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Are Antique Rugs and Tapestries a Thing of the Past?

The antique rug and tapestry trade has always had a special place in the heart of buyers who appreciate the artistry and skill required to hand-weave these amazing pieces.  Interior designers have traditionally started the design of any given living or dining room with the centerpiece that ties everything together, the oriental rug, and have based their other color and design choices on the antique carpet‘s colors and motifs.

Over the last two decades, the antique rug trade has gained quite a bit of competition from new rugs, with some new rugs being reproductions of antique rug designs, others veering away from traditional colors and motifs and embracing a modern and contemporary look, and yet others being custom made to the buyer’s specifications.  New rugs have become so plentiful and so omnipresent, that for many buyers, they have supplanted the antique rug as the floor covering of choice, both because of their relatively lower price points and their vast flexibility in size, color, and design.

With the growing popularity of new rugs, have antique rugs and tapestries become a thing of the past?  Is the antique rug industry slowly vanishing into irrelevance, with the new rug industry taking its place?

While competition with new rugs can be intense, the antique rug industry is still going strong, and we still see a lot of life left in these century old floor coverings and wall hangings.

For a certain set of buyers, new rugs, while plentiful and relatively inexpensive, will never match the artistry or mastery of their antique hand-knotted ancestors.  Hand-made antique rugs have a certain cache, a certain prestige, and a certain patina of age and authenticity that can never be fully replicated or replaced with a new rug.  They retain their value, unlike new rugs, and are a traditional investment that holds up with time.  The people who have grown up with antique rugs and tapestries in their households generally have an added appreciation for this most tactile and interactive of art forms, and want to carry on the tradition of owning an antique rug, and passing it on to the next generation.

In recent years, we have been fortunate to be able to connect with many more such buyers who appreciate antique rugs, and find them across the U.S. and internationally, thanks in part to our presence on the internet, and our offerings on various selling platforms, including 1st Dibs, One Kings Lane, and Houzz.  The immediacy of the internet, mobile phones, and online sales has made the world a much smaller place, so to speak, with people able to find products they are passionate about with just a few clicks.

In addition to online connectivity, we are seeing a return of traditional oriental rug designs to every day popularity, with them appearing in fashion, clothing designs, fabrics, and furnitureWhat’s old is new again, and it looks like antique carpet colors and motifs are on the next fashion cycle back into the mainstream.  We at Persian Gallery New York are happy to provide the best selection of antique decorative carpets and classic oriental rugs to meet the rising demand!

As for antique tapestries, it seems that they, like antique rugs, are also headed back into the mainstream spotlight.  Antique tapestries from the French “Sun King,” Louis XIV are being showcased in Los Angeles now, with this being the first such major show there in nearly forty years:

The Sun King’s Tapestries

With so much renewed interest in antique rugs and tapestries, and the new fashion cycle headed back toward traditional oriental rug colors and motifs, it seems that the forecasts of the antique industry’s demise are quite premature!  If a fine wine gets better with age, then image how much better an antique rug or tapestry will be as it grows with you over the years in your home, and connects your family to its next generation!