Mihrab Panel, ca. 1850

Value (2012) | $3,000 Retail$5,000 Retail

My father-in-law, who was trained as an electrical engineer during World War I, extended his career beyond retirement by going to underdeveloped countries and helping them to get the power from dams to the communities. And one of the countries he went to was Iran. And so when he was in Iran, he bought this piece. And it was probably in the early '60s that he bought it.

Well, it's amazing, because it's a block-printed Central Persian textile from the mid-19th century. Block printing is where they actually take wooden blocks and they carve the design on the wooden block, ink it, and then print it on the fabric. And it's very rare to see these today, because it's such a delicate fabric that they often would disintegrate or fall apart if they weren't properly stored. Originally in the 19th century, they would have been made to serve as a mihrab panel to hang in a family home. And it's amazing, when you consider that it's a printed textile, the delicacy that the artisan was able to create in the design of the panel itself. One of the things I love most about this is the story behind it. I have heard so many stories over the years of people working in Iran in the '50s and the '60s who buy objects, bring them back, only to find out that they're brand-new souvenir art or tourist art. This is seriously the first time I've heard the story and have actually come across a real object, something that has artistic merit. Have you ever had it appraised?

No, I haven't.

Well, textiles are interesting. It's unfortunately a market that is very underappreciated today, particularly in the United States. So while this is something that I would consider a great work of art, it's probably only worth about $3,000 to $5,000.

I see, okay.

Which isn't an insignificant amount of money, but it's...you would think for a great object, it would be worth more. But it's really a wonderful thing.

Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Beauvais Carpets
New York, NY
Update (2012)
$3,000 Retail$5,000 Retail
Appraised value (1998)
$3,000 Retail$5,000 Retail
Richmond, VA (August 28, 1998)

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