high value was placed on such fine artistry. More tribal and casual carpets were woven by nomadic tribesmen and women as they had access to coarser materials 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 area rugs in the vast Doris Leslie Blau’s collection were produced during this period.
Antique rugs can vary in color, size, design, and material. Trends in utilizing antique decorative rugs are constantly changing. One of the current popular trends in buying antique carpets is towards neutral colors which can be used in any environment. Although antique decorative carpets come in a myriad of colors, every one of them 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.”, and we could not agree more with the great writer.
While a precious, finely woven carpet may be classified as oriental or Persian on the basis of its design, only rugs that are at least 80 years old or more can be considered or classified as being antique. The younger ones, from 30 to 50 years old, should be called vintage.
There is also a different, more restricted division, saying that antique rugs are solely those made before the 1930s as around then happened a great transformation of the entire rug industry. During that time, machine-spun wool substituted the hand-spun wool, and artificial dyes came in place of vegetable and natural ones which had a huge impact on the general shape of woven textiles, although it wasn’t long before craftsmen returned to the previous, more traditional methods of production. Moreover, the dawn of the 20th century met with rapid and decisive changes in the socio-political field that heavily influenced the art world and the perception of beauty, mainly in Europe but also in Asia, which, in turn, was reflected in the designs of rugs from the mid-20th century (now considered mainly as vintage).
Nonetheless, it is unwise to apply this kind of division for vintage and antique rugs. First, as Western influence expanded across the Middle East, the native peoples began to lose their autonomy and authenticity, and their ability to maintain traditional patterns diminished along with their ability to preserve traditional craft techniques. Secondly, many rugs created in the modern era after the 1925, if made according to old and refined methods, match the indisputable excellence of ancient Persian carpets. Inevitably, in time, what used to be modern or vintage is becoming antique. It is rather a question of beauty and ability to withstand years of usage without a sing of wear than the mere fact of being made before the 20th century that classifies an antique rug.
The exact origin of weaving, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, is not entirely clear. Nonetheless, the first hand-woven textiles were most certainly born on primitive looms in the tents of nomadic tribes and under the roofs of early settlers who needed them for a series of reasons, floor covering being one of the latter. In their humble beginnings, antique rugs served as bedding, mantle, shelter or dowry, and played an important role in the lives of people not only on their floors and walls. Although Persia is considered the cradle of carpet production, artistic weaving techniques for the creation of precious antique decorative rugs came into being in different and disparate cultures at near-simultaneous times.
Translating the genesis of oriental rugs to present-day geography, one may safely assume that carpets come from Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Tibet, China and everywhere near or in between those countries. Middle East and Asia are the forerunners of hand-woven textiles, however Europe also had its role in the shaping of antique carpets, not to mention the later yet extremely valuable input of North America.
Even now, the fundamentals of weaving fine floor coverings are the same for most weaving centers, though it does not mean that the antique rug world is dull and homogenous. Each region has developed its own weaving style and utilized various materials, from wool, cotton, silk and jute, to metal threads, banana silk or even horse hair. Natural dyes, obtained from plants and minerals were both visually striking and capable of standing the test of time. Bona fide carpets, which are recognizable to experts and collectors alike as fingerprints would be to a forensic scientist, age beautifully even as they fade. Ethnically identifiable artwork, symbols and colors, which evoked the culture and norms of the weaver, are usually incorporated in the designs and artistic layouts. The fabrics used in antique rug creation and even the weaving process utilized are usually named after the country, region or culture that they were developed and perfected in.
If we are to look at the history of antique decorative rugs, ancient Persia, with its venerable tradition and special connection to carpets, would probably be the best place to start.
The best destinations for acquiring large antique area rugs are undoubtedly Turkey, India and Persia, each of which has its own weaving traditions and customs. Nonetheless, you do not have to travel long distances to find yourself face to face with the weaving wonders of antiquity. At Doris Leslie Blau we offer genuine antique rugs for sale in all dimensions. A large floor covering will constitute a magnificent addition to a wide array of interior arrangements, especially those spacious and ample enough to contain the grandiose beauty of oriental wonders. Big antique carpets are made of the finest silk, cotton or wool, although some weavers began to use plant-based fibers such as hemp or jute. Each large antique rug in the stocks of Doris Leslie Blau is a unique piece of art which we proudly offer to our considerable clientele.
We cordially invite you to view the largest collection of antique rugs and carpets at the crossroads of the world – New York City.
Please visit our gallery at 306 East 61st Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10065 to see our Antique Rugs Collection.
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