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Now and Then! Sotheby's Kashan Silk Prayer Rug: Now Lot 130 in 2008, Then Lot 160 in 1984

Silk Kashan Prayer Rug, 2008 vs. 1984

NOW: 2008 

Sotheby's "Carpets," June 11, 2008 Catalog

Sotheby's June 11, 2008. New York, Lot 130:


early 20th century: original flatwoven end finishes, color runs 

APPROXIMATELY 6 FT. 8 IN. BY 4 FT. 3 IN. (2.03 BY 1.29M)"

Estimate: $5,000 - 7,000 

SOLD: $3,125 (including 25% buyer premium)

Silk Kashan Prayer Rug Lot 130 June 11, 2008.  Sotheby's New York

*Sotheby's Lot 130 June 11th, 2008 New York City. Sold for $3,125 including 25% buyer premium


THEN: 1984 

Sotheby's Saturday May 19, 1984 Fine Rugs and Carpets Sale

Sotheby's May 19, 1984. New York, Lot 160:


circa 1900.  Approximately 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m.) x 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m.)"

Estimate: $30,000 / 40,000 

SOLD: $33,00 (including 10% buyer premium)

Silk Kashan Prayer Rug Lot 160, 1984.  Sotheby's New York

*Sotheby's Lot 160 May 19th, 1984 New York City. Sold for $33,000 including 10% buyer premium

It's pretty hard to believe, but these two lots are almost identical rugs, if not the same exact rug.  The color variation between the two could be from a flood, bad wash, sun fade, combination of any previously mentioned elements, or may not be the same rug.  However, we have had several experts review these rugs, and say knot for knot, stated these two lots may very well be the same rug! 

We actually had the benefit of seeing lot 130 on June 10th, 2008 in person.  The rug was in good condition, with exception to heavy color run.  The photographs as seen above (June 11,2008) are accurate.  For an even better side by side comparison, take a look at the images below.  When you look carefully at the photographs below, you can see the difference between what was then and what is now.  Between 1984, and 2008, two similar rugs, if not the same exact rug, fetched $30,000 less!

Silk Kashan Prayer Rug in 2008 vs. 1984

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August 27. 2008 22:49


I absolutely think this is the same rug. This carpet had some sort of devastating accident. water for sure, especially with the color run present. The only thing that's going against this is the inside purple color and the border color are the same on the faded rug, but they're different shades on the rich colored rug.

The rug is the same size, and same design. This type of kashan is common to have this type of thing happen to the colors even from oxidation

Other than design, take a look at the right hand side of each rug, both bow inward on the right hand side.

Take a look at the very, very top right corner of the fringe's kilim. both show similar "scrunching"

Also, the middle of the rug features a similar darker area running through both carpets.

Same Rug

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August 28. 2008 03:02

Khosrow Sobhe

To me both rugs look identical and the same. The change in the colors might have been because of an attempt to make it look older by chemically washing and treating it, or by exposing the rug to the direct sun light. It would been easier to judge if one could see the rug in person to examine it. For example if a rug is exposed to direct sunlight to look older, the surface of the pile looks faded but if you look through the pile in depth, you see the darker color part of the inner pile. This to some extent maybe the case if the rug is chemically treated. In anyway, and from the pictures, the rugs are the same. Khosrow Sobhe, Los Angeles.

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Khosrow Sobhe

August 31. 2008 14:02


Thanks Dr. Sobhe,

It had been mentioned on the Rug Rag forum some notable points were the right side shape of each rug is similar, as are the lower right hand corners, and lower left hand corners. Unfortunately, Sotheby's did not post and Provenance on the 2008 rug.

We very much enjoy your blog Dr. Sobhe, thanks for the comment!

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