“In order for some one to know a carpet, he has to have stood in the middle of it,” the brilliant English art critic–and rug collector–David Sylvester noted (HALI, issue 42, page 82).
This antique Sarouk carpet, for instance, like most really good late 19th century Persian workshop carpets, commands one’s attention. But great Persian carpets do more than merely capture your attention, they repay and magnify that attention: the more you look, the more you see.
Against a neutral ivory field, a large-scale design of forked arabesques and highly stylized Saz leaves radiates outward from a central lobed medallion like a slow-motion explosion. These large, dramatic design elements are crisscrossed by delicately drawn tendrils, which go over and under the various leaves and arabesques, creating an illusion of three-dimensional depth.
As is true of most great art, this carpet is a combination of opposites.
There is, for example, tremendous circular motion created in the corners of the carpet by the facing pairs of blue-green Saz leaves, a swirling that is held in check and balanced by the relatively static terra-cotta arabesques. Movement and calmness, power and delicacy, expansive and contained, this carpet reconciles the various dualities of life into an integrated, complete, and beautiful whole.
See this piece and other Fine Oriental Rugs & Carpets at our auction in Boston on Sunday, September 28, 2014.