Lavar Kirman Rug, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $8,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:11)
Rugs & Textiles
Peter Pap Oriental Rugs of San Francisco, Inc.
GUEST: I chose it out of my mother-in-law's estate about five years ago. And it originally came from Shreveport, Louisiana. And that's all I know about the rug.
APPRAISER: Well, the rug is a Persian rug, made in what is now Iran, and it's made around 1890 to 1900. It's called a Lavar Kirman. It's an extremely fine rug. And you'll notice that, if you look at the back of the rug, it has very fine knots so that you can see the pattern very clearly. This rug has approximately 300 knots per square inch. So that's a tremendous amount of workmanship. So, for this type of rug, it's important for it to have that degree of fineness, because they have attempted to do a very intricate design with all the flowers. They like to refer to this as the "mille fleurs" design, or "a thousand flowers." In this period, they were coming from a Victorian sensibility in terms of their design, but they were starting to be influenced by the Art Nouveau, and so there's a very flowing quality to the design that is evocative of what was happening with the Art Nouveau decoration. They were making these rugs for the Western market, and they were trying to make them so that they would appeal to that Western sensibility. You'll notice that the red is a sort of burgundy, or wine color. That is actually an insect dye. We talk a lot about natural dyes, which are dyes that are made from plant materials. This is made from the cochineal insect that's found on cactus. If you'll notice at the bottom, it's missing the outer border. Here we have that red border. And any time you're evaluating the condition of the rug, you want to make sure that that border goes around to the bottom and the top. And you'll notice that it has lost that red border on the bottom and the top. And, oftentimes, what happened is they would get a little bit of unraveling and, instead of fixing the unraveling, they would just even it off and overcast it. It's sort of frayed on the edge. The best thing would be to take it to a qualified repairer who could rewrap it with wool so that it would secure, because you wouldn't want to lose any more of that border. We're not talking about restoring the borders on the bottom, because that would be too costly. But certainly taking care of the edge would be very important. This is a rug that is very desirable in today's market. If I were selling this in my gallery, I would sell it for about $8,500.
APPRAISER: Now, the value was diminished when they unraveled both ends. So, if it had been able to retain the end borders, it would have been worth more in the realm of $12,000.
GUEST: So, vacuuming it or cleaning it, what should I do?
APPRAISER: Just... minimal vacuuming because it's a very thin rug, and a lot of dirt isn't going to get into the nap, so just very gentle suction. You don't want to aggressively vacuum an antique rug because you'll just increase the wearing process.
GUEST: Okay. I'm pleased. I made a good choice.
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