10 Most Expensive Oriental Rugs In The World

By now you must be used to hearing about how Oriental rugs are so expensive but could you take a wild guess at the cost of the most expensive rug in the world?

It’s a mind boggling number that is absolutely difficult to imagine. The world’s most expensive rug costs US $4,450,000. If your jaw dropped at that number, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

Almost everybody who hears the price has the same reaction. It seems unbelievable and yet… it’s true. The honor goes to a Silk Isfahan rug and it was sold by reputed auction house, Christies.

Pricing a wool Oriental rug is like pricing a piece of art. There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining their value and putting a price on each piece including the materials used, knot density, the complexity of patterns, the size of the rug, and the age of the rug.

Take a look at the top 10 most expensive oriental rugs in the world

Table of Contents

1. Silk Isfahan Rug

The Most expensive rug in the world
The Most expensive rug in the world

The world’s most expensive rug is this silk Isfahan rug measuring 7 ft. 7 in. x 5 ft. 7 in. (231 cm. x 170 cm.), which was sold by Christie’s in 2008 for a staggering price tag of US $4,450,000. There were several factors that contributed to this record price.

Some of these factors are exceptionally high knot density, use of numerous colors, outstanding craftsmanship and the use of pure silk. Additionally, despite its age the rug was in very good condition with negligible end loss at the time of the sale. Not surprisingly, its lineage is extraordinary too. 

This silk Isfahan rug previously belonged to tobacco heiress Doris Duke, a well-known collector of oriental rugs. A significant fact about the sale price is that this price is not just the highest ever paid for a rug at an auction but also the highest amongst private rug sales.

 2. Ziegler Mahal Rug

The second most expensive rug
The second most expensive rug

With a sale price of US $182,500, the honor of the second most expensive rug goes to a Ziegler Mahal rug from central Persia. 

Factors that contributed to the high price of this rug were its excellent condition, its large print scale and its attractive palette of colors including light blue and terracotta, which are popular colors in these types of rugs. The rug measures approximately 18’ 6” x 10’ 9”.

 3. Ziegler Mahal Carpet

The third of most expensive rugs
The third of most expensive rugs

The third spot on the list of most expensive rugs goes to another Ziegler Mahal rug with a sale price of US $170,500 . Measuring roughly 416 square feet, this rug’s striking factors are its generous size and its attractive, soft colored color tones, which is quite unique in Mahal rugs.

The fact that this rug made it to the top three despite its holes, tears and moth damage, is testament to the value of this piece. According to the experts’ opinion, the damage to the rug could be successful repaired so that the rug could be restored to its former glory.

4. Ushak Rug

The fourth most expensive rug
The fourth most expensive rug

The fourth most expensive rug is this brightly colored, compact Ushak rug measuring 4’10” x 3’11”.

Steeped in symbolism, this design-rich rug sold for US$158,500.  The contributory features of this rug include its striking brick-red coloration and pattern and exceptional craftsmanship.

5. Ishfahan Rug

The 5th most expensive rug
The 5th most expensive rug

This Isfahan rug measuring 16’1” x 6’ 11” was also part of the Doris Duke collection and its sale price of US $116,500 ranked it as the 5th most expensive rug in the world. The factors that helped increase the value of the rug are its pleasing color combinations, intricate pattern design and high decorative value.

One of the most striking of its features is the minor border which is made up of an unusual vinery design composed of stylized scrolled buds in a repeating pattern. This is very rarely seen in minor borders of Isfahan rugs and is thought to have been derived from vinery borders found in classical Persian rugs of the 16th century.

6. Ziegler Mahal Carpet

Zieglar Mahal rug
Zieglar Mahal rug

The fact that yet another Zieglar Mahal rug made it into the top 10 list of most expensive rugs is a testimony to the high quality and the value of these types of rugs.

Measuring 20’ 6” x 17’ and featuring deep royal colors and an elaborately patterned floral border, this Zieglar Mahal rug fetched US $98,500 at a Sotheby’s auction.

It is also the third from the top 10 list to have come from the collection of tobacco heiress Doris Duke.

7. Mohtashem Kashan Carpet

Mohtashem Kashan Persian rug 
Mohtashem Kashan Persian rug 
Close up of Medallion from Kashan Mohtasham Rug
Close up of Medallion from Kashan Mohtasham Rug

Sold By Sotheby’s for US $92,500, this Mohatashem Kashan carpet from central Persia is the 7th most expensive rug in the world. The excellent craftsmanship and execution coupled with its intricate designing and beautifully combined colors give this rug its highly decorative value. Mohatashem Kashan rugs are generally regarded as amongst the most highly graded Kashan rugs and this particular piece is an outstanding example.

8. Portuguese Armorial

Portuguese Armorial
Portuguese Armorial

With a sale price of US$80,500, this Portuguese Armorial rug earned the 8th position on the list of most expensive rugs.

The rug measures 19’5” x 14’10” and features a single, central square medallion with an intricate border comprised of repeated oscillating patterns. It was sold off for the above price by Christie’s New York in 2008.

9. Fereghan Sarouk

This rug is representative of a typical Fereghan Sarouk design

At 9th rank is this Fereghan rug with a price tag of US $74,500.  

Measuring 18’9” x 13’8”, this rug is representative of a typical Fereghan Sarouk Rugs design, which is highly favored by the majority of collectors. 

The rug features three medallions running through its length that form a design that slightly resembles that of a symmetrical hour glass. The rugs is composed of great colors overall and the border is reflective of the Safavid type borders

10. The Tabriz Carpet

Herati Tabriz Rugs
Herati Tabriz Rugs

Rounding off the top ten list, is this Tabriz rug, which was sold by Sotheby’s for US $68,500. 

Originating from northwest Persia, this rug is a great example of traditional Mahi field patterns and colors.

The rug measures 26’6” x 18ft3” and has an elaborate all-over repetitive pattern. Its border features striking turtle shell design elements that are highly appreciated and add additional value to the rug.

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12 thoughts on “10 Most Expensive Oriental Rugs In The World

  1. I am curious about the name Ziegler, attached to the 2nd and 3rd and 6th example. I’ve read the Wikipedia article, but I am wondering why and how a rug became/becomes a Ziegler. Is there a book that goes into more detail? One of my inexpensive kilims from Pakistan’s label says it is a Ziegler (style) rug.

    1. Ziegler is one of the brand that make rugs in Pakistan. not expensive as Peshawar or Farahan almost close to Oushak rugs

  2. In London 1973 purchased hand woven “rug” y
    Tent partcian 4 X2 m many symbols could I send image I need to know its history has intrigued me for nearly 50 years (the web site is our sons) I am retired archaeologist cheers rhys

  3. Inherited several wool/silk handwoven, soft backed, antique Persian/Turkish rugs & a large runner. All large ranging in sizes & 1 long runner. We lived in Tehran, North Africa, London & traveled all over the Middle East. Bought them overseas. Wondering their worth

    1. Dear Stephen,
      I wanted to share some information about the factors that influence the price of Oriental rugs. The cost of these rugs can vary greatly depending on several elements, such as:
      1. Quality: The materials used, such as silk or wool, and their quality can impact on the price.
      2. Pattern: Intricate and elaborate designs typically command higher prices than simple patterns.
      3. Colors: The type and quality of dyes used can also affect the cost.
      4. Rug Type: Different types of Oriental rugs may have varying price points.
      These factors, along with others, contribute to the overall pricing of Oriental rugs.

      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the benefits of wool rugs. We’re glad you agree with our blog post and appreciate the numerous advantages they offer, such as sustainability, durability, and comfort. It’s always great to hear from people who recognize the value of wool rugs in creating a cozy and healthy home environment.

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