Antique Tapestry or Replica?

You may be asking yourself what kinds of long-lost wonders you could find in a Persian rug gallery after watching a certain CBS special. The special, “Long-Lost King Henry VIII Tapestry Found in NYC Rug Gallery?” covered the discovery of a tapestry believed to have belonged to King Henry VIII himself. Our very own Behnam Tavakolian gives his expert opinion on this news.

Behnam Rugs Tapestry CBS News
The tapestry believed to have belonged to King Henry VIII.

“I am not surprised to see a lost treasure has been found somewhere far away from its home and origin. Persian rugs, fine tapestries, and valuable textiles are often silently moved because they are easy to transfer. They are then hidden for years. It has happened once again; still, they hold their original value tremendously. The recent discovery of a long lost King Henry VIII tapestry in a Persian rug gallery in New York is no exception.

I have seen this often through the years of being in business. People bring in their family treasures, rugs, and tapestries for evaluation and restoration and are totally surprised when we tell them how old and how valuable some of their pieces are.”

One recent example is The Zucker family tapestry. Check out our blog post on that tapestry to see its transformation and restoration.

The process starts when a family member ask us to evaluate their grandparents’ rugs after inheriting it, and then request for us to properly take care of it. We appraise and restore hundreds of inherited rugs a year, and we always educate the  rug owners on how to properly care for their family heirlooms, ensuring that their rugs also last generations.

Mr. Tavakolian’s personal opinion of this “long- lost tapestry”, after watching a video of it and seeing pictures, is that this tapestry is a replica. It has been copied from the original design, in material, size, color, and workmanship.

The market was flooded with tapestries during the 1980s to the early 2000s.  Persian rug importers, with the help of Persian Rug designers from Iran, went into China to utilize inexpensive labor and produced millions of reproductions of fine tapestries. French tapestry makers also made lots of replicas of original tapestries in the late 1800s to early 1900s in France.

This tapestry has to be over four hundred years old to have belonged to King Henry VIII.  Even if it was only stored, the materials, hand crafted from silk,  cotton, and wool, would have become more oxidized and very fragile due to their organic properties.  Still, this could be the King Henry VIII tapestry if it was kept in a controlled climate storage with the  temperature, airflow, and humidity all regulated. The best way to determine the age of any masterpiece is by performing a complete fiber test.

How did King Henry VIII’s tapestry from the palace of Hampton Court of England end up at the Persian Rug Gallery in New York? You never know, maybe someone dropped it off for repairs and never picked it back up!

Last Updated: 26 August 2017

The Differences Between Silk and Wool Persian Rugs

If you are thinking about buying a hand-woven Persian or Oriental rug, you may be unsure about what kind of rug to purchase. Should you buy one made of silk or made of wool? Here are a few things to keep in mind about each of these materials as you make your decision.

Silk is more valuable than wool, and so hand-made Persian rugs made of silk can be quite a bit more expensive than those made from wool.

Silk rugs have more of a shine to them. Wool, on the other hand, is more subdued, has a more flat appearance. Wool rugs do not stand out as much as silk rugs. But both types of rugs come in many different designs and colors and textures.

The design of silk rugs is usually more intricate than it is on wool rugs. That is because silk, being a finer material, allows more knots per square inch than other types of rugs. So, you get a design that is more defined.

silk persian rugs dallas

A Qum silk Persian rug.

Wool rugs generally have about 100 to 300 knots per square inch. A rug made completely of silk, on the other hand, would generally have about 300 to 600 knots per square inch. Because there are more knots, it usually takes three or four times as long to weave a silk rug, making a more intricate pattern. As a result, the price is usually three to four times a wool rug.

Some silk rugs can have up to 1,000 knots per square inch, but these are rare.

Wool rugs hold up better than silk rugs over time because the material is not as delicate as silk. Plus, wool rugs handle spills and stains better. You can pretty much put them anywhere in the house because they can bear the foot traffic.

Silk rugs, however, are another story. They are more delicate, and so you need to be careful where you put them. They should not be used in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. You can also see the dirt on them much more easily than with wool rugs. They are more often used as wall hangings than on the floor.

Silk is also not quite as strong as wool. Wool is very strong – you can fold it up to 20,000 times before it will break. Silk will last about 8,000 folds. However, silk rugs do retain their shape better than wool. Also, silk does not rot to the degree of cotton, which is used as a foundation for many wool rugs. As a result, many of the world’s oldest rugs are silk.

We have many fine, hand-knotted wool and silk rugs here in our Behnam Rugs’ Dallas showroom soon. Call us at 972-733-0400 to learn more about these textile works of art.

Image by Keyvan, Treasure Gallery Inc (Treasure Gallery Inc) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL],via Wikimedia Commons.

5 Reasons to Purchase a Persian Rug

When you are looking for home décor, a Persian or Oriental rug might not be the first thing that comes to mind. The reason may be that your idea of a rug is some drab machine-made carpet. But a Persian rug could be a wonderful addition to your home because they are more than just a floor covering. They are works of art. Here are some reasons why you might want to buy one.

  1. For their beauty.

Persian rugs are made by hand from wool or silk. They are woven with hand-tied knots that can number as many as 300 per square inch. They have an array of colors and intricate designs. They are considered to be works of art, much like a painting or sculpture, but as a textile.

  1. As an investment.

Many Persian rugs are antiques, meaning that they are more than 70 years old. As they age, they become more rare and valuable because they are one of a kind, and also because they have been made so well. Be aware, however: not all antique rugs are valuable; and not all Persian and Oriental rugs will go up in value.

  1. Owning piece of history.

Handmade Persian rugs are symbols of an artistic tradition lasting more than 2,500 years. They represent a culture and way of life. The Persians were among the first in the ancient world to weave carpets and, through centuries of weaving, have attained a unique degree of excellence, producing rugs of unmatched beauty and creativity.

Dallas antique persian rugs

An antique Oriental Turkish Mahal rug.

Persian rugs are one of the most important symbols of Persian art, life and culture, an art form that has endured through time, wars and empires.

The pattern of a rug and its weave are part of a particular culture and/or city, and weaving techniques can be traced to specific geographic areas or tribes.

  1. They enhance the atmosphere of an entire room.

A Persian or Oriental rug can add a unique color pattern to a room – or even change the its atmosphere – because of the rugs’ complex patterns and array of colors. Used as a wall hanging, in front of a fireplace or even draped over a table a rug will add an unmatched elegance and aura.

  1. They last a long time.

Hand-made Persian and Oriental rugs, skillfully made by master craftsmen with the finest materials, will generally hold their shape, color, and design for 80 or more years if they are cared for properly.

If you’ve decided that a Persian or Oriental rug will add that exact something to a room in your home, visit the Behnam Rugs Dallas showroom soon. Call us at 972-733-0400.

Image courtesy of Grillo Rugs/

Tabriz, an example of the finest rug in the world

Tabriz, an example of the finest rug in the world.

You have a Tabriz rug if the designs are very sharp and clear to see.

These excellent designs makes your rug among the most beautiful and desirable of all Persian rugs.

Another easily identifiable trait of Tabriz rugs is the center medallion, many fine Tabriz rugs have a center medallion. A rug medallion is like the diamond on a ring.  The medallion can come in the diamond design and is normally found in the center you may have a very nice rug with matching designs in the corners like the rug pictured.

This Persian Tabriz rug is on display at Behnam Rugs, it is worth taking a look at with its regal patterns including flowers, branches, and all over intricate design.

An average weaver can tie between 4,000 and 8,000 knots in a day. This means that a 9′ X 12′ rug woven at 350 knots per inch can take over two years for one weaver to make.

Another sign of a fine rug is how close the knots or raj  are and how many knots make up the entire rug.  In Iran, most knot counts are measured in “raj”. One raj is the number of warp threads in 7 centimeters

The term Raj in connection with the name of Tabriz carpets refers to the number of knots in a 70 mm span range. The denomination 40 Raj refers to carpets with 400-500.000 knots/m2, 50 Raj to carpets with approximately 500-600.000 knots/m2, 60 Raj to carpets with 600-800.000 knots/m2 and 70 Raj to carpets with approximately 800-1.000.000 knots/m2. The last mentioned being extremely rare on today’s market.

KPSI Knots per square inch

Low KPSI starts at: 50

Average KPSI starts at: 400

High KPSI starts at: 600 & up

Can you count the KPSI of this rug?

This rug is on display at Behnam Rugs feel free to count the knots and feel the quality construction of all our rugs for sale.

Persian Tabriz Rug
Persian Tabriz Rug

3 Biggest Persian Rug Buying Mistakes

Buying a hand-knotted Persian or Oriental rug is a big investment. You want to make sure you are getting the best possible value and something that will look good in your home. Here are some mistakes to avoid when you are looking to buy a Persian/Oriental rug.

Dallas Oriental rugs

  1. Not measuring.

Many people simply estimate how large a space is by looking at it. Then, they go to the rug store and pick what they think will fit. When they get home and put the rug down, they find that it is too large or too small for the area it is intended to cover.

You should always measure the area where you want to put your rug.

  1. Problems matching colors.

Again, you think you know what colors will match well with your room, but when you put your rug down, you find that the colors don’t match well at all, in fact they clash.

Modern technology can help you out here. Take a picture of the room, then put it in Photoshop and add different color rugs to the photo to actually see what they look like in the room.

You may want to consider consulting an interior designer, someone with experience in matching colors and in home decorating.

  1. Not checking the condition of the rug or materials.

You buy your rug and bring it home, but when you walk across it, it feels very rough and uneven. This is a cautionary tale about checking the material that the rug is made from.

There are different ways the rugs are made. In some, the material is more tightly packed than in others. For example, Persian rugs can range from only 30 knots per inch to several hundred knots per inch. The 30-knot rugs are typically much coarser, while the higher-knot rugs are feel much less coarse, almost soft.

In addition to knowing how the rug is made, what type of threads were use and the knot count, you also should check the condition of the rug. If you are looking to buy an antique Persian/Oriental rug, you want to check to see if the rug has deteriorated. In the trade, it is called cracking. To check, first put the rug face down and look on the back for any light colored patches. These patches could be the first sign of mildew, and so you need to pay special attention to them.

Then grab the rug in both hands and twist it gently but firmly. If you hear any popping or splitting sounds, stop immediately. That is the sound of foundation threads in the rug snapping as the rug breaks up. If you hear this, some dealers recommend that you stay away from buying the rug.

Finally, if you are looking for a silk rug, stay away from a rug that appears brittle. Silk is never brittle, no matter how old it is. Silk is always soft and smooth.

One way to never make a mistake when buying a hand-knotted Persian or Oriental rug? Visit a trusted rug dealer, such as Behnam Rugs. Contact us at 972-733-0400 to make an appointment.

Image courtesy of stockimages/