Antique Tapestry or Replica?

What else could be found in a Persian Rug Gallery?..You may be asking yourself after watching C.B.S news recently. They covered the discovery of King Henry VIII tapestry you can read the original article here LINK or watch the video.  Mr. Behnam Tavakolian from Behnam Persian Rug Gallery  gives his expert opinion to this news.

Behnam Rugs Tapestry CBS News
Behnam Rugs Tapestry CBS News

“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 textiles in the category of valuable silently being moved because they are easy to transfer and then being hidden for years has happened once again and 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 often through the years of been in business, people bring in their family treasures, rugs and tapestries for evaluation and restoration and be totally surprised when we tell them how old and how valuable some of their pieces are.”  One recent example is The Zucker family tapestry you can watch the video on our YOUTUBE and also read our blog on how it was restored. LINK   

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 heritage to make sure their rugs also last generations.

My 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 1980’s to 2000.  Persian rug importers with the help of Persian Rug designers from Iran going into China to utilize inexpensive labor produced millions of reproductions of fine tapestries. French tapestry makers also made lots of replicas of original tapestries in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s in France.

This tapestry has to be over 400 years old to be King Henry the 8th’s.  If it was just stored the raw materials hand crafted from silk,  cotton, wool or combination into yarn to make it would have become more oxidized and very fragile even after 100 years due to their organic properties.  Still this could be 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 they gave it for restoration and cleaning and never picked it back up.

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Happy Yalda Persian Celebration

In the Persian tradition tonight is a special night called Yalda night.

Let’s Celebrate Yalda Night Tuesday December 2oth, 2016 together!

Yalda Night
Yalda Night

You might have grown up calling it the winter solstice this will fall on December 20th  at 4:44 AM CST this year. The December solstice is also known as the “summer solstice” in the southern hemisphere. It is the winter solstice only in the northern hemisphere.  It will be the shortest day of the year and longest night of the year and celebrated by the Persian community because from here on the days start to become longer.

As days start lengthening, ancient Iranians believe that at the end of the first night of winter which coincides with December 20 this year, darkness is defeated by light and therefore they must celebrate the whole night. As the 13th-century Iranian poet Sa’di writes in his book Boustan: “The true morning will not come until the Yalda Night is gone.”

Family and friends get together normally in the house of the eldest member and stay awake all night long having a good time. They also eat different kinds of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and fresh winter fruits and read aloud classic poetry, old mythologies and sing and dance all night long!

Having dried and fresh fruits at this time reflects ancient feasts that would be held to ensure protection of winter crops. Eating watermelons is one of the most important traditions to begin this winter time to help insure not to fall ill during the cold season. Pomegranates, on top of a fruit basket are a reminder of the cycle of life, the purple outer skin color symbolizes the birth or dawn and the red seeds the glow of life.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Behnam Rugs & Persian Rug Cleaning.

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

A Short History of Tabriz Persian Rugs

The city of Tabriz in Iran sits in the northwest part of the country, near the border with Turkey. It is a major center of commerce because of its location.

Tabriz is also well known for the fine Persian rugs that are made in the area. The city is known around the world for its Persian rugs and has played a major role in the development of the decorative arts in Iran.

tabriz persian rugs dallas

An antique silk Tabriz Persian rug.

Tabriz has a rich history of rug making. It is one of the oldest rug making centers in the country and has one of the greatest variety of rugs. The rug designs range from medallion, Herati, figural, and pictorial.

A variety of carpets come from Tabriz, ranging from pile carpets to a flat weave. The craft of carpet making was passed on through generations, and this skill was considered the most valuable thing a family could have. Traditionally, Tabriz rugs focused on ornamental patterns with cream, red or navy blue background colors.

The designs for the Tabriz rugs are often taken from the writings of the great Oriental poets. They often show scenes of falconry or images of a menacing lion. Tabriz rugs are also noted for images of palaces, mosques and battle scenes. Other scenes have been inspired by the covers of ancient books.

The rug making tradition in the city was at a high point in the period from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

Later, during the 19th century, the city of Tabriz was home to some of the most celebrated rug weaving artisans, who carried on the tradition begun there hundreds of years earlier. Artisans in the city led the way in a renaissance of rug making, rugs that were made for the people of Iran as well as for export.

Their craftsmanship was unparalleled, and the materials they used were of the highest quality. Tabriz weavers made rugs with tightly-packed knots and complex floral designs. Some of the rugs produced there in the 20th century are among the finest ever made.

Tabriz rugs are unique because they have a double weft, most often made from cotton or wool, along with cotton warps. They also use both Persian and Turkish knots and a tightly woven double foundation.

If you’d like to look at some Tabriz hand-knotted rugs yourself, visit the Behnam Rugs showroom in Dallas. Give us a call at 972-733-0400 to make an appointment.

By Nazmiyal Collection ( [CC BY-SA 3.0]via Wikimedia Commons

A Brief History of Tribal Persian Rug Designs

Carpet weaving has always been an important part of Persian culture and art for centuries and among all the regions in Asia that produce hand woven rugs, Persian rugs are known for the variety and complexity of their designs.

In the past, Persian rugs were initially woven by nomadic tribes, in villages and towns, and even in the royal court. So, depending on where they were made, rugs represented different traditions, as well as the history of Iran and the different peoples who live there.

For example, the carpets woven in the Safavid court of Isfahan, a centrally located province in Iran, during the 1500s are particularly noted for their sophisticated variety of colors and artistic design. These rugs are important artifacts in museum and private collections all over the world. The design of these rugs is part of a tradition extending for the entire life of the Persian Empire, and extending up to today.

Dallas Persian rug cleaner

Detail of a Safavid court rug. Created in the 16th century.

Carpets woven in places such asTabriz, Kerman, Mashhad, Kashan, Isfahan, Nain, and Qom are noted for their unique weaving techniques, colors and patterns, as well as for the high quality of the materials they use. Rug makers in places such as Tabriz have been responsible for keeping the tradition of rug weaving alive during periods of historical decline.

Rugs that have been woven by different Iranian tribes all use high quality wool, radiant and intricate colors, and showcase their unique traditional patterns.

Weavers from small villages make rugs with simpler, livelier designs, which contrast with the more complex and planned out designs of the larger manufacturers.

The artistic quality of Persian rugs has suffered during certain periods in history, especially during periods of social unrest or change. One example of this was when synthetic dyes were introduced during the 1850s.

Today, carpet weaving is still an integral part of the Iranian economy. Today’s craftsmen have revived the traditional styles of using natural dyes and traditional tribal patterns, combining these with newer and innovative designs. However, the rugs are still woven by hand using techniques that were perfected hundreds of years ago.

Tribal carpets are produced by different ethnic groups with their own unique histories and traditions. They each have their own distinct knots, warps and wefts, selvages, ends and colors.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Persian and Oriental rug designs, visit our Behnam Rugs showroom in Dallas. We’d love to show you some of their gorgeous designs and explain the history and meaning behind them.

Call us 972-733-0400 to make an appointment.

Image by Safavid court manufacture, Persia, 16th century (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons