Emmett’s book, Oriental Rugs Today, was released in its second edition in 2003. It remains essential reading today, and is likely the definitive work on the contemporary Oriental rug market. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be publishing Oriental Rugs Today, second edition, chapter by chapter on this blog. Enjoy!
From the preface:
Just three years ago I fantasized in the first edition of this book that a time would come when trade barriers with Iran would tumble and new Persian rugs would again become available in the US. I dreamed that tribal weavers in Iran might again weave their traditional rugs with ancient dyeing techniques. Today Iranian rugs are back in our markets, and at least a small number of them are dyed just as they were thousands of years ago, and are as wonderful as I had imagined! That change alone would have prompted us to write an update to this book, and indeed you will find a new chapter here devoted to the rugs of Iran. But there have been other important geopolitical changes in the rug world, too — some of them astonishing.
At the time of the first edition, one of the most stable and fertile sources of Oriental rugs was Pakistan, where Afghan refugees live in camps and weave some of the best carpets in the world. Since then, thousands of weavers there have abandoned their looms to return home.
On the other hand, three years ago Afghanistan’s endless civil wars had ended all significant rug weaving there. Today, though much of Afghanistan is in rubble, there are signs that she is recovering a craft that has been part of her culture for many hundreds of years.
We have detailed these and hundreds of other changes in this new edition of Oriental Rugs Today. After all, the book’s title suggests a certain obligation to keep news about Oriental rugs up to date. We have identified and illustrated what we believe to be the best Oriental rugs in the market, including the rugs from Iran that weren’t available three years ago.
Despite all the volatility in the rug world during the past three years, two things remain as true today as they were in 2000. First, we are living in a golden age of Oriental rug weaving. Second, it can be rather daunting to buy an Oriental rug in these interesting times. Oriental Rugs Today is your guide to the wonderful, but sometimes confusing, rugs of the twenty-first century. With this book as your consultant, understanding Oriental rugs and finding the right one to take home should be a very pleasurable experience.