We were just going through some of the photographs we've taken over the years. It's pretty unbelievable how few images actually make it through to a blog post.
The carpet below is approximately a 3' x 5' American Sarouk from the late first quarter 20th century. The carpet was seen at an NYU course taken with Mr. George Anavian of New York Antiques (for which we highly recommend for anyone in the NYC area interested in oriental rugs).
Painting american sarouk rugs was a fairly common practice to meet market demand back in the day (See more information about Painted Rugs). There are typically two reasons why a Sarouk is stripped of
it's paint: 1. To be more conducive to current market demand of
softer, more subtle colors. 2: To eliminate inconsistencies and
'halo' effect which often appear in painted rugs after heavy use, wear
or otherwise sloppy original painting.
Although a rigorous and somewhat unpredictable process, within the past 15 or so years some dealers have begun 'stripping' the post production paint some of these rugs had once been subjected to. When a rug is stripped of its paint, there's no real accurate projection of how consistent the end result will appear. Somewhat of a risky process as well, for many rugs may have adverse reactions to chemicals used, creating inconsistent results, and in extreme cases, damaging the wool.
Unfortunately, we do not have a before and after. However, the natural color of a typical American Sarouk would traditionally have been in the light to dark red with tones of peach and or pink. As loosely shown below, painting an American Sarouk would typically cover peach/pink red to a deep wine or burgundy (Depends on luster of wool, light or dark side).
A Stripped painted sarouk:
As seen above and below, post stripping of the paint, the rug takes on a different patina, closer to a dusty peach/tan (not quite the original colors). Exact reactions will vary from rug to rug based upon dyes used to originally color the wool, paint post-production, and chemicals and procedure used to strip.
Although a matter of personal preference, our personal preference is to see an unpainted or non-stripped sarouk with exception to those demonstrating heavy halo effect.