Originally presented as a gift to President Calvin Coolidge in 1926, the Ghazir rug, bearing the nickname the "Armenian orphan rug" suggesting its history, but hopefully not its future.
Measuring approximately 12'x18', reportedly woven by 400 Armenian orphans and comprised of over four million knots during an 18 month period from 1924-1925. The rug had been sent to the White house soon after its completion in recognition of American help to Armenian orphans saved during 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide. The rug features animal motifs with beautiful jewel tone colors, and an inscription of the Golden Rule Gratitude in one corner.
Having been in White House storage for here is much speculation as to what political ramifications would follow if the rug were to be formally displayed.
The rug had previously been displayed in the Blue Room under Coolidge's administration, until it was brought to his North Hampton living room from 1933 - 1957, then passed to Coolidges son until 1974. The Ghazir rug was then then brought to storage in the Coolidge Homestead in Plymout, VT, then sent back to the White House collection in 1983. Since 1983, the rug has been in the posession and curation of the white house for the past 27 years. According to Armenian Weekly, the rug had been seen in the Blue Room in a photograph published during the Clinton Administration in 1995 (seen below), although there is much speculation as to whether the rug would ever again be exhibited.
"The Armenian Orphan Rug is viewed inside the White House in September
1984 by activists looking to preserve its identity. (L-R) U. S. Senator
Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Dr. H. Martin Deranian, Worcester historian, and
Set Momjian, a former ambassador to the United Nations."
Many believe the permanent display of the Ghazir masterpiece rug could potentially imply formal American acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
Center medallion of the Ghazir Rug.
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