The craft of weaving rugs and carpets is one of the most ancient of the world. There are references to it in the Old Testament of the Bible and den in Homer’s Iliad; the oldest known carpet in existence, the Pazyryk carpel found in the mountains of Siberia is probably about 2.500 years old.
More than any other craft or art form, the handmade rug. whether from one of the great carpet making areas of the Orient or from the Indian tribes of North America, has survived the onslaught of industrialization and is now in greater demand than ever. The importance and beauty of antique Oriental carpets have been long understood, an understanding which is now reflected in the immense sums which the finest pieces can command at auction. Likewise, the great Aubusson and Savonncrie carpets of France have always been prized among the highest achievements of European decorative art. But there arc many other types of carpet – many of them modern – which deserve the attention of expert and general reader alike.
RUGS AND CARPETS OF THE WORLD is a complete guide to the major rug making areas of the world. Lavishly illustrated with over 500 illustrations in color and black and white, it discusses the history of the craft in all the major centers of production, gives an area by area account of all the main types, and also describes the carpet market, with hints on how to judge and buy.
The chapters on Oriental and African rugs cover the history of these finest of floor and wall decorations, including accounts of the finest classic carpets of the Safavid period in Persia and a k history of the many different types over the past 100 years. In the European chapters Isabelle Anscombe examines the development of the European carpet industry from its beginnings in Moorish Spain to the highly sophisticated French Aubusson and Savonnerie carpets and modem carpet production in England and Scandinavia. In addition to describing the beautiful traditional rugs and blankets of the great weavers of the Navajo tribe in the United States, the American chapters also examine in detail the early rugs of the 19th century in the United States.