Vintage Persian Rugs add beauty and elegance to any space. They complement a variety of interior design styles, from traditional to contemporary.
When shopping for a vintage Persian rug, keep in mind the following factors: Size, Color, Design, Style and Age. It’s also important to establish a budget before you begin your search.
The beauty of Persian carpets lies in their ability to transport you back in time. These works of art are a rare blend of artistry and craftsmanship that can’t be replicated.
Traditionally, nomads, clerics and kings all utilized Persian rugs as part of their daily lives. Each rug has a unique story to tell, which can be deciphered by looking at the different motifs and colors of each piece.
Modern high quality Persian rugs use wool that is dyed in a variety of ways. Some use silk fibers for a richer luster and super-soft texture. This material is also durable and easy to clean.
Ancient rug makers used natural dyes derived from plants, animals and minerals to create their works of art. The recipes were kept as precious tribal secrets.
Weavers would use madder root for reds, and berries, insects, flowers, weeds and ground cochineal to dye wool. These colors were much more vibrant than chemical dyes.
Green was a hard color to make, so it was reserved for special occasions and rugs that would not be walked on. It is the color of balance, harmony and growth, as well as hope and new life.
Other colors carried meanings as well. Gold stood for power and wealth, brown was for fertility, orange represented piety and humility and white symbolized purity and cleanliness.
Whether they feature elaborate botanical designs or perfectly proportioned patterns, antique Persian rugs are prized for their timeless beauty and elegance. Their ancient geometric principles, fluid lines and ageless style appeal to a wide variety of collectors.
Traditional rug makers strove to make their rugs as organically beautiful as possible, using only vegetable dyes. This gave the rugs an authenticity that chemicals can’t duplicate.
These natural dyes were sourced from various plants and vegetables, including madder roots, black walnut leaves, acorns and tanner’s sumach. They also often used natural, insect-based reds such as cochineal or carmine. This was due to their availability and the fact that these colors would hold up better over time than synthetic ones.
Persian rugs are traditionally made of wool or silk and dyed with natural color dyes. The weaving process involves threading warps, through which knots are tied in rows. Then, the wefts pass over and under each knot to secure them.
Historically, Persian rug patterns were influenced by regional styles, weaving techniques and the availability of raw materials. For example, red was derived from madder roots, yellow from saffron and acorns, black from oak apples or tanner’s sumach, and blue from indigo.
Today, a number of motifs and symbols can be decoded by rug experts to determine a Persian rug’s city and region, along with historical insights. These include the “Persian flaw,” which is a telltale sign of authenticity and quality.
When you buy a Persian rug, you also acquire history. Symbols, patterns and other elements found on these rugs can be decoded to reveal a weaver’s story.
Until the late 19th century, weavers used natural dyes. These were extracted from plants, vegetables, bark, roots and fungi. The most popular were madder root for reds and indigo plant for blues.
Carpets woven in large cities like Esfahan and Heriz are floral and intricate while Gabbeh rugs made by nomadic tribes are geometric. Heriz rugs feature oversized medallion designs. This is because weavers used more uniform color and followed a strict process to produce consistency.
The condition of a rug plays a vital role in its value. Rugs with well-preserved color fading, minimal wear and no repairs can be valuable. Signs of wear, however, can also add to the character of a rug and may be worth paying a premium for.
High quality Persian rugs often have a blend of wool and silk fibers that produce a plush and super-soft texture. The best vintage Persian rugs use natural dyes.
Antique Persian rugs are often intricately detailed and can include symbols such as peonies that symbolize power, pomegranates that represent fertility and leaves that symbolize renewal. These patterns are used to create the unique and timeless style that makes Persian rugs so popular.