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Silk on Silk Antique Persian Tabriz "Fantasy" Carpet Wak Wak Rug

Fantasy Persian Silk Tabriz Carpet Circa 1880

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 1981 Oriental Rugs and Carpets.  A Persian Tabriz Fantasy Carpet

*Lot 456, Sotheby's oriental rug and Carpets April 10&11, 1981Estimate $30,000 / 35000.  Approximately 8 feet 9 inches by 5 feet 11 inches.  Unsold, Passed or Withdrawn. 


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September 1. 2008 23:37


This is a wonderful place to keep abreast with whats happening in the world of rugs! The rug above is most interesting and if i might say amusing! Thankyou for visiting my blog and introducing me to this!


September 16. 2008 17:45

David Dilmaghani

Thank you for your visit too! We appreciate your comments :)

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David Dilmaghani

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