High-End "FOREST OF LIFE" Rare Antique GEM |Sensational Nomadic Beauty Ivory/Beige Ground with over 100 Trees | 9.1 x 13.7
* All of our antique & vintage rugs are professionally cleaned prior to being listed.*
Name: Olympia | rare size, rare design, rare color palette
Size: ~ 9.1 x 13.7
Age: Turn of the Century, First quarter of the 20th Century, C. 1900's
Pile: Low with incredible patina and ancient expert restoration
About: This is in the top 3 pieces we've ever carried in our entire collection. A true antique, and I would argue perhaps the perfect example of what you see from the Western region of the remote lands of the greatest rug weaving country ever known. This is what you get when you combine high-end materials like 100% organic wool and goat hair, natural dyes derived from the fields, gardens, forests, and soils, iconic and legacy designs and patterns, sensational symbolism and imagery that is filled to the brim with metaphors. What is beyond fascinating in this piece is that there are well over 100 trees, with perhaps half a dozen different types anywhere from the weeping willow tree which is a sign of protection, to the Cypress tree which is a sign of strength and faith often woven in very old rugs to symbolize the straightest and purest path from Earth to God ( the Cypress tree stands so straight and so tall that these weavers said it was the fastest way to reach Heaven). Arguably, each tree in this piece is represented as the Tree of Life, for each tree independently you will find in other small "tree of life" rugs woven for centuries in different rug weaving villages. This, of course, is the meaning of "source", the divine, immortality, and eternal paradise, to name a few. The rest of the charm this rug possesses is hard to absorb all at once - this is a piece you will look at for decades to come, seeing something new in it each time your eyes gaze through it. Dozens of nomadic animals representing protection, loyalty, and bravery are woven around the tree trunks, motifs of jugs that symbolize purity, cleanliness, and water, and even subliminal messages from the weavers about the idea of the process, journey, and perhaps the shortness of life. You will see arrow motifs throughout this whole piece pointing towards the sky - this is a subliminal message staying in the same vein as the symbol of the Tree of Life. Under some of the trees, you will see little seeds shaped like arrows, for the arrow becomes the tree, the tree grows tall towards the sky above. Perhaps the weaver's intention to become closer to the divine, and hinting at our connection with source. Again, the unspoken passages these artisans leave for mostly in graphics, imagery, and symbolism through the motifs are always right in front of us, we just have to be open and willing to see them. The border frames this Heavenly forest which you mostly find in the Northwest but chosen for the border of this piece. This border is known as the Turtle border, or the Samovar border, and contains the Herati fish which are symbols of good luck, and love. Look closely and you will see on the outermost perimeter a stretch of mountains that flanks the entire rug - this mountain range is another sign of protection as often villagers and nomads found themselves traveling through and settled around Mountains using geography and the terrain of the land to their advantage. This very well could be what the weavers saw off into their horizons and woven in this masterpiece as an ode to their land and a nod to Mother Nature. When we talk about colors in antique rugs, natural and vegetable dyes are the Gold Standard. Every single ounce of this piece is dunked, bathed, and dyed in top-notch dyes from the Earth. Perhaps the very field/background of this rug was un-dyed natural sheep's wool, and the deep mocha, espresso, and browns in this piece also perhaps un-dyed from different parts and different sheep. The incredible Bakshayesh blues, deep indigo, royal, and oxford blues all come from the indigo plant, the unbelievable teals and greens from combining pear leaves and even saffron with indigo, soft rose, sand, variations of chestnut and volcanic ash, blush, and corals with hints of salmon, walnut, madder root and rust with delicate variations sourced from flora from the fields are all sorted and added masterfully to blend and create these colors we see before us. One of the most fascinating things about this piece might be an element that we NEVER think about - the foundation of the rug; the warp and weft. We usually don't think about the warp and weft because often we don't see it as the knots are tied around the foundation of the rug hiding them from our sight; however, in this piece, you will see a subtle blush/coral fibers poking through some of the patina and pile throughout the rug (see picture 4). To the untrained eye, you'd like to was color transfer - but no, it is the nomadic weft they used to secure above and below each row of knots! And the fact that it is only in certain horizontal sections of the rug tells us that in other areas they used different color weft that doesn't poke through the rug's pile. This is the epitome of village weaving elements - random and beautifully organic spontaneous asymmetrical elements that unfolded before the weaver's eyes as they wove this tribal gem. It is these subtle nuances that take these pieces from beautiful yet common, to jaw-dropping one-in-the-world collectibles. For us, it is the raw humanity that reminds us that artisans wove these pieces by hand, one small knot at a time - and that always keeps us grounded with perspective. The most nomadic and challenging pieces to weave are the ones that never let us forget what true art looks like. Each knot this piece is constructed of is filled with the natural oils from the fingers of the weaver because all this wool is hand-spun, but most of the sheen and glow this wool has is actually derived of the natural lanolin in the sheep's wool which is a protective layer for these animals to detract dirt, water, sun, and other elements from nature - so in a way, this rug already has a natural layer of protection built into it which is always perfect for the modern home and any space with traffic on and near it. The rug itself has a wonderfully coarse knot with a nice body to it, yet still has an amazing semi-floppy handle to it due to it being constructed of wool pile and wool foundation, and this just speaks to its nomadic nature. Many tribal rug lovers prefer the wool on wool and the floppiness, but given specifically where this was woven - these weavers are known for nice coarse and tight knots so that's why after over 100+ years this rug looks like it was just woven yesterday. The piece itself has some incredible character-rich patina, and some very impressive ancient restoration and it always makes me smile because truly sought-after, desirable, and rare rugs that have amazing repairs is a sign that every single owner of the rug also thought so highly of it, so much so that they only allowed the best to touch it and spend big bucks to have it done correctly. In this piece, you'll note some re-weaving done here and there. Not basic repairs, reweaving - as in the master repair people created a table loom to re-create the warp and weft and color-matched the wool by not only the color but perhaps even the age of the wool to try and honor this piece as best as possible - absolutely incredible stuff. As you can tell, I'm in love with this piece because I LOVE the mountains, forest, and trees - and the village and weavers that wove this rug weave my absolute #1 favorite rugs in the world. Somehow they capture the sophisticated and symbolic patterns with a sense of ease and casual demeanor. This is a VERY energy-filled piece - every time you see it you will be walking through the forest inhaling the fresh and clean oxygen from the trees, and the crisp air of the high-altitude mountains. Every time you walk on this piece you will be walking on cloud-like wool from the very sheep that travel and live with the nomads. I hope this piece brings out the wanderlust and optimistic energy inside you, and that you get lost in it each time you look at this Ivory Forest.
This rug is one-of-a-kind, only one in the world, no others are available.
Because of the nature and age of these older/antique handmade pieces - irregularities, ancient old repairs/touch-ups, and age-related wear are likely to exist and are not considered defects.
Any questions about this rug? Don't hesitate to reach out!
We always recommend a high-quality custom cut pad for any and all rugs; these pads are made for hand-knotted rugs. They create a body and support the knots of the rug, as well as prevent it from slipping and sliding.
A note from us to you: Buying a rug is special; it's not just you finding the rug, but also the rug finding you. Think about the many coincidences that have to occur for you to find the rug of your dreams. Our rugs are woven by nomads in the villages and remote mountainous regions of the major rug weaving districts across the world. All of our rugs are genuinely old and one-of-a-kind. Like anything old and unique, they are filled with character, soul, and story. The story of a rug is something we think about a lot; who was the weaver(s)? Did they weave it for personal use, commerce, to gift, or trade? Who was the second owner, and the third!? Sometimes the little motifs and symbols in rugs can help tell the story, but we will never truly know - there's something beautiful about that. Alas, our joy is to curate these incredible pieces that speak to us, and to pass them along to their new owners to be enjoyed and cherished for many years to come; both continuing to add to the story of the rug, and to the story of the new owners.
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