I saw this rug on Craigslist Portland Oregon.
It is a 30" X 65" rug. It is
supposed to be a pure silk Qum rug, made in Iran about 35 years old, in
excellent condition. I would like to know if you can tell me if that is
correct. Also, he is asking $500 for it. I am a bit suspicious about
it because that seems low for a qum silk rug.
This is a tough one from just two photographs. Our guess is this is either a silk Qum, or a kashmir silk. Either
one, 1970's vintage is probably pretty accurate.
As a bit of
background info, generally, right before the embargo, prices for rugs
from Iran was going up. It wasn't unheard of for dealers to be paying a
high premium on fine rugs from Qum and other weaving cities in Iran,
especially for good rugs as quality control was somewhat difficult
before the embargo. Other weaving countries
such as India began increasing production of finer grade rugs as prices
were getting high for true Qum rugs. Importers feared they would need
to have a backup should their supplies be cut short, so some production
migrated Kashmir. This made sense for both economic reasons and long term
Although India had been producing rugs for some time before the
70's, it took a while for Kashmir to catch onto the Qum type silk rugs.
While they made some very nice examples, many were woven with silk pile
on cotton foundation, simplified designs, thick pile not cut short
enough for optimized design, etc. The best of the best from Kashmir
during this time took a great deal of trial and error. While Kashmir
rugs were less expensive than Qum, they were by no means inexpensive.
Many dealers still have stock of both Qum and Kashmir silk from this
vintage, but interestingly enough, several I know still want more money
for the old stock than what it would cost to replace at a retail price
for a comparable new rug from either country. As a loose example, and I
hate comparing by knot count because it is very misleading, but the
average fine example of a 1970's Qum in new condition with around 400
kpsi could go for $500 +/- per square foot retail today. A new Qum rug made
in the last few years with 600 KPSI could go for just $300 +/- retail. Big
difference in price, finer rug being less expensive.
Same goes for Kashmir in regards to old vintage stock to new
prices. Perhaps dealers paid too much back in the 70's to hold and sell
in today's market. Just an interesting point. The vintage is what
does it for these rugs, although true Qum silk prices generally have
gone up quite a bit in just the last 5 years for several other reasons.
The reason I mention all the above is some Indian weavers came very
close to replicating Qum rugs even back then. Good ones were available in
both silk on cotton and silk pile with silk foundation. However,
despite the best efforts, some signs of an Indian rug showed through and
were easily seen in a side-by-side comparison.
Here's a short breakdown of what we see in this rug which may
differentiate between the two countries from the 70's :
kilim on one side - could be both Iran or India. However, India Kashmir
tended to make the kilim longer in more rugs than Iran production did.
*Slightly wide stripe border on the perimeter of the rug (dk. blue) -
more typical of India, although Iran qum if using a thicker border would
accentuate it a bit more with an even wider band.
- Jewel tones - The
blue and gold seen seems a bit more Indian than Iran
Last, and perhaps most convincing, simplification of design: See image below with Black Circle and Black zig-zags outlined. In a
Iran Qum, this would usually be a bit more elaborate than a zig-zag
diagonal in the outer minor border. In a true qum, this would generally
be a Laleh abbasi design, or something with a bit more substance and
detail. India was known to simplify these details for whatever reason.
We would lean toward Kashmir just a little more than Iran
based on what we see from the images. If you could grab us a photograph
from our necessary images, we could help out a lot more and say with
more certainty. There is a possibility it is true Qum.
Assuming the knot count is around 400 kpsi, from India, silk on
silk, 1970s, excellent condition....
Private party condition
with very little use, we would say $250 - 400
would be okay territory to purchase if there were no problems in
coloration or conditional issues. Another point though - I would not be
surprised if a dealer asked $1500 or $1800
for this rug at retail in brand new condition, unused since the 1970's.
They paid a lot of money for these back in the day, but some who have
them will mark them down much more. The problem is many finer rugs from
India can be had at a much
cheaper price if newer production. It's more difficult to sell a
Kashmir: In a sense, they don't have the same clout or allure as Qum to the public. A perceived value of a rug from Iran being worth
more, which is not always true.
If you purchase it at a really good negotiated price, sit on it
online with a higher but fair asking price, you never know what may come
out of it. Would love to see more photos if available from the
Really happy to hear you caught the rug bug, just want to provide
the best info we can. Unfortunately, all this could be obliterated or
substantiated with better pictures, but wish you the best on it.
& Rug Rag
Hope this helps, and all the best!
- Rug Rag
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