In the West we have for so long now been used to seeing Oriental carpets all around us, freely available at very reasonable prices. I believe we have as a result of this become spoilt and blase, and no longer give much thought and appreciation to what makes these textiles the rare and priceless art objects they in fact are.
The political and social turmoil in the areas that have traditionally been producing this extraordinary work will lead to the diminishment, if not the cessation of supply at source. Local dealers and auctioneers are finding that much of what passes through their hands goes overseas - the current exchange rate makes South Africa a very attractive source of carpets. Our pool of carpets will get smaller and smaller, and inevitably much more expensive.
Bearing this in mind, one should perhaps consider making the most of the present affordability and reasonable supply to lay in some carpets while one can. And of course, treat the ones you have with great care as replacing them might be a little difficult in the future.
The most recent addition to the collection of vintage oriental carpets available from Bismillah at Ibis Gallery is a venerable wool-on-wool Juntdag prayer rug (130 x 98cm) with double mihrab. Hand-woven and knotted by tribal people living in the mountainous Juntdag area between Manisa and Bergama, it has the date of it's making woven in just under the upper mihrab - 1958. This is a rare feature and makes its age - 59 years - indisputable. Another feature is the finishing off of top and bottom with a broad band of stripey flat-weave, the two sides not matching, before the woolen fringes.
This beautiful carpet is, in spite of its age, in extremely good condition, self-edging end fringes in exceptional condition. It is priced at R10,000.00.
Also in our collection at present is a beautiful Azarbeijan (286 x 141cm) This Caucasian carpet is wool on cotton, beautifully faded - due to the lovely vegetable dyes - and in excellent condition. R7400.