The Salon du Tapis d'Orient is a moderated discussion
group in the manner of the 19th century salon devoted to oriental
rugs and textiles and all aspects of their appreciation. Please
include your full name and e-mail address in your posting.
Rug Conferences: Fertile or Futile? presented by
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, there were no oriental
rug conferences. People who wanted to learn more about rugs generally
had to do so in academic or museum environments, in one of the
very few oriental rug societies, on ones own from books,
or - even more rarely - in the field.
Such is no longer the case.
While the aforementioned alternatives still exist, in the
last twenty years they have been supplemented by the conference.
The great virtue of the rug conference is the widening of the
audience for rug appreciation. Hundreds of people can see the
latest scholarly findings straight from the scholars overhead
projector. For the price of admission, a couple days in a hotel,
and transportation anyone with any degree of interest in oriental
rugs can brush shoulders with the most knowledgeable experts,
listen to their presentations, and even ask questions. Lesser
(or equally important, depending on your priorities) virtues
of rug conferences include the opportunity for socializing among
the participants, the opportunity for buying and/or selling rugs,
the opportunity to build or destroy reputations, to see exhibitions,
The concept of the rug conference has become such a success
that scarcely a season passes without its own. Some, like the
International Conference on Oriental Carpets and the American
Conference on Oriental Rugs are held biennially. Others are held
annually, like the Textile Museum Convention. Still others are
held on a one-off basis.
...which brings me to the purpose of this Salon.
I want your opinions on what makes the best rug
conference. Many of you have been to rug conferences and undoubtedly
have opinions. More than a few of you have even been on organizing
committees of rug conferences and have already wrestled with
some of the questions that will arise here. (Even if you have
never been to a rug conference but have been to conferences of
other kinds, you may have worthy insights to contribute - possibly
things overlooked by those of us with just a ruggie
perspective. Please feel free to add to the discussion.)
Some questions we will probably want to address include:
1) What purposes do rug conferences serve?
2) With those purposes in mind, is there a single optimum plan
rug conference or should there be several types?
3) How frequently should they be held?
4) What improvements would you suggest in the existing formats?
5) Should duelling be revived to resolve differences arising
ruggies at conferences and elsewhere? Should tickets be sold
proceeds split (40-60) between the conference organizers and