Guide For Antique Rug Collectors
Antique Rug Collectors Guide
To the untrained consumer, buying antique rugs and vintage rugs may seem daunting and intimidating. After all, there are so many different styles, so much history, and so much to know in general. Below, find an educational and informative series of articles designed to assist you in your quest for an antique Oriental rug all your own.
What do antique rug collectors look for?
Antique Rug Collectors – Each antique rug collector values slightly different qualities and aesthetics in vintage and antique rugs, so generalizing as to what will please them all is a difficult, if not impossible, task. Still, a few general motives and goals that many antique rug collectors share rise to the forefront.
Antique rug collectors of all specialties and interests tend to collect rugs that can be termed “culturally authentic.” This means pieces that were not specifically intended for the Western market from the late 1800’s onward. Rather, collectors want pieces that either predate this period or were intended for the specific use of a non-Western culture.
Rugs that seem for one reason or another to have been produced for local use by the weavers rather than for export or commerce are currently “hot” among collectors. Those that seem to be unusual are more desirable than types that are represented by numerous examples.
Rugs that appear to be influential, which represent the beginning of a new development or type are deemed “important” and are therefore highly desirable. Collectors compete especially fiercely for such pieces when they are “fresh” or new to the market. Age and rarity matter considerably, especially insofar as they affect or intersect with these other issues.
Collecting rugs – below we have put together articles and information about collecting rugs.
If you are looking to learn about antique rugs the you should view our: Comprehensive Guide to Antique Rugs and Carpets. This guide covers a wide range of topics and discusses many of the different facets that pertain to this beautiful textile art form.
Looking for Antique Rugs through the Eyes of a Collector
Guide to Collecting Antique Rugs - Collectors are a special breed of antique carpet enthusiast. While they are motivated fundamentally by a “passion for rugs” and the world that produces them, their interest tends to be inordinately intense, knowledgeable, and idiosyncratic. There is no telling what particular set of concerns and objectives will motivate an individual collector, but every collector has such a unique motivation along with a huge store of knowledge accumulated over the years.
Collectors literally see rugs differently from other people. They look at rugs creatively, through the lens of knowledge, in a way that allows them to see past problems of condition or damage in order to appreciate the artistic worth of a great piece. At times they are not motivated by the immediate impression that the rug may make, but rather by its uniqueness or its historical importance. In the latter regard, collectors depart substantially from the great majority of rug buyers and enthusiasts.
View our entire Antique Rugs Collector's Guide below, with links to useful information about rug age, rug restoration, and more.
1. Consumer Guide to Buying Rugs and Carpets
Some people buy a rug purely as a household furnishing. For them a rug is an integral piece of a larger puzzle, like a sofa, table, or a drapery. Others have what may be called a passion for rugs. They are rug enthusiasts, rug lovers. They like the very idea of rugs. They may be quite knowledgeable in terms of rug history or typology, or they may have a purely visual interest and response to the rug. [Read More: Consumer Guide to Buying Rugs]
2. City Rugs vs. Tribal Rugs
Different people have different needs in mind when they decide that they are interested in buying antique rugs. It is important to be aware of these concerns before even beginning to look. Some people buy a rug purely as a household furnishing. For them a rug is an integral piece of a larger puzzle, like a sofa, table, or a drapery. [Read More: City Rugs vs. Tribal Rugs]
3. Safavid Rugs - Early Antique Persian Rugs
The Safavid Dynasty ruled over Persia and oversaw a golden age in the arts during the 16th century. In particular, this era marked the creation of a variety of new designs and techniques in rug-weaving. The boon in the arts of this era was due to the patronage of the Safavid Shahs, some of whom were artists and weavers in their own rights. [Read More: Safavid Rugs - Early Antique Persian Rugs]
4. 17th Century Rugs and Early Carpets
The 17th century marked the later years of the Renaissance in Europe, as well as the golden age of rug-making in Turkey and Persia. Trade of both rugs and ideas was common during this era, helping to incentivize the creation of these gorgeous masterpieces. [Read More: 17th Century Rugs]
5. What Size Rug Does a Room Require?
Many rug buyers think that the carpet should fill the room or most of it. This is not necessarily the way to go, unless the primary concern is acoustic sound absorption. If the floors are attractive, a certain amount flooring should remain exposed around the edge of the room. One or more carpets can also be used to establish different spaces or areas within a larger room. [Read More: What Size Rug Does a Room Require]
6. Styles of Antique Oriental Rugs and Carpets
With such a wide variety of rug types and designs, it may be hard to decide which rug is the right fit for your home. For this reason, it is good to have an idea of the various trends that have existed in rugmaking over the centuries. Here on some broad overviews of the different styles available, to help you get started. [Read More: Styles of Antique Rugs and Carpets]
7. What Do Designers Look for in a Rug?
Designers can be helpful in determining the rug that will best complement the décor of a room. Though it is hard to generalize, designers usually make decisions based on a combination of the current trends, their own preferences and the desires of the client. Designers usually will prioritize the room’s overall look rather than the look of the rug on its own. [Read More: What Do Designers Look for in a Rug]
8. How to Determine the Value of an Antique Rug
On the most basic level, cost or value is determined by market demand. The price of a rug will depend on how much buyers are willing to compete to acquire it. This in turn depends on the size, rarity, quality of wool, weave, and color, condition, and age, and especially on the convergence of these factors in a piece. [Read More: How to Determine the Value of an Antique Rug]
9. How to Determine the Quality of Your Rugs and Carpets
The quality of a rug is judged by two things--the design, and the technique and materials. Judging the quality of a rug’s design can be a subjective thing, although often designs that are well-drawn or have an unusual quality will be deemed as more valuable. In terms of technique, the tightness of a weave is especially important when assessing quality, as it can determine how long a rug will last. [Read More: How to Determine the Quality of Your Rugs]
10. How Old Are My Rugs and Carpets?
The age of a rug is critical in determining its value, but determining age is also one of the most difficult skills to acquire for the rug enthusiast. Older rugs will show some evidence of wear. The pile may be low or worn away exposing foundation, but relatively new rugs can get worn quickly, and very old rugs can sometimes survive in good condition if they have been in the possession of thoughtful owners. [Read More: How Old Are My Rugs and Carpets]
11. Quality Handmade Rugs vs. Commercial Carpets
During the twentieth century, the production of factory-made rugs began to outpace those handspun by artisans. Today, the majority of rugs are spun in mass by machines. Though this has allowed for the production of a larger number of rugs, it has also led to a loss in the average rug’s quality. In the interest of cutting costs, most commercial rugs have resorted to using inferior materials and poor weaving techniques. [Read More: Quality Handmade Rugs vs Commercial Carpets]
12. Why Should I Look at the Back of the Rug?
The back of a rug may not seem all that interesting to a casual observer. Afterall, it is the front of the rug that is meant to be on display. To a trained eye, however, a rug’s reverse side is the source of a variety of important information to know before making a purchase. By flipping a rug over, one can glean knowledge about the rug’s origin, structure, and the fineness of the rug’s weave. [Read More: Why Should I Look at the Back of the Rug]
13. Should Investment Potential Be a Factor?
Although initially financial investment or value may not be your primary motivation for buying a rug, it is worth considering. Collector and designer trends or demands can affect the value of antique rugs. Those in high demand will tend to have high prices, so following trends can he costly. Over the long term rarest and best example of antique rugs will hold their value. [Read More: Should Investment Potential Be a Factor]
14. What to Consider When Shopping for a Rug
Shopping for a rug can take time and knowledge. There are many different factors to consider to ensue that the rug is worth the investment. Size, age, and quality are important, as is the condition of the rug. [Read More: What to Consider When Shopping for a Rug]
15. 17th Century Rugs and Early Carpets
Rugs from the 17th and 18th century have been constantly undervalued, but they are becoming more popular these days. Christies' auction on November 24th had many fine examples of these pieces which sold for substantial amounts, showing that the rugs from these eras are some to watch. [Read More: 17th Century Rugs]
16. The Best Antique Rugs
With an almost inconceivably broad variety of beautiful designs, fine materials and expert weaving, it can be hard to say exactly which antique rug is truly the best. Here we have narrowed it down to twenty rugs out of our selection, based on their popularity on the Nazmiyal website (and with some of our personal favorites mixed in). [Read More: The Best Antique Rugs]
17. Folk Art Rugs and Antique Carpets
If fine art is art that has been created by someone who studied art extensively and has gained recognition for their artistic skill, then folk art is its exact opposite: art created by someone who has not had any formal artistic training. Folk art rarely gathers the same range of audience as fine art does, but often exhibits a tremendous amount of raw talent. [Read More: Folk Art Rugs and Antique Carpets]
18. Antique Rugs Woven by Master Weavers
Although all antique Oriental rugs hold their own unique charm and patina, some are revered as the crème de la crème because of their quality and provenance. These pieces are often woven by master weavers that are respected and known for their weaves both in quality and design. [Read More: Antique Rugs Woven by Master Weavers]
19. Early Egyptian Coptic Textiles
Coptic textiles are ancient works of art, created between the 4th and 6th century AD. The Copts were Egyptian Christians based in Alexandria. They were historically renown for their cultural contributions to the fields of language and art. Despite the remarkable age of these textiles, many examples of Coptic weaving have survived the strain of time thanks to Egypt’s arid climate. [Read More: Early Egyptian Coptic Textiles]
20. Moroccan Rugs and Modern Art
Though it is clear that rugs are works of art requiring skill and talent to create, even the most captivating of rugs are valued significantly less than paintings made by famous artists. This is despite the fact that many modern artists have drawn their ideas from the designs woven into handmade carpets. Here we have listed some images of Moroccan rugs and the paintings they have inspired. [Read More: Moroccan Rugs and Modern Art]
21. The Most Expensive Rug Ever Sold
Following a recent sale of Christies in London, the world record for most expensive rug ever sold was broken. This designation went to an intricately designed Kerman vase carpet from the 17th century. This lovely textile went for ten million dollars, nearly twice as much as the previous record. [Read More: The Most Expensive Rug Ever Sold]
22. Collection Antique Kilims of the Caucasus and Persia
The Antique kilim rugs from the late 19th century are magnificent examples of tribal arts. Over the last few decades, younger collectors have showen quite an interest in these pieces. This is mostly due to the fact that, generally speaking, the older kilims tend to be priced quite affordably. [Read More: Collection Antique Kilims of the Caucasus and Persia]
23. International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC)
Fewer European cities command the historical importance and romance of the Turkish capital. In 2007, when the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC) held its annual conference, it chose Istanbul, Turkey to be the meeting place. This beautiful and ancient European city has a more than 500-year-long history of fine carpet commerce and production. [Read More: International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC)]
24. Nazmiyal Acquires Centennial Quilt From Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol is widely regarded as one of the finest American pop artists, and his unexpected death on the surgeon’s table in 1987 took the art world by surprise. His gall bladder surgery was expected to be routine. The artist’s personal art collections were offered at auction by Sotheby’s in New York City in April-May 1988. It was at this time that Nazmiyal acquired the highly collectible quilt. [Read More: Nazmiyal Acquires Centennial Quilt From Andy Warhol]
25. Antique Rug Weaves and Structure
Weave is one of the more important aspects to consider in a rug. Antique rug collectors pay a lot of attention to the weave of a given rug since they know this is an important clue into the rug’s quality, place of origin, and sometimes the age of the rug. [Read More: Learning about Antique Rug Weaves and Structure]
26. Antique Rug Designs
When it comes to artisanal rugs and carpets, there are few things more important than the rug design. After all, the design of a rug or a carpet is what makes it distinct, what makes it unique. Just as individual taste varies incredibly from person to person, so to does the design of a carpet cary from piece to piece. [Read More Here: Antique Rug Designs]
27. Antique Rug Drawing
While you might be surprised to learn that "drawing" is an extremely important facet of rug design, collectors and aficionados of antique rugs have long considered the drawing of a piece to be a crucial component in its overall quality. Just as it does in other art forms, the term "drawing," when applied to rugs and other weaves, refers to the particular rendering of form and line. [Read More Here: Rug Drawing]
28. The Importance of Dyes and Colors
Rug collectors obsess endlessly over color and the dyes used to achieve them in antique rug weaving. The introduction of synthetic dyes between about 1860 and 1880 marks a kind of cutoff point between what is generally collectible and what is not. Even small amounts of synthetic dye will put some collectors off from buying a rug for fear of the reaction the piece will provoke. [Read More Here: Rug Dyes and Colors]
29. Antique Rug Weaves and Their Structure
Of all the qualities a rug has, the one that collector look at most is its weave. The techniques used when weaving a rug can indicate where it was made, by whom it was made, and even when it was made. There are a number of factors that collectors look for when inspecting the weave, including warp-depression, types of knots, and wefts techniques. [Read More Here: Rug Weave and Structure]
30. Rug Age – How Old is a Collectible Antique Rug?
There are many factors that go into determine the collectibility of a particular antique rug or vintage carpet. Naturally, the age of the piece in question is an important piece of information to consider. Strictly speaking, the need for a rug to be old depends on what one seeks to collect. Collectors generally want rugs that are antique, at least one hundred years old. [Read More Here: Rug Age]
31. The Importance of the Condition of Antique Rugs
One very important thing that collectors must keep in mind is whether the rarity of the rug makes up for its condition. A rug that is a hundred years old or so can be expected to be in relatively good condition, but the older it is the more damage it will have, so making a decision on whether or not it is rare enough to make up for the damage is vital. [Read More Here: Condition, Age, and Rarity]
32. Imperfections in Antique Rugs Could be Intentional
Judging a rug's imperfections can be more complex than it first appears. If the rug has visible wool defects or composition issues, then it can be easily seen, but when it comes to design, color choices, and other stylistic issues, then it gets a bit more complicated. It is important to consider personal taste and comparable rugs of the time. [Read More Here: Rug Imperfections and Authenticity]
33. Should You Collect Classic Antique Rugs or Unusual Rugs?
There are so many factors to consider when choosing a rug to buy that it can take a bit of time to know if one is a classic or not. Composition plays a big part, but it is also necessary to consider whether a rug is representative of the era and style when it was woven. If it is not, then it is an unusual rug and might be worth adding to a collection. [Read More Here: Collecting Classic Examples vs. Unusual Rugs]
34. The Effect of Antique Rug Restoration in Rug Collecting
Restoration of worn and damaged rugs is widely practiced in the old and antique rug market. High quality restoration is not immediately detectable, and often it is can only be detected on the reverse of the rug to a well trained eye. There can be no doubt that the average buyer and user of antique rugs desires pieces that appear complete. [Read More Here: Rug Restoration]
35. Antique Rugs for Investment
The nature of the rug market and of collecting antiques in general, is that their value appreciates with time. Although most collectors do not buy rugs for this reason but for their love of this art form, it is still something to keep in mind. A kind of rug that is requested by collectors will be more expensive because of the high demand, so for many people it might not be a good idea to follow collector trends. [Read More Here: Rug Collecting and Investment]