Much has been written about the legendary Magic Carpet used as transportation in fairy tales and more recently, video games. And to be sure, the magic carpet isn’t the Berber or Shag of common floor covering usage, but rather an Oriental rug. Now it seems such carpets are magical in a new way, flying off the shelves at auctions and generating much buzz and money in their wake. An antique Iranian court rug recently sold for $9.6 million. And they’re not just for stepping on anymore. They’re fine pieces of art plus culture plus history all, well, woven together.
Who would have guessed that there are professional rug scholars? That collectors of impressionist art are quite impressed by 15th and 16th century Persian Court rugs. That Persia (Iran) exports nearly half a billion dollars worth of rugs a year. That Sigmund Freud psychoanalyzed people on a rug-draped couch. And if the rug was too smooth and caused someone to fall off the couch, could that have been a Freudian slip? And who would even begin to figure out that there could be 1200 knots in a square inch of rug?
These rugs have long standing design elements including symmetry with various types of grids such as rhomboid, oblique and hexagonal among others. In the world of Persian rugs, there is usually a medallion that takes up the central space of the rug. These could be traditional shapes such as the peacock for immortality, the dog for protection or the peony for power. Coloring of the rugs is also a significant factor in their value. Those colored with ground up vegetables and beetles are more valuable than others where chemical dyes were used. And of course there could be another discussion of whether natural dyes have chemical formulas but not now.
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