Historically, carpets started out as stretched animal hides to be placed on the floor. Throughout history, these hides guarded people against chilly floors and cold nights. The concept of carpets sophisticatedly evolved through centuries into what we now know as contemporary rugs and carpets. However, it was 4,000 years ago that people started weaving fabrics together in Mesopotamian and Egyptian tombs. The first area to produce some of the finest rugs and carpets was Asia. People utilized the wool from their flocks of sheep to weave rugs and coverings that would guard them from the cold.
In recent times, the development of rugs took a radical turn in 1949 when a frozen Pazyryk carpet was discovered by a Russian archaeologist. Found in a burial site in Siberia, the carpet is believed to date back to the 5th century. The brilliant colors and knotted patterns are evident of the historic importance of carpets and rugs. Today, collectors and decorators are ardent fans of vintage carpets. Not only do these carpets stand out because of their unique appearance, they hold an intriguing historic significance as rare pieces of art.
Why Vintage Carpets are Popular
Vintage carpets and rugs add elegance to any room. Each of these masterpieces is woven by hand. Technically, a rug is any piece that is smaller than 9 ft x 2 ft and larger pieces are carpets. However, the terms have been interchangeable in recent years. Designers, decorators and connoisseurs love vintage rugs and carpets are loved as they can be used in a variety of ways. A vintage carpet can add dimension and colors to the floor of your dining room or you can even hang one up on a wall. Some people love to use it on top of the bed, something which you cannot do with a contemporary carpet.
Quality of Vintage Carpets
The true quality of vintage carpets is evaluated by how tightly woven they are. Moreover, you can also select good vintage carpets by knowing the number of knots per every square inch, which is also referred to as KPSI. This measurement can be calculated by multiplying the number of horizontal knots in one square inch with the number of vertical knots.
A carpet with 70 to 80 knots per square inch usually has a coarse texture and may not be able to withstand wear and tear. Carpets with over 100 knots per square inch are durable and have a medium texture, whereas carpets with almost 200 knots per square are considered high quality items. A few carpets and rugs can have up to 400 knots KPSI. Needless to say, they are some of the most expensive and rarest vintage carpets.
Buying a Vintage Carpet
Vintage carpets can be as old as 50 to 200 years. All vintage rugs and carpets are distinguished by handspun and hand dyed wool. Interestingly, all artisans use roots and leaves from the environment to produce vegetable dyed colors. These dyes were made by boiling all natural elements in water. The men were responsible for shearing the sheep and women would clean the wool to spin it by hand and then dye it.
Discovering authentic and beautiful vintage rugs can be challenging. Since they are more popular as collection and decoration items, they are less likely to be available at your regular store. Nonetheless, there are thousands of people who still want to buy a vintage carpet to enhance the appearance of their homes and workplace. The price of a vintage carpet varies according to the time period it is from.
Interested buyers should look into the quality, texture and time period of a vintage carpet before purchasing it. This will help them have a décor item that is nothing like a contemporary carpet or rug. Sometimes, you will be lucky to find a rare and exceptionally beautiful vintage carpet in secondhand shops. However, it is unlikely that people will donate these treasures. Occasionally, antique shops procure them but only to sell them for a much higher price.
However, online retailers and e-Commerce stores dealing particularly in antique and vintage accessories, such as carpets, have made it easier for customers to get their hands on vintage carpets to decorate their holiday villas and apartments. Thanks to this progress, there are thousands of vintage carpets available on the market today.
What to Look for in a Vintage Carpet?
Check for variety of design and quality of a vintage carpet. Vintage carpets are characterized by their free design elements that are less likely to be repetitive. You can also choose a vintage carpet that has a whimsical character since most of the designs are playful and not schematic. Vintage carpets are known for portraying natural elements or taking inspiration from the environment in the form of unique motifs. There may be slight variations which are visible only to an expert eye.
While 90% of all vintage rugs are made on the same kind of loom, almost 10% of such carpets may have a different kind of knot that is apparent when you turn the carpet over. Every historical era has its own unique style. A great way to narrow down your search is to probe the kind of culture each era reflected. Art lovers are aware how many of the vintage carpet designs reveal important details about certain periods of time. Generally, Spanish, Turkish, Oriental, Persian and Indian carpets are the most popular and easily available vintage carpets.
Taking Care of Your Vintage Carpet
Vintage carpets can be cleaned the same way as you brush off your regular carpet. Brushing is a basic cleaning method and you have to brush the carpet in the direction of the nap. Improperly brushing a vintage carpet will damage the structure and texture of its surface. Regular brushing will maintain the natural shine of your vintage carpet for decades to come. Although vacuuming is recommended, it is a good idea to not vacuum your carpet too often. Make sure you also flip over the carpet to clean the back so your vintage carpet remains dust-free.
Vintage carpets fluctuate in price tags as their condition, rarity and age determines their true value. This means a vintage carpet can be an expensive purchase for your home. Rare and historically significant vintage carpets can cost thousands of dollars.
However, if you intend to add a classic appeal to your home décor by adding something as precious as a vintage carpet, you have plenty of options to choose from. There are hundreds of 18th century vintage carpets, including mansion size rugs, collectible Caucasian carpets, fine silk and wool rugs from the best looms of Persia or Turkmen carpets from Central Asia to add class to your home.