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Salon du Tapis d'Orient

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.

Internet Resources for Rug Collectors

by Daniel Deschuyteneer

This Salon doesn’t need a large introduction, and my purpose is to know what has been your experience when purchasing rugs on the web and what recommendations, based on your own experience, you would make to sellers and buyers.

Please remember that our policy is that ad hominem remarks, comments bearing on the value of any item currently on the market or on the reputation of any seller are not permitted. We will delete any message that does not respect this. Also, some websites are fantastic resources and should be noted. I hope that contributions to this Salon will not simply be a long list of compliments to such sites, but that they will be constructively critical.

Dealers and on line auction house web sites of several types, offering rugs for sale among other items are actually flourishing. Flying carpets are no longer needed to permit travel to virtually anywhere in the world, and we can search for the piece haunting our dreams while sitting quietly before our monitors. The web gives us instant access to a large choice of pieces that would be unknown to us otherwise. Collectors are also using the web more and more as a medium to exchange information about their pieces or to sell those that no longer fit in their collections.

Visiting some sites is a real delight. These sites, many managed by leading experts, are not only commercial but are also educational, offering didactic materials to the general public and promoting in-depth knowledge in a variety of areas. Editors of such sites should be congratulated for their efforts.

On the best sites, digital images are well managed with a balance between picture quality and image sizes (in my experience a resolution of 96 pixels per inch gives the best results) with full descriptions, and sometimes with direct scans giving the most accurate images. Having access to images of quality without compromising file size is of great importance to avoid irritatingly long download time. This is one reason why I like sites offering search engines, presenting the result of your research in a scrolling page with thumbnails and brief description. Nevertheless, when using search engines the most distracting and time consuming claim I have is the false use of "antique" or inaccurate labels used by some sellers to attract readers attention.

I must say that I have been pleased with about 70% of my on line purchasing, the biggest problem being always that we are unable to handle the pieces we are interested in. Knowing the seller profile was of great help and things went wrong mostly when the seller was not well known, when the seller misrepresented the rug using manipulated images (colors, hues, luminosity, contrast…), or when condition was stated inaccurately.

Certainly some kind of policy should exist; maybe we can offer constructive propositions.

One proposition I would offer is to avoid the distracting habit of not telling the asking price. The usual ‘price on request’ practice is very frustrating and doesn’t help. What do you think about this?

Now it’s your turn.