Early Rugs

View below the breathtaking selection of older period early rugs:

Impressive Selection of Early Rugs and Important Antique Carpets

The Nazmiyal Antique Rugs Collection of spans many centuries and origins. The early rugs highlighted on this page are examples of the earliest-dated rugs and carpets in our collection. These rugs are excellent examples of the craftsmanship and artistry of their creators, and in addition to being beautifully decorative, they are true historical artifacts of the cultures of their origins.

While technically the term “antique” denotes rugs and textiles that are at least eighty years old, in common use it implies pieces that belong to the period from 1850 – 1930. The great majority of antique rugs come from this period since this was the time of great expansion in production to meet the needs of a new and much broader western market.

Those older area rugs, produced before 1725, are rarer still. These pieces come from a time when the ruling dynasties of Persia, the Caucasus, Ottoman Turkey, Mogul India, and China were still powerful and capable of supporting the production of the highest quality carpets.

Such pieces are distinguished by the terms “early” or “classical,” because of their much greater age, their extraordinary quality, and because of the greater cultural authenticity of their design.

As long-treasured antiquities, many classical pieces are surprisingly well preserved and are still usable as floor covering. The extreme rarity of such pieces, however, especially those in good condition, makes them the most expensive of antique rugs and textiles.

Antique rugs from the period between approximately 1750 – 1850 are rarer; they belong to what is regarded by collectors as a “pre-commercial” period.

Early area rugs and early home decor

In the world of antique carpets and rugs there is a huge distinction between the newer woven rugs and those carpets are deemed to be antiques. In general, this distinction has the ability to affect different aspects that involve the technical aspect of the rug weaving quality, the artistic approach, the rarity, and naturally the price as well..

New modern rugs are not simply those that arrive in the market direct from a manufacturer without ever having been used. This is because many rug dealers also refer to those with an age of thirty years or less as “new rugs”. Antique rugs are those at least eighty years old, while older and semi-antique rugs fill the gap between the new and antique. But these other categories are of little import; it is the fully antique label that really matters.

Antique rugs have hand spun wool, their colors are made with all or primarily vegetable derived carpet dyes, and they are produced with designs rooted authentically in traditions hundreds of years old.

Unlike new rugs, there is a finite number of rugs made before 1920. This number will shrink, but it can never increase. Antique rugs not only have quality, but rarity as well. This fact tends to increase their value with the passing of time.

Domenico Ghirlandaio Enthroned Madonna With Early Carpet by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Mid 15th century of a ‘Ghirlandaio early carpet’ beneath the enthroned Madonna’s feet

But there is another divide of this sort, although it is not as well known. This is the divide between rugs designated as antique and those known as “Early rugs”. This labeling affects the area rugs and area carpets that were produced before 1800. Given the essential fragility of woven art, rugs of this age, that are in anything approaching good condition, are far rarer than even the nineteenth century rugs.

This makes these older period area rugs in good condition even more expensive than nineteenth century pieces. In addition, their rarity has also made these area rugs somewhat unfamiliar to the larger rug buying public. Instead, the earlier examples of both textiles and rugs of this kind have so far been primarily of interest to specialists and collectors.

This is unfortunate, since many early pieces are carpets of a substantial size, which, if in sufficiently good condition, make excellent decorative rugs. For those who can appreciate the particular beauty and superior artistry of early rugs, they remain a largely untapped resource for high quality interior décor.

Hans Memling Rug Painting by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Hans Memling Rug Painting

The older area rugs and textiles are certainly not the esoteric “collector items” that they are so often taken to be. They were originally produced as decorative period interior furnishings at an elite level of patronage. There is no reason, therefore, that they should not be able to function in this way today, so long as they are sufficiently well preserved and treated with care.

They offer a superior degree of elegance and artistry that is a notch or two above most nineteenth century rugs. For those discerning enough to tell the difference and willing to pay for it, early rugs are a gateway to a lost era of grace and luxury and offer a touch of authenticity for those looking to recreate period decors.

What area rugs are considered “Early Rugs”?

“Early rugs” refer to antique or vintage rugs that were woven or produced before the 19th century. These rugs are highly valued for their historical significance, craftsmanship, and design aesthetics. They are often considered treasures and are sought after by collectors and connoisseurs of fine textiles.

The term “early rugs” can encompass a variety of styles and origins, but some of the most notable types include:

  • Oriental Rugs: These are handwoven rugs from various regions in Asia, such as Persian rugs from Iran, Turkish rugs from Turkey, and Caucasian rugs from the Caucasus region.
  • Tribal Rugs: Nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in different regions produced these rugs. They often have unique designs and patterns that reflect the cultural heritage of the weavers.
  • Antique European Rugs: European countries, such as France, England, and Spain, also have a long history of rug weaving, and some of their early rugs can be quite valuable.
  • Navajo Rugs: Handwoven rugs created by the Navajo people of the southwestern United States are highly collectible and admired for their bold colors and geometric patterns.
  • Kilims: Flat-woven rugs from various regions, including the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, are also considered early rugs.
  • Chinese Rugs: Antique Chinese rugs from the 19th century and earlier are sought after for their fine craftsmanship and artistic designs.

These early rugs can be made from various materials, including wool, silk, cotton, and sometimes blends of these fibers. The value and desirability of these rugs can vary depending on factors such as age, condition, rarity, and the intricacy of their designs.

Collectors and experts often assess these factors when determining the significance and worth of early rugs.

Are “Early Rugs” considered to be more rare?

“Early rugs” typically refer to antique or vintage rugs that were woven during earlier periods in history.

The early rugs can indeed be considered more rare and valuable compared to more recently made modern rugs for several reasons:

  • Historical Significance: Early rugs have historical significance and often represent the craftsmanship and artistic traditions of a particular culture and time period. They provide insights into the techniques, designs, and materials used by weavers from centuries ago.
  • Limited Availability: As time passes, the number of surviving early rugs naturally decreases due to factors such as wear and tear, decay, and changes in ownership. This limited availability contributes to their rarity.
  • Quality and Craftsmanship: Antique and early rugs were often crafted with meticulous attention to detail and by skilled artisans who employed traditional weaving techniques. The level of craftsmanship in these rugs can be exceptional and is often valued by collectors.
  • Unique Designs: Early rugs may feature designs and motifs that are not commonly found in modern rug production. They often reflect the cultural and artistic influences of the time period in which they were created.
  • Natural Aging: The natural aging process can lend a unique character to early rugs, including a patina that develops over time. This patina can enhance the rug’s aesthetic appeal and contribute to its rarity.
  • Cultural and Artistic Significance: Some early rugs may be considered important cultural artifacts or examples of fine art. As such, they may be sought after by collectors, museums, and institutions for their cultural and historical value.
  • Collector’s Interest: Collectors and enthusiasts of antique rugs often seek out early rugs due to their rarity and the sense of connection they provide with the past.

It’s important to note that rarity doesn’t necessarily guarantee high value, as factors such as condition, provenance, design, and cultural importance also play a role in determining the value of early rugs.

However, the combination of historical significance, limited availability, and artistic merit can make early rugs highly sought after by those who appreciate their beauty and cultural heritage.

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