New Moth Spray Now Available – Protect Your Rugs

Little-Persia has just received a new batch of specialist moth sprays designed for Persian rugs. This spray, by a German manufacturer is renowned in the industry and will give protection for 6 months after use as well as killing off harmful moths and their larvae.

Visit http://www.little-persia.com/?action=view_rug&cnt=0&id=1712 to buy online or come in-store for a non-delivery rate.

If you have a rug that is moth damaged or have a moth problem please contact us at info@little-persia.com for advice.

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Rugs on hire for ‘Castle in the Sky’ filming

Little-Persia are proud to say we have a number of rugs featuring in the BBC production ‘Castles in the Sky’. The production based on the life of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the Brechin man who invented radar and gave the RAF a crucial tool in its battle with the Luftwaffe in the second world war will be aired later this year and features a 4 of our rugs including a Shiraz, Hamadan and Heriz rug and a Gharacheh runner.

The rugs are featured in the inventor Sir Robert Watson-Watt’s home as well as Sir Winston Churchill’s study.

Castles in the Sky will be released later in the year, check back here for updates.

If you would like to hire a handmade rug for a photo-shoot, film, media production or event contact us at info@little-persia.com or call 0141 4206989 for more details.

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How to count knots in Persian & Oriental rugs – KPSI

Counting knots isn’t rocket science but there are some traps that customers can fall into. There are a different types of knots but the most popular are the symmetrical Turkish knot and the asymmetrical Persian knot (these aren’t exclusive to Turkey and Persia – a whole other post – and they use Turkish knots in part of Iran). While the type of knotting can be important for appraising the origin of a rug it is vital when looking at knots per square inch (KPSI).

Asymmetrical (Persian or Senneh) Knot

Asymmetrical (Persian or Senneh) Knot

Symmetrical (Turkish or Ghiorde) Knot

Symmetrical (Turkish or Ghiorde) Knot

In general, counting the KPSI you simply measure the knots across a vertical and horizontal inch and multiply the two. Most rugs fall between 100 and 200 KPSI. Some rugs such as Heriz, tribal rugs and lower quality town/city woven rugs fall under 100 knots and over 200 KPSI the rug starts to become fine. The finest rug we’ve seen at Little-Persia was a silk Chinese rug measuring around 2100 KPSI but most high quality silk rugs are 400-800 KPSI.

When it comes to the Turkish knot things are a bit deceiving. Below you can see the more common Persian knot, the nodes you can see on the back each represent one knot. Next is the Turkish knot, if you look closely you will be able to see that there is no individual colour on the rug in terms of nodes, even at the peak of a flower or triangle there will always be two nodes (or an even number) that is because these pairs of nodes on a horizontal axis are actually only 1 knot.

Persian knot

Silk rug Persian knot – measuring 21 horizontally x 21 vertically = 441 KPSI

Turkish knot showing double nodes

Turkish knot – note the double nodes that make up each knot

 

Unscrupulous dealers and traders will attempt to count each node on a Turkish knotted rug as one knot. When counting the KSPI of these rugs the number of nodes horizontally should be divided by 2 when counting the KSPI.

The last thing to take note of when carrying out a knot count is the weft of the rug in certain knotting techniques is quite visible, these tend to be thinner white, blue or grey lines running horizontally across a rug. These are not knots but are (generally) cotton strands that are packed down after each row, or two rows, of knots to secure them in place. The weft is fairly visible, particularly in the green areas of the rug below:

back of rug showing weft

Knots on a Bakhtiyari showing the weft

 

Can you tell the difference between a Turkish and Persian knot? Browse through the Persian and Oriental rugs on our site and try to find those with a Turkish knot (many of our rugs have images of the back).

 

 

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Vanderbilt Mughal Millefleurs ‘Star-Lattice’ Carpet Sells For £4,786,500

On October 8, 2013. Christie’s London sold an an antique Moghul carpet that once bestowed the halls of two of America’s most opulent addresses – 1 West 57th Street in New York City and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. Both buildings commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, president of the New York Central Railroad.

 

Muhal Vanderbilt Star Lattice Carpet

A MUGHAL MILLEFLEURS ‘STAR-LATTICE’ CARPET
NORTH INDIA, LATE 17TH OR FIRST HALF 18TH CENTURY
12ft.9in. x 13ft.6in. (388cm. x 411cm.)

At 12.9 feet by 13.6 feet and made in the  early 18th century in northern India – the Pashmina wool carpet features an intense scarlet field detailed with a golden latticework design of interlocking 12-point stars enclosing symmetrical arrays of flowers of pink, yellow, white, and blue jasmine and lotus blossoms.

Christie’s expected it to bring between £1,500,000 and £2,000,000. To us mere mortals a massive sum but given past auction successes of similar quality carpets of this age and the carpets past sale history, a relatively conservative estimate. In 1989 the carpet was sold at a German auction house for $718,700, then a world record for any carpet. It was sold by Christie’s before, in 1995, $992,500, again a world record for any Oriental carpet.

The carpet is one of only 12 known Millefleur (French for “thousand flower”) rugs from its period, one so superb that scholars have called it “a masterpiece” and “the most sublime of all decorative carpets.” At 300 years old there is only light wear for a rug of its age.

On the day of the auction two main bidders fought it out to buy the carpet, smashing the estimate (although not reaching the heights of some of the Persian rugs that have broke records in recent years) and selling at £4,786,500.

 

Click here to view Little-Persia’s Antique Persian and Oriental Rugs.

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New Video Posted: Ziegler Moth Damage Repair

We’ve recently added a new YouTube channel and uploaded our first video, a severely damaged Chobi/Ziegler rug being repaired here in Glasgow:

 

 

Direct link here: http://youtu.be/DTcr_zO8fc0

 

As always – visit our Oriental rug repair page for more information.

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Free Rug Identification

Have you inherited a rug, or have a rug but aren’t quite sure where it’s from or if it’s even handmade?

Little-Persia are offering free rug identification – simply send images of the rug or rugs to info@little-persia.com or come in store* and we will get back to you and give you any information we can on your rug.

Examples of the minimum we would ask for in terms of useful images are visible below.

Please note, valuations will not be given, we provide written insurance valuations for a small fee which is refundable if you purchase a replacement rug at Little-Persia.

 

* if coming in-store please notify us before hand and check to ensure there is no moth larvae or damage on your rug(s).

 

Tabriz Rug

All over image

Tabriz rug knots

Back of the rug, preferably showing the fringes and the sides

 

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The most expensive carpet ever sold – $43.8m Sotheby’s sale

Persian and Oriental rugs are, by nature, expensive and treasured items. While many do not appreciate, or have the knowledge to appreciate the intricate artwork involved in the creation of Persian rugs; the workmanship and hours that go in to making them alone can explain the cost.

That is until one sells for over $40m. Persian rugs are a form of art. In fact, for many city woven rugs, artists paint the pattern of the rug in intricate detail before the rugs knotting process even begins. Like paintings there are many thousands of rugs all of different qualities and values (and if we are honest there will be rugs, like paintings, that are outstanding quality but do not fetch the same price-tag because they are not from famous artists or do not have a back-story). There are famous master-weavers like there are famous artists and there are famous rugs like there are famous paintings.

There have been a number of record breaking rugs over the past few years mostly exceeding their estimates by huge percentages. Originally there was a silk Isfahan rug of immense beauty, which was sold at auction by Christies’ in June 2008 for $4.5m.

Isfahan Silk Carpet

Silk Isfahan Carpet sold at Christies in 2008 for $4.5m

Soon after this a rug made of precious metals and jewels sold for $5.5m, well below estimate due to the value of the materials used to create the rug. Personally I am quietly pleased that this rug fell below estimates as the idea is abhorrent and the rug held no artistic value but was just ‘bling’ for bling’s sake.

In April 2010 a Kerman ‘Vase’ Carpet was sold, again at Christies’ for an incredible £6.2m ($9.6m) after having a reserve of just £200,000-300,000.

A KIRMAN 'VASE' CARPET

Kerman ‘Vase’ Carpet fetching $9.6m at Christies’ in 2010

These sales, although staggering in their value and in the most part unexpected, does not make the sale of the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet any less astounding. The hammer fell at $33.8m at Sotheby’s New York where a anonymous phone bidder fought tooth and nail with another phone bidder acting as an agent for a London-based client. After commissions and charges, the rug totalled an astonishing $43.8m.

Clark Sickle-Leaf Kerman Carpet

The World Record breaking Clark Sickle-Leaf Kerman Carpet sold for £43.8m at Sotheby’s auction in 2013

To view Little-Persia’s collection of antique Persian rugs click here.

 

Video Link:

Sotheby’s Video Description of the Sickle-Leaf Carpet

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Any colour, any shape, any size: Persian & Oriental rug sourcing at Little-Persia

Recently we were approached by the Faculty of Advocates, a body of law firms operating from the Old Parliament building in Edinburgh, about sourcing a massive rug for their ‘reading room’.

At Little-Persia we have Scotland’s, and one of the UK’s largest collections of rugs, but when approached about a handmade carpet with an area of 60m2 the only option was to use our rug sourcing service. Over the years we have built up a large network of suppliers and contacts throughout the trade, whether it be agents, manufacturers and weavers or other retailers and wholesalers of rugs. This and a determination to find the perfect rug when the options are limited is why The Faculty decided to use ourselves rather than other, more local, rug dealers in Edinburgh.

The Faculty had contacted us after originally speaking with a handmade rug store in Edinburgh. The brief for the rug was quite specific, the rug was to be used in a public space and had to be within 50cm of the desired length and width. The colour scheme or rich mahogany would be complimented with a deep red and Persian design. Having being offered a rug that would take well over a year to make, above budget and not within the design brief The Faculty asked for our opinion.

We were given time to find a suitable replacement for the existing rug, and along with their brief and a knowledge of the layout and décor of the room we put the feelers out for a suitable rug. Utilizing contacts from London to Germany, Iran, India and Afghanistan we eventually found a suitable rug in the US. It is not normal for a rug this size to be woven without a buyer in mind as it is an unusual size and finding a buyer can be difficult – how many people have a room that can take a 9.5m x 6.5m rug and the price-tag that goes along with a rug so large?

The search for the rug itself was difficult and took around a month to find, the board at The Faculty liked the images we could provide but wanted to see the rug on-site meaning the rug had to be flown over from America on approval. A rug weighing over 250kg!

We booked delivery to a London airport then for the rug to be couriered to Edinburgh where we arranged to meet it – of course when the rug arrived on a pallet on the back of a van with no tail-lift (too awkward to have the number of people needed to lift it in the van) we had to use our own ingenuity to even get the rug on to the pavement. Lining up the van and a truck with a tail-left we transferred the pallet from one vehicle to the other, allowing us to lower the hefty piece safely to the ground.

Once in the building, the challenge to get the rug through a busy law library without ruining the newly laid plush walkway carpet (with the wheels of a pallet-truck with a combined weight of over 300kg) was equally as difficult.

At the end of a long process however, the end result was rewarding as it was stunning. The rug fitted perfectly in place and complimented the panelled walls and heavy-set furniture. The room which is used for ceremonial purposes when new Advocates are sworn into the bar in Scotland got the rug it deserved and a focal point to be proud of… and for less than they had been quoted elsewhere for a vastly inferior rug.

sourced rug

The rug in its place at The Faculty of Advocated Reading Room, Edinburgh

The Faculty’s rug is one of the most difficult and time-consuming rug sourcing projects we have carried out at Little-Persia, but illustrates that no matter what your requirements the right rug is out there for you.

To find out more about Little-Persia’s Persian & Oriental rug sourcing services visit our website, email info@little-persia.com or call 0141 420 6989.

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World Record Suzani Sold At Auction

On the 25th May, 2013 a Suzani was sold at auction for €115,000, smashing its estimate of €29,000 and breaking the World Record for the most expensive Suzani ever sold.

While nowhere near the levels of the hand-knotted rugs of recent times (with a Persian Kerman rug recently fetching over $34m) the price achieved for a weaving shows the strength and confidence returning to the market.

A suzani is a flat woven rug, like kilims and soumaks but made by needlepoint, similar to a tapestry.

Picture of the world record breaking LAKAI-SHAHRISYABZ Suzani

LAKAI-SHAHRISYABZ Suzani, 19th century. 255 x 216cm Sold on: 25 May 2013, lot 197, Est: €29,000, Sold for: €143,000 (including 22% commission)

The densely intricate silk-on-silk suzani sold at Rippon Boswell’s spring sale after a bidding war broke out between a London-based agent and an anonymous telephone bidder fought tooth and nail to win the lot.

The suzani has a mandala-like pattern with encircling botehs commonly found on Kashmiri (or Paisley) shawls. While most suzani rugs or hangings have a bold and bizarre decoration this one is profound in how extreme the colours and patterns are. Yet still the rug manages to find a balance and although is complex is not cluttered. This type of work and artistry could only be achieved by someone with a great artistic mind and delicate hand. Whoever wove this piece would have been a master-weaver of the highest skill and experience.

A silk ground Lakai was published in 1996 in Philadelphia’s Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections. That rug was displayed nowhere near the intricacy and skill of this piece yet it was given to the Russian royal family by an Emir of Bukhara. If the suzani published in 1996 was fit for the Tsar of all the Russias, we can only guess who the Shahrisyabz Suzani was intended for.

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Resurrecting a Destroyed Nain – Extreme Persian Rug Restoration

At Little-Persia we carry out all manner of repairs. From relatively simple side-bindings and fringe repairs to tears, holes and moth damage we regularly carry out repairs and restorations that can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several weeks.

These pages are filled with work that we have carried out here in our Glasgow gallery. However, to illustrate that any rug can be saved and repaired no matter what the damage we will highlight a project we managed to have a large 6LAA Nain restored when all hope was lost.

For such a job it wasn’t viable to carry out the rug repairs in the UK so the rug was sent back to Iran to be repaired at source. This process took several months and of course was by no means a cheap restoration, however the rug was extremely fine and valuable and held a high sentimental worth to the client. So, rather than opt for a replacement from their insurers they put the rug in our hands and asked for it to be restored; the results are breath-taking…

Nain rug moisture damage

The client’s Nain carpet, one side border completely rotted with damp

The client had rolled their rug and left it on the floor in storage. Unfortunately the floor was damp and after several months in storage the discovered an entire side binding in tatters. We always say dampness is the natural enemy of handmade rugs – well dampness and moths.

This is an extreme image of what can happen when a rug is left damp or wet. Wool, over time can literally disintegrate and the cotton foundation rots when damp.

nain damp damage close up

A close up of the damage

The damage quite clearly is severe and most would believe the rug completely ruined. In fact the visible damage is only the tip of the iceberg as water and dampness was drawn through the foundation causing weakness in areas extending from the physical damage.

 

Most of the border had to be cut away and weft strings painstaking added from within the rugs’ foundation

Adding new foundation to a typical rug with 100 knots per square inch is time-consuming and difficult for a small area. This rug, being a fine Nain had a knot count of over 575 knots per square inch, that’s 24 rows of knots (or 24 weft strings) every inch. Across the 3.5m length of the carpet that is 3360 of weft that had to be interwoven into the rugs’ foundation.

An exact colour match – a benefit of having a Nain rug repaired in Nain

Wool in the correct colours was then able to be sourced – a benefit of having the rug repaired where it was made. Luckily Nain rugs generally stick to certain colours of wool so an exact match was possible.

rug re-knotting

The rug is attached to a loom for the re-knotting process

The was then attached to a custom-sized loom to begin the re-knotting process. The warp (vertical strands that show as the rugs’ fringes) are added up and down the length of the loom and the knots tied to make up the lost pattern. After each row the weft strands are interwoven between the warp on top of the knots to secure them in place.

 

 

 

 

A master weaver ties a knot on the Nain rug

As the weaver ties the knot they must use the reversed pattern from opposite side of the rug to create an accurate design. This is much more difficult to do when trying to match an existing pattern than it is when starting from scratch. Each row and each knot must be balanced and tie up with the rows above to keep the pattern flowing without obvious breaks or becoming squashed up or unnatural looking.

The corner of the rug after being re-knotted, the pile still to be clipped and shaved to the correct height.

Re-knotting the rug is a lengthy process made more difficult by the need to calculate exactly where each knot should go to ensure the width of the border is equal. This can only be achieved by master-weavers and top artisans.

The total process took around 8 months to complete, it is one of the largest and most challenging rug restorations we have been part of but perfectly illustrates that a rug is never lost. Some rugs are “beyond repair” but only because it is not worth restoring them.

The entire border of this fine Nain rug has been re-woven.

Once the rug is re-woven the pile is clipped to height to reveal the finished pattern. The results, as we said at the start of this case study, are breath-taking:

 

The side border of the rug after re-knotting.

 

Spot the difference – both side borders of the rug are shown on the knot side. As perfect a restoration as you could imagine.

While this type of restoration is not for everyone and every rug it does show what can be achieved. We still recommend to have any small area of damage repaired before it spreads.

 

From the smallest of repairs to the most intricate of restorations – call Little-Persia on 0141 4206989 or email us at info@little-persia.com.

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