"Persia on my mind"
With all of the news recently about Iran, I felt a big melancholy. This blog and certainly I do not want to get into any political discussion, that's for sure, but to me it has been such a huge blessing in my life to see, touch and experience thousands of Iranian and yes... Persian rugs for the past three plus decades. Better yet, to know so many of my Iranian importer pals tell their stories on how they started in the family business, and sadly, had to leave their homeland.
My first experience selling hand knotted rugs was in 1991 when I was on the selling floor at Einstein Moomjy in Paramus. I had the great pleasure getting to know four of the finest rug merchants probably in the country; Ernst and Ted Einstein, born in Germany but fled to America after WWII and Walter and Albert Moomjy ( or I believe their given Armenian name was Moomjanian), whose family in Armenia were rug dealers for decades. I came from the world of custom domestic rug manufacturing at Edward Fields and did not really know all that much about hand knotted rugs and the difference between a Persian, Pakistan, Armenian, Moroccan, Afghan, etc. etc. etc. There are distinct differences in the knotting and truthfully that would be a bit much to explain in this blog. Needless to say, I loved the fact that within a short amount of time, I could go into the market and pretty quickly figure out where that rug was made.
I have told my clients that rugs are the " art for the floor" and when push comes to shove, and you are starting from scratch, get the rug that speaks to you, that you love... and build your decor around that. With antique Persian rugs, can you imagine where they were all these years? Most of them obviously traveled the ocean and landed here in the States. I remember many a tale of some other " goodies" smuggled in between bales of rugs! I'll let your imagination go on that one! Look at those stunning colors that were all dyed " organically" when organic wasn't such a common place word. Plants and insects created those palettes that were woven into these stunning pieces.
The first photo below is an example of how subtle the colors and how intricate the pattern is. It is a Lillihan design which should be in the neighborhood of 150 years old.
Sheep from Persia were considered to produce the finest yarn in the region. The denier can be so fine that this pictorial rug ( a Lavar Kerman) when turned to the back side has such clarity that one can easily make out the figures and pattern. This Lavar was produced in the mid to late 1800's.
Being a proud " Baby Boomer" it saddens me to think that our children and maybe their children will not experience the joy of owning a one of a kind piece of art. Certainly since the time I have been in the business, so many brick and mortar stores selling hand knotted rugs have gone under, not to mention antique dealers and galleries. The next generation of rug weavers throughout the world are giving up the trade all together! I've had more than one client or friend tell me that their grown children feel that these rugs (and china, silverware, GOOD furniture) is passé and it does not interest them.
Maybe one of these days they'll realize these treasures outlast anything they see and buy at Ikea, Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. One can only hope....
Until next time, enjoy this beautiful season of winter.
With regards, Deb