Vintage persian rugs are more than just decorative floor coverings, they are works of art that embody a rich cultural tradition that is cherished for generations. They are treasured by discerning collectors for their beauty, rarity and investment potential.
During the 19th Century, rug production exploded. In addition to a greater number of rugs being made, their quality diminished significantly. This was due in large part to the introduction of varying cultures’ commodities and art to the market place, which caused primary culture craftsmen to lose their self defining attributes, and instead produce rugs based on popular demands. As a result, traditional crafting techniques deteriorated and motifs were constantly modified.
One of the reasons for the decline in quality is that the weaving methods were mechanized to increase production speed and to make the rugs more appealing to western consumers. While these advances were beneficial, they also created a new generation of rug weavers that did not have the same traditional weaving skills and knowledge that was passed down through generations of skilled artisans. This generation lacked the understanding and appreciation for the true beauty of the Persian carpet.
The good news is that there were still master rug weavers during this period, such as Ziegler Sultanabad, Mohtashem, Aboul Ghasem Kermani, and many others. These masters produced masterpieces that were of such high quality and design that they became sought after by collectors all over the world.
In general, the best quality Persian rugs are those that were woven in a village or small town, rather than a larger city. These rugs tend to have finer knots (KPSI) and are softer and more supple than other types of Persian rugs. They are also known for their mellow color tones and unique designs.
Throughout the history of Persian rug making, the most prized rugs are those that were woven by tribal weavers in the villages and small towns of North West Persia (especially the renowned Bakshaish). These rugs are highly collectible because of their artistry and unabashed eccentricity. In fact, the finest examples of this category can fetch astronomical sums at auction.
Most antique rugs are not perfect, however that is what makes them so special and desirable. In addition to minor repairs, most old rugs have slight color variations and little imperfections that add to their character. Large repairs, on the other hand, detract from a rug’s true value. Buying a vintage rug with big repairs should be avoided at all costs.