Consumer Guide to Buying Antique Rugs
Tips to Consider When Buying Antique Rugs and Carpets
Buying Antique Rugs - 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, a reaction that perceives the individual personality inherent in all handmade rugs, especially antique ones.
To a rug enthusiast, the rug is more like a painting. It is a focus for detailed attention. It should go with the accompanying décor, but it is not immediately subordinate to it. For this type of individual interested in buying antique rugs, there are various levels of concern and interest.
We are currently in the midst of a major revival of traditional, hand-made rug weaving virtually throughout the rug-producing regions of the world. This movement began several decades ago in Turkey, initially at the instigation of European rug aficionados like Rainer Boehmer.
Known by the acronym DOBAG, or Project DOBAG, the goal was not only to reproduce more authentically the range of designs current in Turkish weaving up through the nineteenth century, but to do so in hand spun, vegetable-dyed wool.
While it took a few years for weavers to recover the knack of using hand spun fibers and combining the varying shades of color inherent to vegetable dyes, the results were impressive and they began to sweep the new rug market. Soon weavers were producing vegetable-dyed, hand-spun copies or close adaptations of various nineteenth century rugs types in Afghanistan, India, China, and Iran.
By the late nineteen nineties, such production had become standard, largely supplanting the less authentic design trends and synthetic dyes that had come to dominate oriental rug weaving throughout the twentieth century. Consequently, it now seems to many potential rug buyers that they no longer need to go to the expense of buying an antique rug.
Nowadays it is possible to acquire new rugs with the same sort of color, design, wool quality, and technical standards of the ones produced a hundred years ago or earlier in perfect condition for a fraction of the price. But is this really the case? Are new rugs of this sort really the equivalent of the ones they are copying or recreating?
The answer depends on how closely one looks, or, to put it differently, how discriminating a buyer one is. For the vast majority of rug buyers, new rugs, will suffice. In fact, many new rug buyers made be satisfied with machine-made rugs.
Certainly, customers looking for quality modern designed rugs will inevitably be drawn to new production pieces. But for those who enjoy traditional oriental carpets in Persian , or pieces of tribal and nomadic type, the pieces that are currently being produced will only meet their needs to a point.
There is more to a rug than the specific configuration of its design, and while the use of handspun wool and vegetable dyes may recover traditional techniques, there is no substitute for the effects of time. What new rugs can never recreate, however well-made they may be, is the cultural milieu in which they were produced, the environment and experience that directly governed the weaver"s approach to pattern and design.
And new rugs, so long as they are new, cannot have the delicate patination of the color and the polished surface that give antique rugs so much of the appearance for which they are prized. That only comes with time.
Let us expand a bit on these last two points. Cultural milieu or experience is extremely difficult to quantify and explain, but there can be no doubt that this is what imparted so much of the distinctive character that antique rugs still project to a discerning viewer.
Rug weaving and design were an integral part of the culture of the people who made them up until the early twentieth century. Rug weaving was analogous to the traditional music of their culture or to their literature and mythology. It was part of their cultural or social structure.
Today little of that culture remains intact as a living phenomenon, It has been supplanted by a new cultural outlook permeated by western conceptions arriving via film, TV, and the internet. The people making rugs today no longer think and observe the way their ancestors did. Consequently they can never produce traditional culture as a living, creative activity in the manner of their forebears.
They can attempt to replicate it for commercial purposes, and they may even come remarkably close, but it can never really be the same. That is why a discriminating rug enthusiast cannot be satisfied by a new rug. There is a certain quality of life that affected the way old rugs were designed and made that cannot be recaptured today. In the same way the passage of time affects rugs materially or physically. This is not always a good thing.
Rugs wear down over the years. They can be affected by dryness and damp. They can become damaged and in need of repair. But over time antique rugs that have been properly cared for also acquire qualities that are admired and prized.
Unlike many of the synthetic colors that came into use in the later part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, natural vegetable dyes are remarkably resistant to fading, but they do soften or mellow a bit, especially at the tips of the fibers of the pile.
This "patina" effects the play of light on the surface, varying the appearance of the colors, making them more translucent, and imparting a quality of depth, especially in conjunction with the irregular textures of high-quality hand spun wool.
Even a certain amount of wear is desirable. The shorter the pile, the crisper the design appears to be. The slow wearing of the pile also polishes it, making it even more lustrous and velvety. Only time can confer this gracefulness of age, as one may put it.
All the special qualities that make antique rugs desirable create market demand, which, in turn, intersects with rarity and availability to establish market price. Antique rugs are more expensive than new rugs because their number is finite, and because it becomes increasingly difficult to supply the demand as rugs are purchased and disappear into private collections.
Those who can appreciate the qualities and distinctions outlined above have long known that they must be willing to pay for them competitively, hence the higher price of antique rugs. But there is a silver lining here, so to speak. Antique rugs hold their value and even appreciate over time.
If properly maintained by their owners, they can easily be resold or traded in against a new purchase. They are an investment, like any other fine antique or a piece of real estate. New rugs offers no such opportunity. They may someday be prized as antiques; only time will tell. But the day after they are purchased, they are worth considerably less than they were before.
In my opinion, the pleasure that an antique rug offers to an informed and appreciative viewer makes it well worth the price. But when one takes into account the investment potential of a fine antique rug, the reasons to acquire one increase dramatically.
Even those who are indifferent to the aesthetic qualities of antique rugs can see the financial advantage in acquiring them. But for those who can appreciate their beauty, antique rugs make a far more desirable and useful investment than a stock portfolio. Buying antique rugs is a fun and exciting experience, the fruits of which may be a gorgeous antique rug all your own.
Further Information to Consider When Buying Antique Rugs
Below, you will find a series of articles written to assist you in the process of buying an antique Oriental rug. Each article deals with a different aspect of antique rugs, and, together, they will help to paint a full picture of what the process of buying an antique rug fully entails.
From a list of suggested reading, to various breakdowns on the various types of antique rugs that you may encounter, there is certainly a lot to consider. 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 beginning to look.
Buying an antique Oriental rug can be a thrilling and unique experience. From exploring the difference between city and village rugs, between tribal and Nomadic rugs, between formal and informal rugs - and countless other such pairings - one stands to learn a great deal about one of the crafts longest practiced by mankind - rug weaving.
Fine antique Oriental rugs are timeless works of arts, and are living embodiment of the peoples and the cultures responsible for their creation. Explore the fascinating and exciting world of antique Oriental rugs today, and you'll surely be ready to buy one all your own in no time!
View our entire Consumer's Guide to Buying Rugs below:
If you are actively seeking to purchase a rug or if you have a serious interest in rugs, it is advisable to look into the available literature. Rug aficionados may wish to learn. [Read more: Books to Read About Hand Made Rugs]
2. Finding the Right Rug to Buy
So you've made the decision, the big decision: you've decided that you want to go shopping for an antique rug for your home. After all, there are precious few things better at tying an entire. [Read more: Finding the Right Rug to Buy]
3. Use of Rugs and Carpets in Decoration
First off, the buyer needs to determine the immediate purpose that the rug will serve. Is it to serve primarily as insulation or to dampen sound, is it meant to be used as a decorative item, or possibly both? Is it for use at home. [Read more: Use of Rugs and Carpets in Decoration]
4. Antique Rugs for Businesses
Rugs meant for business environments will have different requirements than those for use at home. A rug in a business setting is to some extent an expression of the image the business. [Read more: Antique Rugs for Businesses]
5. Formal vs. Informal Rugs
In a high-powered business space, formality is appropriate for rooms where one meets clients, board rooms etc. In residential space, foyers, living, and dining rooms may require formality. [Read more: Formal Rugs vs. Informal Rugs]
6. Choosing Antique Rugs for Wall Hanging
Although created as floor covering, smaller rugs also make excellent wall hangings or furniture coverings. A good antique with an effective design worthy of sustained attention will work much like a painting. [Read more: Choosing Antique Rugs for Wall Hanging]
7. Not All Rugs are Made the Same
The issue of rug durability -- that is, how long it will last as well as how resistant it will be to wear and tear -- is an important factor for you to consider when you're buying a new antique rug. It should certainly be noted that not all rugs. [Read more: How Rugs Are Made]
8. Establishing a Rug Budget
There are few things more important to consider when buying antique rugs than your rug budget, which will greatly influence the sort of rugs that you will choose. [Read more: Establishing a Rug Budget]
9. How to Approach Interior Design with Antique Rugs
Because of their wide variety of styles, antique rugs represent a unique opportunity to explore many different styles within the world of interior design. [Read more: How to Approach Interior Design with Antique Rugs]
10. Tips for Decorating with Vintage and Antique Rugs
Finding the perfect antique rug is only the start of the interior design battle. The style war really begins when you bring your rug home and step foot in the trenches. [Read more: Tips for Decorating with Antique Rugs]
10. Buying Antique Rugs and Carpets
Buying Antique Rugs and Carpets - In this article, we'll answer your frequently asked questions about buying antique rugs. Topics covered include: Things to consider before buying an antique rugs, where to buy antique rugs, how to get the best value for your money, and information about rug appraisals and evaluations. We've divided the article into three sections of information. Click the section that interests you to see frequently asked questions on that topic. [Read more: Buying Antique Rugs and Carpets]