With thousands of hand-knotted carpets in our inventory, you never know what jewels may be waiting within the collection. When it comes to antique carpets, many may not consider them due to common misconceptions, such as concerns over durability, design, and cleaning. If we had a chance to prove these customers wrong, we would show them this week’s Staff Pick, our Antique Persian Bakshaish carpet. With harmonious shades of pink, green, blue, red, and camel, dive into this week’s blog to learn about what goes into this carpet’s fabrication, symbolism, and what determines this carpet’s value.
Woven in Iran, circa 1910, this wool carpet, crafted using traditional hand-knotted weaving techniques, measures 8′ x 10’3″. Wool shorn from Persian fat-tailed sheep is hand-shorn and hand-spun to retain the naturally high levels of lanolin within the yarn. Once spun into yarn, dye-masters utilize different combinations of organic dyes to create the harmonious shades found within the carpet. Once dyed, a process that can take anywhere from minutes to weeks, the yarn is then washed in natural spring water and dried in the sun to set the patina in the wool. Once the patina sets and the yarn is dried, weavers begin knotting each tread onto the cotton warp and weft foundation.
The design represents a tribal Persian flower garden that intertwines and interconnects with large garlands, leaves, and flower bulb motifs. The various shades in the pink background of the carpet provide an excellent backdrop and contrasting tone for the shades of green, blue, red, and taupe detailing within the motifs. To symbolize the circle of life, a small central medallion that connects to the two large flower motifs is the central motif that interconnects through the design of the entire carpets. Unusual for tribal rugs, this Bakshaish design is almost symmetrical and references the four natural elements, water, earth, fire, and air. The most fascinating and alluring part of this design is the L-shaped motifs found within each quarter of this carpet. Motifs symbolizing birds hunting for caterpillars and butterflies strategically placed to reinforce the symbolism of the circle of life.
Multiple aspects must be considered when determining the value of this carpet. The first is obvious, which is the condition of the piece. As this carpet was crafted circa 1900-1910, this piece is at least 100 years old and is in excellent condition. That means that the pile remains plush, soft, and even throughout the design, even at this piece’s advanced age. Additionally, the status, origin, raw materials, and overall size of the carpet directly impact the value.
Traditionally, Persian weavers were nomadic and needed carpets that are intended to be used and portable. To find a tribal piece that measures over 8’ x 10’ is surprising and means that this carpet was crafted for a high-ranking member of the tribe. In addition, this piece has a flower garden design that is nearly symmetrical throughout, a very distinctive and unusual style for antique tribal carpets.
Listed at $18,500 on 1stdibs.com, this piece is in near-mint condition for being over 110 years old. If you like this Antique Persian Bakshaish carpet and want to see it and other tribal options, check out our digital showroom on 1stdibs.com. And make sure to check out orleyshabahahang.com to see the rest of our Antique Collection.