Bakshaish Rug, ca. 1880
Somewhere probably ten or so years after the turn of the century, it was given to my great-grandmother and great-grandfather as a wedding present. They lived in Detroit at the time, and it pretty quickly ended up in their house in Maine, where it stayed until probably the mid-'90s. And when my grandparents passed on, it wound up under our couch, and that's where it's been.
It's a Northwest Persian rug-- present-day Iran, but made in Persia-- from an area that we call Bakshaish, which is a rural countryside area so they make things that aren't very fancy. They're very stylized and abstract, as you can see here. Although we know a lot about Bakshaish rugs, in 25 years of being in the rug trade, I've only seen three other examples of this design. So it's an outrageously rare design type. And what it represents is the area in Northwest Persia where the Bakshaish rugs were made. It was a mountainous area with forests, abundant floral and fauna. And what you have is a herd of antelope, and it's probably representing the migration between summer and winter pastures of the wild antelope that were driven and herded by the people who lived in the region. There was a lot of abstraction in the way they interpreted things. So when you see, like, the antelope floating in the night sky, it's not Santa's reindeer, it's just another antelope. And the trees represent the local trees, these are cypress trees. These are very stylized pomegranate trees. And color-wise, it's really just what the weaver liked. I mean, I'm calling this a night sky, but that's my own interpretation. It's late 19th century, 1880s, 1890s, somewhere in that range. And it's interesting that your grandparents had it. At the turn of the century, a folk art rug like this wouldn't have been as popular as a more city, urban rug. Has anyone ever given you a sense of value?
The last person, which was six or seven years ago probably, said somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 but he really didn't know if that was low or high.
He basically said he had no real way to tell.
I would say a conservative auction estimate for this would be $25,000 to $35,000.
With a chance of it actually bringing much more. The other three that I mentioned, one sold for almost $100,000, but it had a white background, which is a lot rarer and a lot more desirable. And then the other ones have sold in that $25,000 to $40,000, $45,000 range. So I think a nice, conservative auction estimate would be $25,000 to $35,000.
Well, that is certainly not too shabby.
No, it's a good thing. It's a very good rug and really in remarkably good condition.
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