Middle Eastern literature is replete with stories of magic carpets that fly into fantasy and take their passengers to exotic worlds. In truth, that is exactly what an original Persian rug does, for although you may not think that it flies, the beauty of these rugs is that they were made to be a floor tapestry woven to transport the owner into a world of gardens, flowers, cedars and flowing paradise waters.
An escape from a barren world of hot sun and sand was and is created in a thicket of woven wool, cotton, silk and sometimes gold and silver thread. There is not much difference between the concrete jungle of our cities and the antiquity of Tach Jam Sheet (Persepolis). The carpet can make everyone a Shah, an Emir, a Pasha or a King, and regardless of room size, it can make every space a miniature exotic palace.
I’ve been a designer and collector of carpets for 35 years. In the decades of turning pages, visiting exotic lands and surfing the Internet, the task has been to find the dealer with the best eye. Few of us can trundle to auctions, bargain in Farsi and Turkish, jet set our way into strange and difficult climes, and pay obeisance to governments that especially today do not find Americans as lovable as we might hope. The result is our need to find an agent, an ambassador, a consultant, and a friend that can and will act as an emissary to cut the Gordian Knot. Such an agent may find a selection of artworks that in a modern world can fly us to places we fear to visit, or take us to streets and bazaars too difficult to navigate, which are delineated with alphabets as strange as hieroglyphics.
In that the world has unraveled itself into a pre-Columbus map drawn by our modern-day Amerigo Vespucci – Tom Freedman – carpet prices are as consistent whether one withdraws a ruble, dollar, franc or drachma from one’s wallet. Prices in the Central Bazaar in Istanbul, the Island of Kish, Iran or at the Textile Expo in Germany have all become “Ebayed”.
I have lifted many a carpet over with my toe to see a weave, pondered many a volume of curious lore about Middle Eastern floor and wall art, negotiated with at least 100 dealers, sorted by “highest price” on Internet search engines, and googled my way to 300 web sites with keywords like “Antique Rugs, Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs, Serapi, Heriz, Agra, Sultanabad” etc., until I found the land beyond the Sambatyan the land of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, the Mother load of classy, rich, well-designed, antique, genteel and attractive carpets. But, it was not in Tehran, nor by the Bospherous, nor in the mountains of the Caucasus, but with Nazmiyal in New York and New Jersey. It’s co-owner, Jason responded to my fractured Farsi Chey Chabar with Salam a Tee, and we were soon putting in search fields and closing deals from my office and his showroom.
Jason did not request that I take time and write a letter of recommendation. He did not guide my computer keys in which I have waxed prolific in compliments it came as a result of my appreciation for his having saved me the air fare, hours and days of flipping heavy carpets taxing the men who with full brows of perspiration make me feel guilty regardless of venue. I write this out of sincere admiration for Jason’s ability to assemble a collection of the finest designs, whose prices reflect their value. Jason is a testament to that for which I have searched for 40 years, a person who shares my eye chart in the quality of woven art for which I have taken these many years of pleasure.
by Wilbur Pierce