The difference between carpets and rugs
is merely a matter of size,
but the role that both have played in history can't be boiled down to
and carpets have
been held in high esteem as works of art, and around the world almost every
culture has a special rug they believe is an example of superior craftsmanship.
If you're reading this blog you've probably
heard of Ardabil rugs, a special kind of rug that comes from the Ardabil
Province of Iran. Rugs
in this style could be considered the holy grail of carpeting
since it takes years of practice and innate talent to properly make them.
You may have heard of Ardabil style rugs, but
have you heard about the two most famous Ardabil rugs of all time?
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art have the honor of displaying the most famous rugs in
history. These rugs aren't your average
three foot long throw rug, the Ardabil in the London museum is 34 ½ feet by 17
½ feet. They each have a foundation of
silk and wool pile with a knot density of 300-350 knots per square inch. The thing that sets these carpets apart from
other Ardabils is the poetry that is weaved into the fabric. Each carpet has an inscription, a couplet
taken from a ghazal (a poetic form that originated in the Middle East) written
by Hafiz Shirazi, arguably the most well-known Persian poet of all time.
The carpets were completed sometime in the mid-16th
century during the rule of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, but they didn't reach
their current locations until centuries later.
One was sold to a British carpet marker in 1890 who restored it and then
sold it to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The other was originally sold to an American businessman named Clarence
Mackay, but Mackay wouldn't stay its owner for long.
During an art exhibition in London in 1931 the rug was seen
by the American industrialist J. Paul Getty who eventually purchased the rug for
$70,000 several years later. Getty was
contacted by agents who were sent on the behalf of King Farouk of Egypt who
wanted to purchase it for more than triple the amount Getty paid because the
king wanted it as a wedding present. Getty eventually opted to donate the carpet to
the Museum of Science, History, and Art in Los Angeles' Exposition Park. When the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was
established in 1961, one of the most famous rugs in history found a new home.
Labels: large rugs, Persian rugs