It’s true that when you buy a hand-knotted modern rug, you’re making an investment. Many of us understand that the price reflects the time and attention to detail that goes into making the rug, as well as the overall quality. But what about its long-term value? Will your investment stand the test of time?
In my last post, I shared an email exchange with an American solider stationed in Afghanistan. Through our online conversation and viewing some photos, I was able to help him select and purchase a Khoja Roshnai rug. Recently I had the honor of helping another soldier identify a rug he’d just bought. We swapped emails and then I was able to meet him and see the rug in person. He was happy to confirm what he’d suspected—he’d chosen a rare and valuable Khoja Roshnai.
Afghanistan has developed a strong reputation and public image as a source of high-quality handmade carpets in a diverse and varied range of styles. But, for many people one carpet comes to mind on which that reputation and background of Afghan carpets was established centuries ago.
In 2010 a rug with historical significance sold for very close to the $10MM at auction. It was an exquisite blue 17th century Kerman and its sale more than doubled the previous world record for rug prices. Then, in June of this year, another spectacular Kerman rug reached an amazing auction price of $33.8MM!
The famous Pazyryk carpet has been a subject of nearly every rug blog ever written. I’ve always thought of blogging about the oldest rug ever discovered and now I have a very good reason! Fine Rugs of Charleston has been commissioned to make a mansion sized version of this incredible rug for the new student center at a girl’s equestrian-oriented boarding school. The rug will be 15’x18’ when finished and won’t be complete until April, 2014. It is being made for us by our good friends at Arzu Studio Hope; an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that empowers Afghan women by providing fair-labor, artisan-based employment and access to education and healthcare. I am very proud of this project.
On each trip to Afghanistan, at every base, consulate or embassy we visited, Alex and I would meet with soldiers, diplomats and their staff to teach them about the host country’s rugs. We had a lot of fun doing this and I think we really helped the men and women we met feel more confident about the carpets they were seeing in the bazaars. Our names became somewhat known and the people we met passed our names around. Not that we were ‘rockstars’, but when we got to a new post, we could pack a room full of inquiring minds. After all, there’s not much, other than rugs, to bring home from Afghanistan that would remind your few good times ‘in country’.
Afghanistan has developed a strong reputation as a source of high-quality handmade carpets in a diverse and varied range of styles. During my last trip to Afghanistan, I immersed myself in the weaving traditions. Nothing beats going there and sitting with the people to whom the traditions have been entrusted.