An antique rug for your home is a long-term investment. It is a piece that can add depth and character to any space, and tie your room together with its unique and delicate patterns and artfully composed designs.
When buying an original antique rug, you need to be well-versed with the different time-honored techniques, distinct motifs, and complex color schemes. This will enable you to recognize the difference between a Persian Serapi and a Turkish Oushak rug.
In this article, we have included a comprehensive guide to buying authentic antique rugs so that as a buyer, you make an informed decision when purchasing this collectible item to furnish your home, office, or studio.
1. Check the Knots and Weaves
When purchasing an antique rug, notice the knot density, the weaves, and the craft techniques. A rug with a high knot density can be verified by flipping the rug and running your hand over it to check if it is tightly packed. A high knot density is an indicator of a quality antique rug.
Secondly, pay close attention to the carpet weave to ascertain that it is handmade. The simple verification check is to visually confirm that the rug has a similar or almost similar design or pattern on the back as it does on the front.
You can also check the rug for its thickness, texture, and consistency to know if the materials used to make the rug, such as yarn, for example, is hand-spun. A general indicator is some irregularities in the yarn as opposed to a precise and uniform machine-spun yarn.
Generally, the value of an antique rug is largely dependent on the material and techniques used to make the rug. Since rug-making is a centuries-old tradition, the construction of a fine antique rug has age-old established methods that you can verify and learn about depending on what origin antique rug you want to purchase.
2. Verify the Origin
The origin and age of an antique rug is an important clue to assess its true value and originality. While having basic knowledge of weaving techniques and materials used is important, you can also notice the design and different patterns to identify the origin of an antique rug.
For example, a Mughal era carpet, dating between 1500-1800, will tend to have naturalistic botanical designs with elaborate flowers and plants using rich hues of reds and greens. You may even find considerable spatial depth and a sense of fluidity in some Mughal era carpets that depict native sub-continent animals.
On the other hand, if you are thinking of buying a Persian rug, you should know that Tabriz, Herat, Kashan, and Kerman were the main rug-producing centers. While techniques vary from region to region, they are usually made with a single looping known as the Persian or Senneh knot.
For instance, a Persian Kerman rug will date back to the Safavid Dynasty and feature elaborate vase floral designs with mild and relaxed colors. While a Persian Kashan rug by the famous master weaver UstadMohtasham will have the characteristic mix of vibrant colors with dense floral patterns and a high knot density.
3. Ask the Right Questions
When purchasing an antique rug, you need to ask some important questions. First off, inquire whether the carpet uses naturally dyed materials or synthetic or chemical dyes. A quick test is to take a damp cloth and run it over the carpet. If the color transfers over the cloth, you can be sure that it is a synthetic dye. In this case, it is best to ditch the retailer.
Second, check the antique rug for signs of faux-aging. A common misconception is that antique rugs appeared old and battered. In reality, they maintain their bright and beautiful colors over centuries. Usually, rip-off sellers will make use of acid-washing to give the appearance of an antique rug and the usual tell is that it will appear washed-out and have a weak display of colors. Additionally, ask the seller what measures have been taken for the rug’s storage and restoration.
You should also check for stains, sun-fading, and whether the carpet is brittle. It is best to avoid all those antique rugs whose edges are frayed and loose. This is because they are likely to degrade at a rapid rate and won’t be worth the investment.
Buying a valuable antique rug is a wonderful experience that will take a good amount of time and money. Ideally, you should vet the seller and research the various characteristics that make antique rugs distinct and exceptional.
Keep referring to this guide to help you buy the best antique rug. Good luck!
Article Submitted By Community Writer