Expert advice-1



How is the value of hand-knotted carpets measured?
The factors that determine the carpet’s degree of appreciation include fineness and intricacy of design, rarity and condition. A well-maintained carpet that has had no repairs or very few undetectable repairs, a smooth pile and no uneven fading will have a higher value than one that is poorly maintained.

How old does a carpet need to be in order to be considered an antique?
An Antique carpet should be around 80 to 100 years, while a collectable carpet needs to be at least 30 years old.

What are the types of yarns normally used in carpets?
Persian carpets use wool, lambs wool, kork wool, cotton or silk. They can be made of wool, silk or a combination of wool and silk on the foundation of wool, cotton or silk. An all silk (silk on silk) carpet is the most finely knotted, has the most luxurious feel and is also the priciest. However, wool is the most commonly used yarn for handmade Persian carpets.

In humid climates such as Singapore, is wool really a suitable material for carpets?
Wool comes in various grades. Choose carpets that use the finest wool such as kork, which is the soft fine wool from the belly of sheep aged between 8 to 14 months. It’s more cooling and soft, and there will be ‘poky’ feeling when the skin rubs against this grade of wool.

Which are the main types of Persian carpets?
There are four. Tribal carpets are tribal weavings of nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples. Made in traditional designs for traditional uses, primarily for the individual and their family, they are constructed on collapsible, horizontal looms and are thus often smaller (narrower) than village or city carpets. Distinctive for their simplistic, dramatic colour schemes and angular designs consisting of repeated motifs, most of these carpets are passed down from one generation to the other and are often weaved from memory. Due to the itinerant nature of these tribes, dyeing and weaving are often started in one place – disrupted when the tribe starts travelling – a finished in another location, resulting in uneven colouration and sometimes lopsided designs and shapes. Hence, every piece is unique, reflecting the personality, customs and aesthetic preference of the weaver.
Village carpets are weaved by the settled villagers, often form a semi-nomadic tribe that has become sedentary over time. These carpets are often created for sale outside the village, the designs usually based on memory or from a prescribed design. These village weavings, while displaying traditional roots, often show a degree of innovation, colour variation, intricacy and creativity not found in tribal weavings. Due to the availability of the larger vertical loom, larger pieces of carpets are also therefore produced.
City carpets, made in both traditional and commercially appealing formats, are from a written pattern or ‘carbon’, and are the most finely-woven and elaborately designed carpets available. They are also usually named after the cities from which they originate. Perfection in design, detail and shape are expected of these carpets as they are meticulously plotted onto graph paper by master craftsmen, and are recognized for their intricate and ornate patterns. Sometimes, one carpet would even take up to five or six years to complete. Here, the large looms enable room size carpets to be made.
Kilims are flat weaves that originate from Central Asia and the Middle East. They are comparable to the serapes of the Mexicans, or the woollen rugs and blankets of the Native Indians of North and South America. In a kilim, coloured weft threads are interfaced with the warp threads in a number of ways to create patterns. Unlike carpets, kilims do not have a pile. With certain weaving techniques, their patterning is clean and clear on both sides, making the rug completely reversible. There are numerous ways to weave a kilim, the most common method being the slit weave. Kilims reflect their tribal and village origins in the form of simple, bright colours, symbolic and geometric designs and stylized representations of people, animals and everyday objects.