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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Afghan Action’s trainees in Kabul make amazing rugs to order as several of our customers have discovered. On the 23rd of May, 2012 a beautiful 12 square metre carpet custom made by Afghan Action for St Michael’s College, Llandaff, Cardiff was unveiled. Designed by Marianne Osbourne, a former St Michael’s student, the carpet hangs on a wall in the College dining room  with a small plaque explaining how it came to be made. The College has been immensely supportive of Afghan Action since 2005.

The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, said a special prayer of blessing, praying for all those involved in Kabul in weaving this carpet and for the nation of Afghanistan. Carol Cobert, Chair of The Friends of St Michael’s, spoke about the College’s relationship with Afghan Action and Chris Beales, Afghan Action’s Chief Executive, described the work going on in Kabul. Present at the ceremony was Afghan Action advocate Shahnaz Hakim with her husband Shapor and son Zahir Radim, and

Katya Maiseyeva from Oriental Rugs of Bath with Chris Beales of Afghan Action

Katya Maiseyeva of Oriental Rugs of Bath, who stock Afghan Action’s carpets.

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In our continuing series into the origins and history of Oriental Rugs this week we take a look at 3 more types of rug from the Encyclopaedia that William Pryor (the owner of Oriental Rugs of Bath) has been writing over the past few years.

an aqche rug from oriental rugs of bath

An aqche rug from Oriental Rugs of Bath

Aqche Rugs (also Aqcha) are handmade by Turkmen living in the central part of the Afghan Province of Jowzjan around the town of Aqcha. Deep reds are their usual primary colour with octagonal rose, elephant foot and stylised flower motifs in

Belouch Rugs (also Beluch, Belutch, Belutsch, Balouch, Baloutche, Balúchi) are hand-knotted by different nomadic tribes that wander between Persia and western Afghanistan. (Belouch is a generic term for nomads in that area.) Belouch carpets are closely related to carpets from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Their colours tend to be dark red, dark blue, black and brown; their patterns geometrical with curvilinear life-trees. They are often designed as prayer carpets with a prayer niche. The workmanship is of high quality; these carpets are tight woven, thin and are fine examples of genuine nomadic handicraft. Mashad or Meshed Belouch car-pets are sold in the city of Mashad in Iran, while Herat Belouch carpets are sold in the city of Herat in Afghanistan. dark blue.

Bibikabad Rugs (also Bibik Abad) are woven in the Hamadan region of Iran and are related to Malayers in technique. They tend to come in all-over designs, usually the Herati pattern or Boteh (Paisley), which may at times have a medallion

A Belouch Rug from Oriental Rugs of Bath

A Belouch Rug from Oriental Rugs of Bath

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It was no passing fancy, that last post. We are serious about rugs as art – just look at the rugs we currently have on the walls of our shop in Bath! How well they work as decoration, inspiration and visual satisfaction; all things you look for in the art you hang on your walls.

A Sherkate Zabol Rug from Iran

This Sherkate Zabol (wonderful name!), for instance, pictured here hanging on our shop wall, at under 5 pence per square centimetre , is a great deal less expensive than most contemporary paintings of this size.

A gorgeous Kaskuli hanging above our Anthony Stern glassware

This Kashkuli from south-western Iran makes a delightful work of art for your wall, also at less than 5p per square centimetre.

The Fascinating Geometry of a Kilim

Or how about a flat-weave kilim for your walls, or cover for a table, chest or even a sofa? You can see the top of Joy Pryor’s chair, since this kilim is hanging behind her desk. This costs less than a single penny per square metre – you would be very hard put to find anything resembling a work of art for that money!

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One could define a work of art as the product of deliberately arranging something or things in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions and intellect of the observer. Paintings, murals and tapestries are the art forms usually associated with walls, but most hand-made oriental rugs are so gorgeous they easily compete with them as art to go on your walls, or as art-covers for chests, sofas and doors. Or saddle-bags for your camel. Rugs are certainly deliberate arrangements of wool and silk and colour that affect your emotions and intellect in a most positive way, they are rug art! It’s not difficult to see oriental rugs as art!

Vermeer's Music Lesson uses semi-transparent glazes to create the effect of light on the rug draped over the table on the right.

There can be no question that hand-woven rugs are works of art. And they are made by artisans (a word that has been making something of a comeback) practising the art of rug-weaving. As long as rugs and kilims have been used as floor coverings – and that’s a few millennia – they have also been hung on walls and draped over tables, chests, doors and camels. Their warmth, amazing colours and centuries-old patterns makes them inspiring works of art. Hanging a rug on your wall is as easy as stitching a velcro strip on the back.

Fra Bartolomeo's Annunciation of 1252 is the earliest known European painting to show an oriental rug (on the floor between the two figures).

And such is the richness of their patterns and colours that rugs have been playing a central role in that more traditional art form, painting, from as early as the 13th Century. Indeed there are more depictions of oriental rugs in paintings of the period than there are actual surviving rugs from that time. Indeed, the study of these paintings is one of the main source of information on the history of rug making. These rugs also demonstrate how Christian and Islamic cultures

Hans Holbein the Younger's Portrait of the merchant Georg Gisze, 1532, with rug-covered table.

started to intertwine: they are symbols of luxury and status of Middle-Eastern origin in European painting.

At Oriental Rugs of Bath we are very keen to hear of your experience of hand-woven rugs as art. Please go to our Facebook page and post your pictures of what you’ve seen on your travels or how you’ve been using rugs to light up your walls, tables, chests or camels.

And as I keep saying, rugs make excellent saddlebags for your camel!

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