by Ryan Reitmeyer on November 19, 2010
|Every antique rug is unique. Two antique rugs that were made at the same time by the same weaver using the same design and colors will age differently, resulting in subtle nuances of color, texture, and condition between the two. Even the best reproduction carpet will never look identical to the antique original. Often, when a customer falls in love with an antique rug that is too large for their home but is perfect in every other way, the only option is to cut the rug to fit the space. Cutting an antique carpet will permanently change the object; however it is not a new concept, and has going on for longer and done to more rugs than most customers realize. |
This Safavid classical carpet from the 16th century is an absolutely amazing work. The rarity of similar carpets on the market makes ascertaining the value of this rug almost impossible. It is a truly peerless carpet and it has been cut. Looking at the detail in the area highlighted reveals a section where the cloud band border design breaks as a result of the carpet being cut and sewn back together. Yet, the fact that this carpet has been cut does not prevent the Metropolitan Museum of Art from keeping it on permanent display. Nor has it prevented the rug from being published numerous times over and lauded as one of one of the greatest surviving examples of Safavid court weaving.
This Ziegler Sultanabad (c.1890) is part of the inventory at the shop and it has been cut down in size as well. The middle of the guard border at the bottom of the rug has a minor pattern defect where the repeat does not line up, revealing where the rug was cut and sewn back together. Even though this rug has been cut, it remains a highly desirable antique carpet to be sure. It has beautiful soft colors, complete pile, a wonderful design and sublime patina to the wool. The scarcity of similar Sultanabad carpets on the market makes this rug command a premium price.Customers who are considering cutting an antique carpet should seek the advice of a knowledgeable dealer that they trust to help them weigh the options. Will cutting an antique carpet destroy all value in the object? Surely not, but it will decrease the value of the rug. Next the customer should consider if that loss of value is greater than the value of time spent looking for another rug, or the loss of value in settling for a different rug that is not as satisfying in the space. Finally, it is important to remember that every antique carpet, weather found in a museum or a flea market, has probably undergone some degree of restoration, and very few rugs on the market are actually in “original” condition.