Buying a Persian Rug in Abu Dhabi
An artistic investment to walk all over.
There are few residences in the UAE without a carpet – an item synonymous with the region’s culture and heritage. Go back just a generation or two and the process of choosing a new handwoven rug was done with the same care and cautious decision making that you would a new car. At a souk, Jaddi (grandpa) would flip over a rug and run his nail on the knots: the tighter the better. Jaddati (grandma) would envision the rug on her floor – which way round should it fit? Baba (dad) would start to haggle with the store owner, hands would gesticulate, frowns would burrow, nervous laughs ring out, and mint tea offered.
“A Persian rug is both an investment and a visually captivating backdrop to Arabian family living.”
LUXURIOUS RUGS, ABU DHABI
But unlike a motor with a value that depreciates the moment you leave the showroom, a Persian rug’s value may double or triple in little more than a decade. A silk Iranian rug, measuring 3 x 5 meters, bought in 2000 for $1,000 may now already be worth over $4,000. In 2008, a handmade silk Isfahan rug from Central Persia with an outstanding craftsmanship, incredibly high knot density and use of pure silk made it such a rare find it sold for $4,450,000.
But what’s really beautiful is that once an investment in a Persian rug is made, it should not be laid to rest in a cold decompression vault. It should be used, loved, admiringly stroked, walked on, sat on, food should be shared on while stories are told and memories captured. A Persian rug is both an investment and a visually captivating backdrop to Arabian family living.
Within Arabic homes, larger carpets are found in living rooms and majlis (meaning, a place of sitting) amplifying the hospitable décor for family and visitors. For religious purposes, smaller, more portable rugs are known as sajjadah, derived from the verb to prostrate, or to bow low. Typically measuring one by 1.5 meters, prayer rugs may include a compass pointing to Mecca and true to the mystical Islamic belief of Sufism, a sheikh will inherit the sajjadah of his tutor.
It isn’t difficult to spot handmade carpets from Iran and Afghanistan within the souks and traditional markets of Abu Dhabi; the city has long been a vibrant trading hub for the Arabian Peninsula. From traditional carpets to bespoke modern and contemporary versions, the variety of rugs available to shop is vast.
For carpets that are handmade and boasting a traditional and regional design, locals and visitors head to The Red Carpet in Dalma Mall, part of the Heritage Group established in 1975 to provide clients with high-end and customized rugs from the Middle East and internationally. Or they can take a walk along the Abu Dhabi Corniche and venture into the Center of Original Iranian Carpets (COIC), a company that has sold beautifully produced handmade carpets for over 90 years in Abu Dhabi. Here customers will be transported into a world of magic, folklore and Persian heritage.
Dawood Hosseinzadeh, managing partner of COIC, will explain how the value of a Persian carpet is based on the level of design, density of colors and quality of the material. From conception to craftsmanship, to storefronts of the region and on which floor or wall each design lands up: every carpet tells a story, and that’s priceless.