There's a genre of Persian rugs and carpets sometimes referred to as "fantasy," "Wak Wak," or sometimes pronounced "Vak Vak" rugs and carpets. They're often silk on silk, and either from tabriz or Heriz
Iran. They history of such rugs stems back many, many centuries. Production of such weavings seemed to cease sometime around 1900. Quality was very exceptional: many of these rugs were bought up in the 70's and 80's at auction houses around the world, hardly to be seen by the public eye since. While some may say the motifs are crude and reek of naivete, others may see a rich pictorial of mythical characters: using incredibly simplified line to express deep essence of such a being.
This guy is just too cool... and one of
many really interesting characters featured in this particular piece. "Fantasy" motifs
often have odd mythical animals: Hybrids of man, baboon, devil and
others. In more ornate weavings, it's not uncommon to see multiple tree vines morph into an animals head,
which creates a domino effect throughout the weaving. Each head feeding off another animal further down the vine, which then is biting into yet
another... ultimately climaxing to nothing more than a portent of inevitable demise not yet captured in the weaving.
Notice the wide grin on this guy's face. Some may say he would have been the ignoramus
of his day: Theory only reinforced by the telling gesture of confusion
as he scratches his head. Others may acknowledge the awe of his ability to balance on little more than thin branches... Maybe to you he looks a little like the parking attendant in Ferris Bueller's Day off who takes the classic Ferrari out for a spin? Either way, the black head at the end of his vine is eyeballing its next meal... What do you think?
*Lot 456, Sotheby's oriental rug and Carpets April 10&11, 1981. Estimate $30,000 / 35000. Approximately 8 feet 9 inches by 5 feet 11 inches. Unsold, Passed or Withdrawn.