Textiles are among the earliest handicrafts that man has created. Not only they enabled people to protect themselves from cold and heat, but they also represented an identity for a specific population group or as an indication of privileged social status. Textiles had its very distinct place in ancient civilisations across the world including China, India, Persia, Egypt and South America. Hence, the human being started very early the process of perfecting and sophisticating their textiles and fabric, distinguishing themselves from the other cultures, first by hand and then by simple machines.
Antique textiles and antique rugs have always had their unique values and positions in museums and among the collectors. Textiles prices during the last 30 years have generally been rising in international auctions around the world. Among them, the Qajar Period (End of 18th to early 20th), plays a significant role both in Persian rugs and textiles. During the Qajar Dynasty, the production of handmade rugs and textiles flourished and had substantial improvement since.
From the 24th to 29th of June, there is an indispensable exhibition of Antique rugs and Textiles at our main Wembley showroom, where you could view a collection of exceptional and sublime pieces from late nineteen to the early 20th century. You could also view and obtain a copy of our newly published book called: Persian Textiles, The Ramezani Family Collection, by Dr Marie Louise Nabholz- Kartaschoff
Mystique of Antique rugs
Among hand made rugs, antique rugs have their distinguished place. It is true that today in some countries like Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan they can still achieve to weave beautiful high-quality pieces, but in general, rugs that were made in the past, particularly from 17Th to the first quarter of the 20Th century, generally have a better selection of wool, silk or cotton.
Indeed life was much simpler in the past, and people involved in spinning, dying wool or silk had more time to spend. As weavers had more time, they were more comfortable in performing their tasks.
Besides, natural and vegetable dyes were used more often than today. In addition to this, there have been essential ateliers all around in Persia and India who used to receive orders not only from the Persian court but also from European courts.
You can still find a few numbers of such pieces in the hands of dealers, carpet shops or collectors.
Antique pieces are highly decorative and can match very well both modern and classic interior decors. Hence most of the interior designers propose them in their projects. Among most decorative antique rugs, we can name Heriz Serapi, Mahal, Kazaks, Ushak, Kerman, Mashad, Tabriz, Kashgai, Lahore, Bakhtiar, Shirvan, Karabakh, Tehran Garous etc.
We should also add that some of the antique rugs are so popular that there are regularly new productions made with those designs like Garous, Kazak or Ferahan. Recently, the prices of some antique rugs have increased dramatically.
Having an antique rug at home and thinking that the piece has been created by the hands of people who made it with love, in the past, is an indescribable feeling.
From 24Th to 29 Th of June 2019, we will host our In house exhibition which we will offer a 10% discount on all antique rugs.
Persian New Year
On the 20th March, also known as the first day of Spring, Persians (Iranians) celebrate their New Year. In the equinox calendar, the Nowruz represents the "New Day". All Persians around the world and other neighbouring countries which belonged to the Persian Empire (2,500 years ago) such as Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, some Pashtuns people in Pakistan and everyone who follow and practice the ancient religion of Zoroastrian, celebrate the New Year on this date. In short, Zoroastrians follow three main principals in life at all time: Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. Nowruz traditions include preparing seven different symbolic pieces, known as the Haft-Sin where each item has to start with the letter "S" in the Persian language. They represent the ancient Persian culture and symbolises longevity, Love, wealth, good health, happiness, hope for the coming year.
As you can see in the picture above, the irreplaceable items and symbolic definitions are as follow:
1. "Sib" (Apple): Its main symbolic definition is "health."
2. "Sabze" (Grass): Symbolizes nature and exhilaration.
3. "Senjed" (Sea-buckthorn): Is an essential item which symbolises wisdom.
4. "Serkeh" (Vinegar): In Persian literature, vinegar represents ageing with grace.
5. "Samanu": Made from germinated wheat, is specially prepared for Nowruz and represents power and bravery.
6. "Seer" (Garlic): Considered as a stimulation symbol, some believe that it represents peace and not to invade others' rights.
7. "Somaq" (Sumac): Sumac is a symbol for Patience and Tolerance.
The New Year celebrations last for the first 13 days of spring, full of joy and hope for the upcoming of spring where everything comes back to life. During this time, it is a custom to go and visit your relatives to regain news of each other and also to leave behind and to forget any possible past problems that it may have occurred. Children, in particular, look forward during the whole year to such festivity since they receive new clothes and gifts while visiting and welcoming guests and relatives. Many save money for such an event to purchase new items whether it is a car, an oriental rug, furniture, etc.
In the spirit of Zoroastrian tradition, we will be offering a discount of 10% on all rugs purchased until the 31st March 2019. To receive your discount, visit our showroom in Wembley, from Monday to Friday from 09.00 am to 06.00 pm or by appointments during weekends.
The Dyeing Process
Since the beginning of time, weavers from nomad tribes used the natural resources they had available to create dye for the spun. After the thread for a carpet is completed, the next stage is to choose the colour and dye it. This process isn’t easy; it requires a lot of knowledge and accuracy. Some methods can be done over one day for one colour while other colours could take up to four days. Colouring yarn is a real art, and there are many different ways of doing this. One thing for sure, natural dyes are the best, and this is because they give the yarn a natural and high and hard to exceed its soft natural glow.
Natural Dyes can formulate from either the plant and animal kingdom. For the colour Blue, a plant of the pea family called indigo is utilised; For the colour red, the root of the madder, kermes (chermes) and cochineal (dried lice) is used; yellow comes from saffron or pomegranate; Brown is usually applied from a walnut shell, oak bark. Even so, these techniques have evolved, and nowadays most rugs are made with synthetic dyes or a combination of both dyes which is not a bad thing.
Synthetic dyes were introduced in1870, so it is not something new. In the 20th century, weavers began to use better artificial colours known as chrome dyes. These were reliable and resembled natural dyes because they are sun and wash proof. It is considered to be identical to natural dyes, with the exception that it does not provide the same softness in the looks; Synthetic carpets get a harder, slightly metallic lustre which mitigates after about 10-15 years. Finding a combination of both natural and chrome dyes in a manufacturing a rug is not uncommon. The weaver uses the one that gives the best result for the purpose. It is common to use chrome dyes in a carpet’s details and natural colours to the backgrounds. Good synthetic dyes are just as suitable as vegetable dyes. It all depends on the correct procedure of dying and rinsing at the end, making sure no chemicals are left in the dyed wool which in time would cause damage and gradually weakens the wool fleeces.
Making a pure vegetable dye rug generally works very expensive and is long if it is appropriately dyed, for example, you would need 1 kg of madder to dye one KG of wool and as you need a minimum of approx. 4 to 5 KG of wool for one sqm, soon the cost of the material exceeds most budgets; therefore, most weavers and producers use good quality synthetic dyes where you could dye 1 kg by using 10 Grams or less of artificial colours and have more control of the actual shade they wish to achieve. They also use and mix some vegetable dyes when dying the wool of attaining an unevenness in the tone and colour of the wool which most people find interesting and are more natural.