Entering the world of antique Persian rugs for the first time can be like setting foot in a faraway land, and while the language of rugs is foreign, the look and feel of these fine, handmade floor coverings are irresistible. Below we share all the crucial information you need to get started with antique Persian rugs.
A virtual garden of richly articulated palmettes and vines spreads in repeated allover symmetry across the pale apricot ground of this lavish antique Kerman, Lavar. Size: 11 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 4 inches Sold for $14,950. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Nazmiyal Auctions
Why Decorate with Persian Rugs
An added benefit of decorating your home with Persian rugs is their durability. Handmade Persian rugs are made to stand up to years – if not decades – of use.
In terms of decorative appeal, Persian rugs have a timeless, classical elegance that’s right at home in Western interiors.
While collectors tend to delve into ancient traditions, beliefs, geometric figures and symbolic motifs woven into these rugs, most Western buyers want to know what types and styles should go where in the home.
This late 19th century Mohtashem rug features a formal inset medallion woven in an elegant combination of colors. It measures 8 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and sold for $44,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions
Deciding what style or design is right for your home depends on personal preferences and the size of the floor. The following are factors to consider:
- More traditional designs incorporate well into older homes with more intricate décor while modern design rugs lend themselves to contemporary spaces with simple geometry and an open aesthetic.
- Geometric rugs with bold patterns and strong contrasts have a masculine appeal, while floral designs with softer color schemes and less contrast emanate a feminine charm.
- Keep an eye on symmetry in a room. Allover designs make furniture arrangement easy for spaces such as living rooms and libraries. Certain rooms, such as dining rooms, provide the perfect setting for a medallion rug, which features a large motif in the center of the field.
- Colorful rugs will make a strong statement in a room, while a more neutral or monochromatic rug will subtly complement the other colors in the room and integrate easily into existing décor.
- Filling the floor, or most of it, is not necessarily the way to go, unless the primary concern is acoustic sound absorption. If the floors are attractive, a certain amount flooring should remain exposed around the edge of the room. One or more carpets can also be used to establish different spaces or areas within a larger room, say a living area and a dining area within a continuous space.
Rug Size Does Matter
Antique scatter size small rugs are often woven by nomadic tribes and present more village-style weaves as well as tribal geometric motifs. Not all small area rugs are tribal though – major rug producing regions like Kerman and Tabriz also produced smaller rugs with very fine weaves and more floral, curvilinear designs. Regardless of their genesis or style, the smaller sizes of these scatter rugs make them versatile for any space in the home.
There are also antique accent rugs that feature amazingly detailed medallions and botanical patterns. Scatter rugs are eclectic, practical, versatile and ideal for collectors who’d like to acquire a variety of unique pieces.
Room-size rugs come in sizes from 9 feet to 15 feet long and are intended for use in the main rooms of your home such as the family room, living room, dining room, and bedroom. Antique rugs in this size range vary tremendously in terms of design and come in nearly every color and style imaginable. More decorative room-size rugs are perfect for less formal areas like a family room or bedroom. For more formal areas, look to the refined Persian city weaves or Indian rugs.
Antique runner rugs are long and narrow rugs and are suitable for hallways and stairways. Many times runner rugs come from nomadic tribes as the looms these weavers used had to be small enough to carry with them. Thus, the width was fixed to the maximum width of the loom, but the length could go on indefinitely.
Extra large rugs are often referred to as “palace size rugs” or “oversize carpets.” These big rugs and carpets are necessary for larger homes with expansive living areas and dining rooms. Antique extra-large rugs were often commissioned by aristocracy and custom tailored to suit their exquisite tastes. Extra-large rugs can be some of the most decorative and refined pieces available in the market.
This Turkish Yuruk family prayer rug from the late 19th century is an example of a tribal rug. Measuring 4 feet by 7 feet, it sold for $4,800. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Nazmiyal Auctions
City Rugs v. Tribal Rugs
All antique rugs are woven in basically the same technique, one that has been established for a long time. Despite this relative homogeneity, however, there are certain types of rugs that aesthetically distinct from one another.
One of the most important such divisions is that which exists between city rugs and village or tribal rugs. This divide is important to the rug world because the differences between these two distinct types of rugs may involve substantial differences in style.
Generally, city rugs tend to be sophisticated, refined, and elegant – qualities that work well in formal settings. Meanwhile, the bold, geometric designs and effects of village and tribal rugs work better in less formal circumstances. Personal taste, however, overrides all such considerations.
Find and bid on unique Persian rugs in Jasper52 rug auctions.
Adapted from original article featured on Auction Central News. Information from the Nazmiyal Collection.