Are wool carpets worth the cost

Carpets are more than just trendy home accessories. How much more is proven by the five most famous and at the same time most expensive carpets in the world, which we present to you in this ranking - you will be surprised, we promise!

The sacred carpet

In last place, with a purchase price of around $ 3,000, is the famous Ardebil rug. Often referred to as the “holy carpet”, this 16th century Persian carpet is the oldest dated carpet in the world and is currently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

"The famous" holy carpet "in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from 1539/1540"

Source: From Unknown -, Gemeinfrei, Link

The ruler Shah Tahmasp I commissioned the carpet around 1539 to decorate the shrine of his ancestors. This shrine is located in a mosque in Ardebil that gave the carpet its name and where it was kept until it was sold in 1890. Negotiators from the Anglo-Persian carpet manufacturer Ziegler bought the carpet for the then immense sum of around 3,000 US dollars on behalf of the London Museum. There he was given the honorable nickname “Holy Carpet”, which translates as “holy carpet”.

The carpet was manufactured in the traditional knotting factories of Kaschan. Typical for carpets from this region is an extremely fine weave: the Ardebil carpet With a size of 61.5 square meters, it has a knot density of 520,000 knots per square meter - that makes a remarkable 26 million knots.

The indigo blue background, on which various ornaments emerge, consists of the finest silk. The pile of the rug is made of pure wool. According to many interpreters, the motif is a replica of the sky: glass mosque lamps represent stars that are reflected in a surface of water on which lotus blossoms are floating. The date of manufacture is also tied into the carpet: The Islamic year 947. This roughly corresponds to the year 1540/41.

The Ardebil carpet has a secret twin, also known as the “secret carpet”. Produced at the same time in the same factory, it is less well preserved today compared to the more well-known “holy carpet”. It is also narrower and smaller and had to be partially restored. Also sold in 1890, it passed through the hands of many wealthy businessmen until an American industrialist bought it for $ 70,000 and donated it to the Museum of Art in Los Angeles in 1953, where it is on display to this day.

These two carpets are the most important Persian carpets made in Iran and have therefore often been copied. Even the Prime Minister of England has an Ardebil rug like this in his Downing Street office.

The pearl carpet

The Maharajah Gaekwar Khande Rao, who ruled the Indian state of Baroda from 1856 to 1870, had the special carpet made, which made it to fourth place in our ranking.

Made to decorate the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed, this carpet was not knotted from silk or wool, but from pearls. The most respected jewelers processed a total of around 1.4 million real natural pearls with a diameter of between two and three millimeters. These pearls alone are worth an estimated 30,000 carats and weigh around six kilograms. Each pearl is individually strung and linked.

The carpet is also adorned with three large rosettes made of silver-plated gold diamonds. Many other silver-plated gemstones were processed: 600 emeralds, 1,300 rubies and 2,600 diamonds. The motifs shown are of Arabic tradition and are reminiscent of the decorations of the Taj Mahal.

Contrary to what was originally planned, the approximately 2.70 x 1.60 meter large beaded carpet never arrived at Muhammad's tomb in Mecca, but remained in the maharaja's treasury. It is said to have cost 60 million rupees at the time. Today the carpet is only partially preserved. Even so, it achieved the record-breaking sum of $ 5.5 million at an auction in Qatar in 2009.

The Kirman vase carpet

The carpet in third place looks inconspicuous, but has already caused a lot of trouble. The story that made him so famous doesn't take place in the Orient, but in tranquil Augsburg.

Carpet in "vase technique", Kerman, 17th century

Source: From artwork: unknown -, public domain, link

An auctioneer there estimated it to be worth 900 euros in October 2009, and the misfortune of the old lady, who had previously owned the carpet, takes its course.

A short time later, the carpet is auctioned and the initially pleasing purchase price of 20,000 euros. But the carpet's journey does not end there: the lucky buyer turns to the famous auction house Christie's in London, which sells the blue carpet from Persian Kerman, the slightly wavy surface of which is decorated with colorful flowers, leaves and branches Estimates 200,000 to 300,000 pounds.

When the carpet was auctioned for the second time in April 2010, the surprise followed: the interest of the bidders was great! One collector will appear in person and six others will bid over the phone. The starting bid is 150,000 pounds and is well exceeded: An anonymous bidder from the Middle East buys the carpet for the equivalent of 7.5 million euros, making it the most expensive carpet in the world for the time being.

An expert opinion confirms the instinct of the buyer: the carpet originally came from the possession of the French art lover Comtesse Martine Marie-Pol de Béhague. When she died, her nephew inherited the carpet until it was auctioned in Monaco in 1987. So the carpet came into the possession of a Munich carpet dealer, and from there into the hands of his former housekeeper, who received the carpet as a thank you. This in turn bequeathed it to the old lady, who took it to the Augsburg auctioneer, who sold it well below its value for 20,000 euros.

The lady therefore goes to court and demands from the auctioneer the difference to Christie's estimated £ 300,000. She rejects a settlement of 85,000 euros - and loses.

The auctioneer does not have to pay, as he can make credible that none of the appraisers at his auction house could see the real value of the carpet. This is how the dispute over the 7.5 million euro carpet comes to an end. In the end, only one person really won: the anonymous bidder on the phone at Christie's.

The Clark Sickle Leaf Carpet

Second in our ranking is a Persian carpet, which was sold for an unbelievable 34 million dollars in 2013, a price three times higher than that Kerman vase carpetwho until then was still called the most expensive carpet in the world was true.

The "Clark 'sickle leaf" carpet, Kirman, 17th century.

Source: By anonymous - Sotheby’s, public domain, link

The Persian carpet, which was auctioned off by the New York auction house Sotheby’s, dates from the first half of the 17th century and is 2.7 x 2 meters in size. It is adorned with a golden sickle leaf pattern on a red background, surrounded by a blue border. It was presumed to have been made in Kerman, in southeastern Iran.

Originally taken over from the possession of the collector and namesake William A. Clark, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington finally put the special piece up for auction and achieved an all-time record price. The "Clark Sickle Leaf Carpet”Is the most expensive carpet that has ever been auctioned. But not only that: it is also the most expensive Islamic work of art ever to be auctioned, and thus holds two world records.

The Bayeux Tapestry

The world famous is the undisputed number one Bayeux Tapestry. A tapestry from the Middle Ages that is still on display in the city of Bayeux in Normandy today and is of inestimable historical value.

Source: Von Myrabella - own work, public domain, link

The carpet from 1070 is almost 70 (!) Meters long and around 50 centimeters wide. In terms of motif, he tells in various picture episodes with brief explanatory text about how Wilhelm, Duke of the Normans, became King of England. The period of this reporting is approximately one year. Since very few people were able to read in the Middle Ages, the motifs on the carpet are almost self-explanatory.

The carpet is not knotted, but woven from linen. The motifs were embroidered by nuns with dyed, colorful wool threads - strictly speaking, the Bayeux Tapestry is not a carpet at all, at least not as we understand it today. It is estimated that several nuns worked on the carpet at the same time for a total of around 10 years.

Unfortunately, time has not left this work of art without a trace: around 69 meters of carpet have been preserved to this day. Originally, however, the carpet is said to have been even longer than 70 meters. The closing scenes are missing.

It is not clear who commissioned this work. It is assumed, however, that Bishop Odo von Bayeaux, Duke Wilhelm's half-brother, instructed the production. Because he himself is depicted several times, in particularly concise places, on the carpet. It can also be assumed that the carpet was not intended for the Bayeux Cathedral, but rather for the presentation in the hall of a noble residence, such as the one Odo had it built in Bayeux at the time.

Source: Von Myrabella - own work, public domain, link

Its remarkable, incomparable quality makes that Bayeux Tapestry one of the most important pictorial monuments of the High Middle Ages. The people of today benefit from detailed depictions of the medieval way of life, which can give a lot of information about the conditions at that time.

The carpet has been exhibited in a specially built museum since 1982. Since 2007 it has also been part of the UNESCO World Document Heritage, which once again makes its enormously high cultural value particularly clear.

We hope this small ranking has entertained you - at least we had a lot of fun. Nice side effect: From now on you can score with real show-off knowledge about carpets. Amazed faces guaranteed!

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