Antique Persian Motasham Kashan “Vase Rug” | 4′ 3″ x 6′ 6″, circa 1900




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As is often the case, I was first drawn to this rug for its color. I have never seen another rug whose field is the astonishing, warm auburn shade I see here. Coupled with utterly exquisite floral drawing and extraordinarily fine knotting, its artistic dynamic stirs me in ways that are new. A captivating secondary palette of hues is hidden in the delicately rendered petals, boughs, and architectural features in the field, becoming a brilliant foil to the base color. Several taupes and buff tones support the pas de deux between pale peach and celadon that is everywhere in the rug. Deepest sapphire blue provides an iridescent contrasting tone while the occasional spot of buttercup yellow adds a quiet element of surprise. Over the years, I have come to appreciate much more deeply the skill it takes to render the very softest hues. In less experienced hands, such tonalities become subject to quick fading. But this heavy-pile example retains the integrity of its subtle color spectrum. And this is before even mentioning the entirely virtuoso quality of the rug’s design.

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