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Posted on: October 8, 2018

Antique Spotlight

Persian Amal Ziegler Bakhtiari Carpet, circa 1890

Ziegler was a Swiss master weaver who set up carpet workshops in Iran in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which are still revered among collectors for their lasting quality. This magnificent Ziegler dates back to 1890, and like many Ziegler originals from this period, this rug was made with the oversight and direction of Ziegler himself. He pursued the true craft of  Persian carpet making by using the highest quality materials and techniques. Similarly to how we make our Orley Shabahang signature carpets, Ziegler’s rugs were made using handspun wool from Persian fat-tail sheep that were dyed with natural vegetable dyes and handwoven by artisan weavers.

Measuring 11’6″ x 12′, this particular rug was commissioned to be woven by the women of the Bakhtiari tribe. It is unique, however, because its design and weaving techniques are that of Ziegler’s creation rather than that of the Bakhtiari. This rug uses regional Bakhtiari colors, but the Gul, or flower, design that patterns the rug can be attributed to the Turkmen villages in the northwest region of the country. The Bakhtiari people have their own version of the Gul design, but it is more primitive. Ziegler advances the Gul motif one step further from the typical Turmen designs by eliminating the amount of detail detail and ornamentation. If one were to compare with other in-demand Persian carpets of the area and time, the pattern is not as complex. Additionally, Ziegler broadens and scales-up the size of the medallions to create the feeling of openness in the pattern.

The eight-sided medallion is a common shape used in traditional Persian art and handicraft. Pictured above, one can see the eight-sided Gul medallion in the field’s pattern, as well as its inverse in the border. Its significance can be traced back to the centuries-old Persian fixation with mathematics and its symbolism. Eight is an especially important number because it is the first cubic number, and as such, it represents the shift to three-dimensionality. Because a rug is flat, however, Ziegler uses the eight-sided square to represent a three-dimensional shape on a two-dimensional medium.

To see this phenomenal rug, as well as other breath-taking antiques, visit our 1stdibs page.