World’s Most Expensive Rug

We have a new record! Yesterday, this admittedly gorgeous 17th century Kerman sold for just  south of $34 MILLION dollars! Wowzers! That shatters the previous record by more than three times.

The carpet was sold to an anonymous phone bidder so your guess is as good as mine as to where it is going? It is interesting when you think that art by relatively recent artists sells with some frequency at prices in the tens and even hundreds of millions. It is strangely reassuring to this rug dealer to see this rug reach this astounding price.

Rugs and textiles are generally undervalued as works of art. It is my belief that the mainly anonymous nature of the artists who create these works hinders their valuation by a the larger public. We have all heard of Rembrandt, or Vermeer or Warhol. So it is more easy for us to quantify works by these renowned artists. But the unknown weavers of this spectacular rug will never be know by name.

In any event, it was a great day for Sotheby’s and a great day for carpets! Many of us in this profession believe that the art of hand woven carpets will be much changed in the next decades. With greater industrialization and urbanization, there are simply fewer and fewer weavers. The hand knotted carpet will become more and more rare and we will look back on this period of relatively abundant rug production as the “good old days”. I hope that the sale of this rugs will give people pause and cause them to inspect that art they have underfoot.

Thanks, Chris

PS: There is a video of YouTube of the final bidding on this rug. Not necessarily the most riveting action… but it is historic!

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