Karabagh Rug, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
In this segment appraiser Peter Pap discusses a ca. 1880 Karabagh rug, mentioning that Karabagh is part of Azerbaijan, a country in the South Caucasus. After the appraisal aired, a viewer wrote to point out that Karabagh is historically and culturally distinct from Azerbaijan. As of today Karabagh (or Nagorno-Karabakh) remains a disputed region whose borders lie within Azerbaijan and whose population is almost entirely Armenian. Karabagh rugs derive their name primarily from the geographical location in which they are woven; this example might be considered an Armenian rug, but other ethnic groups could also have been represented among the weavers, as these rugs were typically made in small workshops in various villages. In these villages would be Kurds and Azeri Turks, certainly Muslim and Christian Armenians as well. Ultimately, it is difficult to determine the ethnic origin of a particular rug because all such weavings are given the designation "Karabagh" in the trade.
Appraisal Video: (3:16)
Rugs & Textiles
Peter Pap Oriental Rugs of San Francisco, Inc.
GUEST: It was in my father's collection, and as a kid I loved seeing it on the wall. He had a lot of oriental rugs in the house as I was growing up. They were everywhere, on the floor, on the walls, on the couches. I liked the geometric designs of it, and I asked him if I was going to have any of them left to me, this is the one I wanted.
APPRAISER: Where did he do most of his collecting? Did he go to estate sales?
GUEST: Yeah, estate sales.
APPRAISER: So he wasn't paying big money for anything that he bought.
GUEST: No, I don't think so.
APPRAISER: Well, this is very indicative of the collecting opportunities that were around in the '50s and '60s. Would you say that's probably when he was doing most of his buying?
GUEST: Yeah, probably.
APPRAISER: You could really buy antique oriental rugs very reasonably, because people were not that interested in them at that time. When you brought it in, you said it was a cloud band Kazak.
APPRAISER: That's what he had told me. And that's not far off. The design is a cloud band design, and that refers to these motifs that you see in the center, which are derived from ancient Chinese art. It's actually a Karabagh, which is a closely related rug woven in the Caucasus. The Caucasus Mountains are in southwestern Russia, and Karabagh is part of Azerbaijan. These were village rugs, and they were made in small workshops or even individual homes, and they were made by women for the marketplace in the late 19th century, so I would call this about an 1870-1880 rug.
APPRAISER: It has all natural dyes. And shortly after this rug was made, they started introducing synthetic dyes, and the colors were much less beautiful, and you start to have problems with fading and bleeding and things like that. So we have a rug that has beautiful spacing of design, and you have beautiful folk art. You see the little animals. And you have very realistic people that are woven into the rug. All this spacing and naiveté and charm that you have in this rug contributes to the collectibility that the rug has. If you look down here, you have a long line of crease wear.
GUEST: Right, yeah.
APPRAISER: And that's usually a result of an uneven floorboard or an actual pucker in the weave. And it's worn right down to the foundation, and that's something that can be restored. You also have some small holes-- if we look up in the corner-- and other areas that could be restored. He probably bought this rug for $100 or $150, if my guess is correct. And in today's market, in its present condition, I would say that it has a replacement value of around $15,000.
GUEST: Wow. Wow—
APPRAISER: in this... In this condition. Now, for about $3,000, maybe $4,000, you could restore this rug into wonderful condition. It would then have a value of around $25,000 after the restoration.
GUEST: Wow. I had no idea.
GUEST: Very exciting! I'm glad I brought it down.
APPRAISER: I'm glad you did, too. Really glad.
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