Antique Persian Rugs are Craftsmanship From More Than 80 Years Ago. An Antique Persian Rug has an indescribable essence that must be seen up close and in person to be experienced.
Like a trusted family member who shares the timeless wisdom of their lives, these Persian rugs, aged over 80 years, were made with superior craftsmanship and cared for by individuals who understand that dedication to the craft is worth preserving.
So whether you are seeking a rug to add a chapter to your home or looking for a gift that expresses more than words ever could, these vintage Persian Rugs and Oriental rugs are a part of history.
Timeless Elegance: Antique Persian Rugs Narrating Centuries of Artistry
Forget notions you have about what you think an antique is. These Antique Persian Rugs are anything but low-pile or worn out. These are the highest quality, hand-knotted Persian rugs, carefully cared for and treated with colors that pop as if they’d been knotted days prior.
The quality, which could almost be described as age-defying, is an immediate attention grabber as these rugs, each tightly woven by master craftsmen, show a tradition that extends past any one person, a testament to skill and storytelling that live on in these Antique Persian Rugs that last well past 80 years.
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How Old Does a Persian Rug be Considered Antique or Vintage?
Many people use the terms vintage and antique interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two.
A rug must be 100 years old to be considered an antique. Like antique paintings and furniture, antique Persian rugs also become more valuable.
A vintage Persian rug is usually anywhere between 20 and 99 years old. If it is over 100 years old, it is considered an antique.
Rug Time Periods
Persian rugs, originating from present-day Iran, are known for their unique designs and high-quality craftsmanship. Iran’s regions and cities have developed their weaving traditions and styles.
The most famous rug-producing areas include Tabriz, Kashan, Isfahan, Kerman, and Qum. Each region has distinctive patterns, motifs, and color schemes that set them apart.
While the year of manufacture may not be the primary factor in categorizing Persian rugs, it can still be relevant when discussing antique rugs. Antique Persian rugs are typically considered to be at least 100 years old.
Persian rugs fall into specific categories based on their year of manufacture.
Antique – only rugs produced up to about 1940 can be considered antiques.
Semi-antique rugs – semi-antique rugs are those that were produced between the 1940s and late 1960s
Vintage rugs – rugs manufactured around the 1950s through the late 1970s are called vintage rugs.
Old rugs – rugs made in the past 20 to 40 years are known as old rugs.
A Look at the Famous Workshops of Master-Weavers Saber and Shash–Khalani
Born in 1911, Saber was a Turk Russian who immigrated to Persia and eventually moved to Mashad.
Here he worked for Amoghli, a world-famous carpet weaver at the time, who was much sought-after for the fine woven Persian rugs he produced. After his mentor passed away, Saber launched his workshops.
Starting with one workshop and only three looms, his fame grew quickly, and very soon, he established more workshops in other countries.
At the time of his death in 1977 at 67, he had five bustling workshops with more than 300 looms and 1500 workers under his employment.
Saber rugs are known for their high knot count and tight weave, allowing the designs to stand out in clear contrast.
Older Saber rugs featured medallion and all-over patterns, while later works were mainly composed of vines and florals against beige or neutral-colored backgrounds.
Shash-Kalani is another renowned master weaver known for his impressive, high-quality antique rugs that are much sought-after by rug enthusiasts worldwide.
These rugs have very high knot counts, and the pile is usually cut close to the foundation allowing the pattern to be seen clearly.
Committed to quality and superior workmanship, Shash-Kalani personally supervised the artisans in every aspect of the rugs manufactured in this workshop, from procuring the raw material to checking the finished product.
The rugs produced in these workshops were flawless in every way and are in high demand by rug collectors, artisans, and investors, although they are scarce and difficult to find nowadays.
Are Antique Persian and Oriental Rugs Worth Anything?
Antique Persian and Oriental rugs can be worth a lot, depending on various factors such as age, condition, rarity, craftsmanship, materials, and design.
Importance of Collecting and Preserving Antique and Vintage Persian Rugs
These timeless pieces of craftsmanship have stood the test of time and continue to captivate collectors, designers, and homeowners alike.
There are several reasons why collecting and preserving antique rugs is essential:
Cultural Heritage: Antique rugs, often showcasing classic and traditional styles, are the product of centuries-old traditions and techniques passed down through generations of skilled artisans.
Collecting and preserving these rugs ensures that these historical, cultural treasures are not lost to time.
Artistic Value: Antique rugs are not just functional items for covering floors but also works of art. Intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and sophisticated designs make each rug a unique masterpiece.
Collecting and preserving antique rugs helps to celebrate and support the artistry behind these exquisite creations.
Investment Value: Due to their rarity, age, and craftsmanship, antique rugs can be precious and often appreciated over time. Collecting and preserving these art pieces allows collectors to make a sound financial and aesthetically rewarding investment.
Sustainable and Eco-friendly: Collecting and preserving these rugs promotes sustainable and eco-friendly practices, as antique Persian rugs are made with natural materials, such as wool, silk, cotton, and natural plant-based or mineral-based dyes.
Unique Decor: Antique rugs can be used as statement pieces, focal points, or to accentuate existing decor with their classic and traditional styles. Homeowners and interior designers can imbue a space with history, art, and timeless beauty by collecting and preserving antique rugs.
Antique Persian Rug Age and Value
When it comes to antique rugs, age and value often go hand-in-hand. As these exquisite art pieces grow older, their historical and cultural significance increases, often leading to higher demand and more excellent value.
By understanding the connection between a rug’s age and value, you can make informed decisions when investing in these timeless treasures. The unique combination of history, uniqueness, skill, and beauty make antique Persian rugs a true collector’s item.
Of course, these exotic rugs also have a higher price tag, but this price is worth it. Look after it well; you can expect your investment to increase in value over the next several years.
Factors in Determining the Age of Antique Persian and Oriental Rugs
Learning how to identify an antique Persian rug is the only way to ensure that what you are buying is genuine. These rugs have distinctive characteristics that set them apart from similar-looking forgeries. Consulting a professional rug expert or appraiser is always the best approach.
Here are some factors to consider:
All-natural Materials – Persian rug weavers have used only natural materials. Most antique rugs were made from wool, which the nomadic weavers obtained from their herd of sheep. The wool in older rugs is often softer and more lustrous than in modern reproductions. Cotton and silk were the other materials used to create these rugs. Man-made synthetic materials such as plastic, polyester, or nylon were never used to create these rugs.
Natural Dyes – Antique rugs use natural dyes derived from plants and minerals, creating more subtle and harmonious patterns and color combinations. Synthetic dyes, commonly used in modern rugs, tend to have a more uniform and brighter appearance.
High Knot Density – Antique Persian rugs often have a high knot density, which can be observed by examining the back of the rug. Higher knot counts indicate finer craftsmanship and can signify an older rug, although this is not always true.
The underside of the rug should have some imperfections and unevenness – Take a look at the appearance of the knots on the underside in detail. Because genuine rugs are entirely hand-knotted, some imperfections in the weave are inevitable. These little imperfections show up as irregularities and unevenness in the weave. This is a sign that the rug is hand-made. The underside will likely be machine-made if it looks perfect and smooth.
The rug should not have a backing – Machine-made and hand-tufted rugs have a backing on the underside. This makes the rug hard and stiff and impossible to fold. They can only be rolled up. Genuine hand-made rugs do not have any backing on the underside. The underside will mirror the top of the rug only without the pile. With no stiff backing, these rugs are softer and easier to fold.
Design and Patterns – Antique rugs often feature a traditional style, designs, and motifs unique to their region or country of origin. Familiarizing yourself with Persian rug styles and patterns can help you quickly identify antiques.
The fringe should look like a natural extension of the rug – Traditional rug weavers make one knot at a time until they reach the desired rug size, then let the extra material trail off the edge. This forms the fringe. If the fringe looks like a natural extension of the rug, you know it’s an authentic antique Persian rug. It is machine-made if the fringe is sewn or glued onto the edges.
The rug should be hand-knotted, not hand-tufted – Many believe both refer to the same thing and only find out too late that they are wrong. In hand-knotted rugs, the knots are made one at a time. This is a laborious, time-consuming task that requires some skill. In hand-tufted rugs, a tufting gun punches threads through a fabric sheet.
Antique Persian rugs are always hand-knotted – Check for irregular knots and weave on the back of the rug, which suggests it is hand-knotted. Machine-made rugs are more uniform and easily identified by their synthetic materials and machine-stitched edges.
Signs of wear and age – Antique rugs typically show signs of wear and age, such as fading, uneven pile, or minor damage. However, be cautious, as modern rugs can be artificially aged to make them look like antiques.
Provenance – Provenance information, such as the rug’s origin, history, and previous owners, can provide valuable clues about its age and authenticity.
Factors Affecting the Sale Value of Antique and Vintage Persian Rugs
Determining the value of antique Persian rugs is no easy task. Many factors go into evaluating one of these beautiful works of art.
Age: Antique Persian rugs, typically considered at least 100 years old, can be more valuable than newer ones due to their historical significance and rarity.
Condition: The overall condition of the rug plays a significant role in determining its value. Well-preserved rugs with minimal wear or damage are worth more than those with significant wear, fading, or repairs.
Rarity: Some Persian rugs are rare and unique, which can increase their value. Limited production runs, unusual designs, or rugs from regions with a lesser-known rug-making tradition can be more valuable.
Craftsmanship:High-quality craftsmanship, such as fine weaving, high knot density, and intricate patterns, can increase a rug’s value. Hand-knotted rugs are generally more valuable than machine-made ones.
Materials: Persian rugs from high-quality materials, such as silk or fine wool, are typically more valuable than those made from synthetic materials or lower-quality fibers. Smaller rugs in silk will cost more than larger-sized wool or cotton rugs because of the higher cost of the raw material.
Design: Unique, complex, or particularly appealing designs can make a rug more valuable. Familiarizing yourself with Persian rug styles and patterns can help you identify more valuable pieces. Designs in Persian rugs range from basic geometric motifs on a plain abrash field to highly intricate patterns consisting of small motifs and intertwining vines.
Can You Tell How Old an Antique Persian Rug Is?
Determining the exact age of a Persian rug can be tricky. However, here are two hints that can give you a clue as to how old a Persian rug may be.
One way to distinguish an antique rug from a new one is to examine the pile more closely. Push the pile apart and compare the color at the top to the foundation. If the color at the top looks slightly faded compared to the color at the foundation, it’s more likely the rug is an antique. This is because the color at the top of the pile would have faded over the last several years with exposure to light and the atmosphere.
Feeling the underside of the rug can also provide a vital clue as to the age of the rug. Run your hands on the rug’s underside. If it feels fuzzy and soft, it is likely to be new. If it feels smooth, it is probably older. This is because the underside of an older rug would have gotten abraded and polished with the friction and pressure of people walking or standing over it. Over time, the yarn would have lost its original fuzziness, making it feel smoother to the touch.
Do the Knots Per Square Inch Date Antique Persian Rugs?
Although the number of knots per square inch (KPSI) can provide insight into the quality and intricacy of a Persian rug’s design, it is not a foolproof method for dating antique and vintage Persian rugs. The KPSI can vary significantly based on the rug’s origin, materials, and the weaver’s skill, making it challenging to determine a rug’s age based solely on this factor. However, in some cases, the KPSI can offer helpful clues for dating rugs from specific periods and regions known for their characteristic knot density.
Historically, certain regions in Iran have been renowned for producing rugs with a high KPSI. For example, the cities of Nain, Isfahan, and Qum are famous for their finely knotted rugs, often featuring intricate, detailed patterns. These rugs usually have a KPSI of 300 or higher, with some even reaching 500 to 700 knots per square inch. Rugs with such high knot density are often considered older and more valuable, as this level of craftsmanship is becoming increasingly rare.
In contrast, rugs from other regions, such as tribal or village rugs, may have a lower KPSI, usually between 100 to 200 knots per square inch. These rugs often feature bolder, more geometric designs and are made with more durable, coarser materials. Although the lower KPSI may suggest a more recent production date, it is essential to remember that the KPSI is not the sole determining factor in dating a rug.
Where Can I Buy Antique Persian Rugs?
You can find many Persian rugs online and from local offline rug dealers. Neither one is better or worse than the other. While you can find a wider variety online from multiple dealers and at better prices, the downside is that you cannot feel the rug’s texture in your hands.
Shopping at a local rug dealer gives you the advantage of feeling the rug. However, you will have to choose from a limited selection, and you won’t be able to compare prices with multiple dealers.
Use these tips to help you find an authentic antique Persian rug that’s just perfect for your space:
Start by educating yourself about what to look for and how to tell the real thing from the fake.
Decide where you want to place the rug and measure that space correctly. You can find several beneficial articles on choosing the right size rug for your space. Don’t estimate or guess the size. A rug that’s too big or small for the space will not create the desired look.
Browse through catalogs of online Persian rug stores to get an idea of what’s available.
Don’t buy a rug from the first seller you come across. Take time to read reviews from previous buyers to see what they have to say about the customer service. These reviews will tell you much about whether you can trust that seller.
When you see a rug you like, contact the seller and ask questions about that piece. This will give you a good idea about that store’s customer service. Never buy from a seller who cannot get back to you.
Find out about shipping formalities and whether the seller will be open to bear the shipping costs. Some sellers do.
If you’re buying a rug from a local dealer, ask if they will bring a couple of selected pieces to your house for a ‘trial run.’ A stunning rug in the store may not look as good with your existing décor. Even the lighting you use in your home will cause it to look different. A trial run will give you a better picture of how good a rug will look in the space.
Don’t let the inability to have a ‘trial run’ deter you from buying online. The prices just can’t be beaten when you buy a rug online. Most reputable sellers will go out of their way to oblige you and will help you choose a rug that’s just perfect for your space. Some may even offer to cover the shipping, saving you even more money.
Lastly, whether you shop locally or online, ask the dealer about their return policies and any satisfaction guarantees they offer. This can make you feel more comfortable about your purchase, which is essential, especially when considering the price you’ll be paying.
How are Antique Persian Rugs Made?
Antique Persian Rug Materials
The main requirements for weaving antique rugs were hand-spun wool, natural dyes, and a rug loom.
Wool – When antique rugs were produced, weavers did not have access to machines for spinning wool, so they spun them entirely by hand.
Silk – known for its luxurious texture and lustrous sheen, was another highly sought-after material in weaving antique rugs. Silk threads were derived from silkworm cocoons and spun by hand. Due to its delicate nature and high cost, silk was often used in high-end rugs or as accents in intricate designs to showcase the weaver’s skill and artistry.
Cotton – a more affordable and accessible option, was also used in weaving antique rugs. Cotton fibers were spun by hand and used primarily for the rug’s foundation, known as the warp and weft. Cotton provided a sturdy yet flexible base for the rug, allowing the weaver to create intricate designs easily.
Natural Dyes – All dyes used in making antique rugs were extracted entirely from natural materials in the surrounding areas. This has remained unchanged through the years. Persian rug weavers continue to use only natural dyes in their modern creations.
Rug Loom – This is one of a kind framework weavers use to weave their rugs. The yarn is placed horizontally and vertically on the rug loom, and the weaver then gets to work, making one knot at a time.
Preparations Before Weaving Antique Persian Carpets
Wool was spun by hand on rudimentary spinning wheels: Wool is the most common material used in modern and antique Persian rugs woven, because of its soft, natural texture and durability. Most weavers obtained the raw material from their own flock of sheep. This unprocessed wool is clumpy and often has little particles stuck in the fibers. Weavers first manually removed the foreign materials and broke up the clumps. They then spun the wool by hand on fundamental spinning wheels to separate it into individual strands that can be used for rug weaving.
Yarn is washed and dried: Though the debris is removed, the wool still has remnants of dust and grease, which must be removed. The wool is soaked in a detergent bath and rinsed in clean water. This may be done multiple times to remove all traces of dust, grease, and detergent so the yarn is completely clean and residue-free. The washed yarn is kept out in the sun until completely dry. This could take a couple of days, depending on the season.
Washed yarn is dyed: The yarn obtained has a natural color coloration, which may look good on sheep but not so much on rugs. So they need to be dyed first. To dye the washed yarn, the weaver hangs it on a rack and submerges it in the desired dye that is produced using a combination of natural elements. The dye and yarn are heated almost to a boiling point, allowing the yarn to absorb the color entirely. The heating time depends on the hue the weaver wants to obtain. The shorter the time it is soaked and heated, the lighter the shade of the yarn. The dyed yarn is kept out in the sun again to dry.
The dyed yarn is complete and ready to be woven: The dyed and dried yarn is complete and ready to be woven into gorgeous rugs. Weavers use three basic techniques to create their rugs: knotting, tufting, and hooking.
Weaving Process of Persian Antique Carpets
Antique Persian rugs are woven using traditional techniques passed down through generations of skilled artisans.
The process of weaving an antique Persian rug involves the following steps:
Preparing materials: The materials used in antique Persian rugs typically include hand-spun wool, cotton, or silk and natural dyes derived from plants and minerals. These materials are prepared before the weaving begins, with wool or silk fibers being spun into yarn and dyed with the desired colors.
Designing the pattern: A design is created for the rug inspired by traditional motifs, religious symbols, or the weaver’s imagination. This design is often drawn on a special graph paper or a ‘cartoon’ to serve as a reference during the weaving process.
Setting up the loom: A vertical or horizontal loom is prepared for weaving the rug. The warp threads, which run vertically, are set up on the loom, and the weft threads, which run horizontally, are interlaced with the warp threads.
Knotting: The weaver ties knots around the warp threads to create the rug pile. These knots are typically made using the Persian (Senneh) knot or the Turkish (Ghiordes) knot. The choice of knotting technique depends on the region and the weaver’s preference. The knots are tied according to the design pattern, with different colored yarns used to create intricate and detailed designs.
Weaving the weft: After a row of knots is completed, the weaver inserts one or more weft threads between the rows of knots to secure them in place. The weft threads are then beaten down with a comb-like tool to tighten the rug structure and create a uniform surface.
Shearing: Once the entire rug is woven, the pile is sheared to create a smooth surface. The pile height can vary depending on the desired texture and appearance of the rug.
Finishing: The rug is removed from the loom, and the warp threads are trimmed or finished with a fringe or selvage. The rug may also be washed and blocked to ensure it lays flat and retains shape.
Antique and Vintage Persian Rug Care & Restoration
Key Factors Prompting Rug Repair and Restoration
Ultimately, the decision to repair a rug is often prompted by a desire to maintain its value, preserve its beauty and functionality, or extend its lifespan. It’s essential to consult a rug expert and choose a skilled repair professional to ensure the best results.
Wear and tear: Over time, rugs may exhibit signs of wear, such as fraying edges, thinning piles, or holes. Regular foot traffic, furniture, or exposure to sunlight can contribute to these issues.
Accidents: Spills, pet damage, or burns can cause unsightly stains or damage that require repair to restore the rug’s appearance and prevent further deterioration.
Moth or insect damage: Moths, beetles, or other insects can infest and damage the rug fibers, leaving behind holes or weakened areas that need repair.
Water damage: Rugs exposed to water or excessive moisture may experience damage such as mold, mildew, color bleeding, or structural weakening. Repairing and restoring the rug is necessary to prevent health hazards and further damage.
Fringe problems: The fringe or edge of a rug can become worn, unraveled, or detached over time, necessitating repair to maintain the rug’s structure and appearance.
Fading or discoloration: Prolonged exposure to sunlight or harsh cleaning chemicals can cause fading or uneven coloration in a rug. Restoration techniques may sometimes be employed to revitalize the rug’s original colors.
Structural issues: Problems with the rug’s foundation, such as loosening warp and weft threads, may compromise the rug’s stability and require repair.
Corrosion vs. Wear In Antique and Vintage Persian Rugs
Corrosion and wear are two terms often associated with antique rugs. Although many people use these terms interchangeably, these terms refer to two completely different types of changes that may occur over some time.
Corrosion refers to rusting, the same type of rusting many metals under when exposed to dampness. Persian rug weavers create their dyes from various natural materials – plant parts, flowers, and parts of dead insects.
Wear is entirely different. It refers to the inevitable wear and tear because of people walking over it. Over an extended period, you can see a white warp, which appears as white flecks or knots.
Examining the pile closely is one way to tell whether the brown discoloration is due to corrosion or wear. If the area looks brown, but the pile is even, that’s a sign of corrosion. However, if the pile looks patchy, it’s likely a sign of wear and tear.
Should You Repair Or Not Repair Your Persian Antique Rugs?
Owning an antique Oriental rug often involves deciding whether to repair it, mainly when damage occurs. As valuable investments that can maintain their value over time with proper care, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of repairing antique and oriental rugs well.
The decision to repair an antique rug should not be taken lightly, as it can potentially affect the rug’s value. To determine whether repairing the rug is worthwhile, consider the overall condition, collectability, and whether it is a museum-quality piece. For example, some high-quality rugs created during a specific era or by a renowned master weaver may lose their value if repaired.
However, in some cases, rug repair is essential to preserve the rug’s integrity and prevent further deterioration. It is crucial to consult a rug expert before making any decisions and to ensure an experienced and reputable rug repair professional carries out the repairs. A poor repair job can devalue your rug more than leave it unrepaired.
Is it Worth Investing Money to Repair Vintage Persian Rugs?
Vintage Persian rug repair is a complex process that requires time, expertise, and a deep understanding of traditional hand-knotting techniques. Given the intricate nature of the work, repair costs can be significant. However, most Persian antique rugs’ value will be appreciated if a skilled professional repairs them.
Before investing in rug repairs, consult an expert to evaluate whether the potential increase in value justifies the repair costs. The expert’s advice will help you determine if the investment in restoring your antique rug is worthwhile. Remember, the key to successful rug repair is entrusting the task to a highly skilled and experienced professional who can seamlessly restore the rug’s original beauty.
Should You Hang Your Antique Rugs?
Hanging a Persian antique rug in your home is a great way to showcase its beauty while preventing any wear and tear caused by walking over it.
Choose hanging materials that can handle the size and weight of a large, heavy antique rug. A small Persian antique rug will fit almost anywhere and doesn’t require special hanging hardware.
Depending on the size and weight of the vintage rug, you can use hooks and rods, casing, Velcro, or a mounted frame for hanging your antique rug on the wall.