Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cotton Agra: circa 1880 - 1890

Cotton Agra
3’10” x 7’0”
Circa 1880-1890

Cotton pile rugs were woven in Agra for both domestic use during the summer, and for export as an alternative to wool pile pieces in more saturated colors. The tonality is generally lighter, nearly pastel, and the number of colors in fewer than on a wool carpet. Cotton yarn has less absorbency than does wool or silk, thus the same dyes produce a softer tonality.

The indented directional lattice displaying the foil flowering plants is derived directly from Deccani carpets of the 18th Century. The Deccani sultanates, south of the Mughal empire, wove carpets in styles simplified from their Mughal archetypes. The lattice repeat was extremely popular and easy to weave. Daccani silk rugs of the circa 1800 period are frequently on a yellow ground and display repeating lattice patterns. This rug (#19973) appears to be a later interpretation of this style.

The border, the so-called “open kufesque” type is featured on “lotto” and small-pattern “Holbein” rugs from Ushak in western Turkeym from the mid 15th Century until the end of the 16th Century. The designer of this Agra worked from a book illustration to produce this interpretation of a classic pattern. Rug books with color illustrations began to appear in the 1890’s and Indian manufacturers were among the first to utilize them to produce innovative patterns.

Please see this rug on our website:

Friday, October 1, 2010

“German” Condition

Sometimes in the antique rug industry, you will come across a client who is looking for a rug in “German” Condition (Generally, this will be a European client). What this means is that they are looking for a rug that is in perfect condition, with an un-used look. The phrase comes from the fact that rugs in Europe just don’t age the same as those in America. In many European nations, the antique rug is revered. They are placed in show rooms where they are generally un-touched. The rugs in these types of settings age very well. Their color is strong, their pile full, and are without stains or spills. In many instances one cannot even tell that rugs in such perfect condition are antique at all.

For most Americans, however, this is a turn off. Generally, an American client desires that patina that comes with a used antique rug. It is a look, or feeling, that is telling of the rugs age and history.

The way that antique rugs are used and stored can greatly affect what market they will be sellable in. Rugs which have been kept pristine and new looking will be more valuable to the European market, while rugs that show age and use tend to be more desired in the American market.