A novice's thoughts

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Posted by Jackie on May 17, 1999 at 23:09:36:

I am a novice, having become interested in carpets only 8 months ago. I am also apparently hopeless when it comes to determining provenance. I live in the Middle East and have purchased 7 rugs; all used; all "Irani" with no other information as to origin. I've since purchased 20 books (general and tribal) on carpets to help me figure out what I have bought, and have made very little progress. The following are some of my thoughts to date on these carpet books:

1) Too much duplication of material. I can understand repeating the history of carpets in general books, but why do I keep seeing the same carpets referenced?

2) The pictures of carpets are all the front side. Would like to see the backs of these rugs with sufficient structural information as I keep reading that one cannot determine provenance by design alone.

3) Would like to find a "Dick and Jane buy a Persian carpet" type of book where comparisions are shown (with pictures and arrows)and explained. (I.e. slightly depressed vs. heavily depressed; weft differences etc.)

4) Would like to learn how to determine the quality of rugs within their respective categories. (i.e. an average Kashan would have...an above average Kashan might have...) I realize there are always exceptions, but I would like a starting point.

5) Would like to learn what rugs are being made today and the quality of these rugs. Most carpet books concentrate on older carpets that are either very scarce or very expensive. I view carpet making as an art form and therefor am interested in how it is evolving.

One last general comment. Books here in the Middle East are limited and very expensive (usually 3-4 times the USA price).

The books I have found most helpful are:

--Eiland's Oriental Carpet; a complete guide
--Ford's Oriental Carpet Design
--The Bullfinch Guide to Carpets
--Black's The Atlas of Rugs and Carpets

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