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Rug Dealers Re-weaving the History of Oriental and Persian Rugs: Bastardizing the Carpet Industry

One of the most important things to consider when browsing for oriental rugs online is to assess the history behind such weavings.  Often times, rugs are named after the city in which they were woven.  An example of this would be Sarouk rugs and carpets: They are called "Sarouk" because of the area in Iran from where they were created.  Proper attribution is important, as there are other implications within these names.  However, one of the greatest difficulties in attributing Oriental Rugs to a certain area or province is the need for a professional's keen eye to determine a sound conclusion.  

First time buyers often will do some surface research, finding after time Persian Rug names such as Heriz, Tabriz, Isfahan, Sarouk, Nain and many others to eventually be familiar designs.  However, when an online seller capitalizes on common misconceptions of new buyers, not only is the item possibly being misreprsented, but the history and art of rug making is being re-woven.  Rug Dealers may make a slip in attribution here or there, however, as seen below, we explore this confusing auction.

Below is an image captured from an online vendor on a popular auction site.  There are several problems with this picture of which we will address.   

Improperly Advertised Carpet

Ardekan Golden Wash

First, this carpet is being advertised as an "antique."  However, an antique, as commonly accepted by the Orra (Oriental Rug Retailers of America) as being a hand knotted rug of 100+ years of age.  Not only is this the standard for reputable sellers, CRAs (Certified Rug Appraisers), collectors, and museums alike, but also a nod to what once was a strongly enforced International Customs law for import and export of Persian and Oriental Rugs.  This carpet as shown below is by no means an antique, nor would it even be 2/3rds the way to a "semi-antique" which would be a rug of 50-99 years of age.

Secondly, this seller has used 3 key terms which are completely incorrect in proper attribution to the rug as photographed. The rug is neither a Sultanabad, Sarouk, nor a Mahal.  We believe this carpet is a highly commercialized type of carpet called an "Ardekan kashan" which is a "lower grade" Kashan Design Rug.  While it's not common for rugs to be taken outside of one weaving city, then produced in another one not too far out, this seller has listed areas of Iran which do not seem to correspond with what this rug is.  Not only may improper identification have taken place, but history is ignored, key search terms have been possibly abused, and therefore misinformation is passed to buyers to lead them to make a very, very poor purchasing decision.

Third offense is the unbelievably high shipping costs for this rug.  This is the seller's attempt to evade Final Value Fees as assessed once an item has sold on this particular auction site.  Actual cost of the rug has been incorporated into shipping fee so the seller will not have to pay what may equate to $10 or so.  In addition, another reason for why this is done is to finalize sale:  That is to say, you may return the rug to the seller for a refund, however original shipping charges will not be returned to you as the consumer.  As the buyer, you will have no option but to accept this rug in whatever condition it may arrive in.  Often the case is these rugs have defects, serious wear, poor post production augmentation and final sale as is the case with this example...  Read on below:

Golden Wash

Final offense is the truth behind this rug has been guarded by the seller at all costs.  This rug appears to have undergone a a heavy (and sometimes harsh) washing process known in the industry as a "Golden Wash" or a similar "color stripping" chemical treatment.  This process gives the rug an older, aged patina.  The wash chemically reacts with true reds, and reduces them to a peach brown color.  This is not an uncommon treatment, however, some rug experts do not agree with such treatment.  Generally speaking, chemical reactions which leave areas of the rug blotchy from post production washing (such as the heavy yellowing) may severely affect value.  In some cases this uneven appearance may have to do with the direction of pile and lighting.  Additionally, you will note at the top 3/5ths of the rug there is a thick horizontal orange stripe, whereas the rest of the rug seems to be a consistent peach/brown tone.  This area of burnt orange is most likely due to a change in dye lots during the weaving process.  After this rug was then treated, this area reacted differently to the washing process, and therefore stands out more.

Why are we mentioning all this?

This is a buyer beware market, in which disreputable sellers may thrive.  Exaggeration on age, exploiting common misconceptions, improperly identify rugs, falsifying information, and use of trickery is encouraged in the sale of what would otherwise would be considered a "curbside pick-up" rug.  There are many honest sellers out there who work hard to bring the highest quality rugs to the American Markets, yet bottom feeders in the business give everyone a bad reputation.  As the consumer, it is your right to have an item presented to you in an honest and forthcoming manner.  If you have questions or are considering the purchase of a rug, feel free to ask us for a Free Verification for Any Rug you see online!

Become an educated consumer, ask us any questions you have for unbiased assessment.  To research on your own, try SpongoBongo for Oriental Rugs and Persian Carpets or contact us!


eBay Rugs and Carpet Buyer's Guide






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