Dallas isn’t just about a great football team, urban cowboys and gushing oil wells. Hidden like a glistening pearl inside an unopened oyster, the Dallas Design District is an interior designer’s ultimate dream venue offering dazzling art galleries, fascinating antique shops and stunning showrooms featuring upscale home furnishings reflecting every style and taste imaginable. As the leading antique rug company in Dallas, Esmaili is proud to be a member of this vibrant community of interior design, art and antique enthusiasts who know they can find exactly what they need or hope to find in the Dallas Design District.
In 1908, the Trinity River flooded downtown Dallas, leaving over 4000 people homeless and more than two million dollars in damage ($65 million if it were to happen today). City managers realized afterwards they needed to develop a permanent solution to prevent this catastrophe from happening again. Eventually, rerouting of the Trinity River supported by construction of a levee began in the late 1920s. A group calling themselves the Industrial Properties Association believed they could trigger a booming real estate business by dividing former floodway land among themselves.
Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression delayed their prospects until after World War II, when investments and people poured into Dallas. With its freewheeling approach to business, Dallas and the Industrial Properties Association attracted the attention of Trammel Crow, a grain salesman who began establishing warehouses on land acquired from the IPA. Unprecedented demand for single-story warehouses lured owners out of crumbling, multistory warehouses, which contributed to the construction of the Stemmons Corridor and a rapid increase in commerce activity.
The swinging 60s and its embrace of postmodern/pop art brought a steady influx of interior designer studios, antique stores and furniture showrooms to the Dallas Design District, transforming warehouses into spectacularly successful shops. Today, the District is enjoying a colorful renaissance with five-star restaurants, charming boutiques, entertainment venues and upscale condo buildings augmenting its stellar reputation for having one of the world's the best selection of antique, vintage and modern rugs, furniture and other global goods available.
Any interior designers visiting the Dallas Design District might be rightfully overwhelmed with options. While navigating the neighborhood, here are some of the standout businesses we recommend:
Although the Dallas Design District is home to several antique rug sellers, Esmaili is considered the premier antique rug collector in Dallas because of his dedication and insight into finding the most gorgeous Oriental rugs overseas and bringing them back to Dallas personally. Located on 1500 Hi Line Drive, Esmaili's Rugs and Antiques is the first place interior designers and rug enthusiasts stop by when visiting the Dallas Design District. With a selection of antique, vintage and modern Turkish, Persian, Moroccan and European rugs, Esmaili's is as much a part of this vibrant, exciting district as those first warehouses were almost a century ago.
Visit the Dallas Design District today to experience a delightfully different, creatively inspirational world full of many things to see and do. For more information about our inventory or for assistance with finding the best interior design shops, please call us at (214) 651-7847.
For those of us working in the antique rug world, the differences among Persian, Oriental, Moroccan, Turkish and kilim rugs are obvious, just as it’s obvious whether we’re standing on a factory-made, Oriental-style area rug or an authentic, antique Persian rug.
For the average person, though, such differences aren’t so obvious. But the weavers who produced fine Persian and other antique rugs tell their stories in every stitch. When you understand how to “read” the symbols and patterns in these rugs, you can connect with the weaver’s story, as well as that of his or her community and society. In fact, some rug experts can determine a rug’s city and country, or even the district, of origin, and the symbols and patterns found reveal historical insights about those places.
To help you understand the symbolism in antique rugs, we’ve put together this guide to the many symbols, motifs and designs found in rugs. When you can read and interpret an assortment of rugs, it’s likely that one of them will speak to you.
A rug design is comprised of several components, so let’s first define those:
Typically, rugs will consist of all-over patterns, known as motifs, or they will contain a central medallion around which the rest of the rug is designed.
Now let’s talk about the various places from which our rugs originated. The term “Oriental rug” is ubiquitous, and it’s often used to refer to rugs that may or may not hail from the Orient. Esmaili Rugs & Antiques features stunning Oriental, Persian and other antique rugs, but each region produces distinctive rugs with its own unique traits.
ORIENTAL OR PERSIAN?
Persian rugs — considered the grande dame, the queen mother, the standard by which other rugs are measured — are Oriental, though not all Oriental rugs are Persian.
The term “Oriental rugs” applies to those rugs produced in Asia, in the region spanning from India through the Middle East and into China. Oriental carpets may hail from Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Turkey, China or Iran; however, no rug is considered Persian unless it was produced in Iran. Authentic Oriental rugs are hand-knotted.
Colors play a major role in conveying the story of a rug. Green, for instance, is the color of the Prophet Mohammed, and it is used sparingly, as it is least likely to be stepped on. It represents hope, renewal, spring and life. Others are as follows:
Red: wealth, courage, beauty, luck, joy or faith
White: purity and cleanliness
Blue: the afterlife, solitude and truth
Black: mourning or destruction
Yellow: power and glory, joy, the sun
Orange: devotion, piety, humility
Symbols in Oriental rugs can be found in various iterations in rugs from many locations, including Persian, Turkish, Indian and others. The primary symbols include:
What makes a Persian rug the finest of them all? Put simply, they are some of the most complex and labor-intensive handmade items in the world, and they have been made the same way dating back to ages BC. They are produced by nomads, shepherds from the Quashqui and Bakhtiari tribes, whose approximately 1.6 million sheep graze on the green slopes of Iran’s Fars Province, which is considered the homeland of Persia. Their wool, comprised of long, tough fibers and shorn only once each year, is ideal for carpet-making and makes these rugs exceedingly durable and long-lasting. The fibers are twisted into threads by the hands of tribal women, then they are colored with dyes made from natural ingredients such as pomegranate, turmeric, acorn shells or green leaves, which are boiled in huge pots with the threads. Once dried, the threads are woven on looms using a trademark single looping knot.
Symbolism in Persian rugs is passed down from generation to generation, and these designs are considered trademarks. They include dense, all-over patterns; rich, striking colors (especially red); and medallion motifs. Each style of Persian rug is named for the town or province in which it was made, and each has distinguishing features. The symbols often were believed to protect the rug’s owner from misfortune. The symbols in Persian rugs may represent historical monuments, scenes from daily life, Islamic buildings, weeping willows or other trees and religious imagery such as the Tree of Life or the Garden of Paradise.
Persian rugs in particular tend to feature four distinct all-over patterns, or motifs. These are:
Turkish rugs have been highly prized since the 13th century and are considered glorious, collectible works of art. Despite being handmade by nomadic tribes and mountain-dwellers, the rugs’ artistry, luxurious texture and ornate styling bespeak the opulence and wealth of the Ottoman empire. Palaces during the Ottoman reign were heavily laden with luxurious commissioned rugs.
Each rug usually was accompanied by a miniature version called a yastik, which would originally have been folded to make a sort of pillow or draped over sofas to decorate a living room. Trademark Turkish styles feature geometric shapes, clean designs and saturated colors.
There are many different types of Turkish rugs, with each type featuring its own texture and design and representing a specific time and place:
Interestingly, the human figure is considered sacrilegious and therefore is rarely seen on Turkish rugs and kilims. They may be used to remember a departed family member, however.
Typical symbols in Turkish rugs include:
The most common motifs found in kilims, or prayer rugs, come in four categories: life and its protection, beliefs, animals and plants. The symbols that align with these motifs are as follows:
Hailing from the land of white desert dunes, colorful marketplaces filled with exotic wares and caravans pulled by camels, Moroccan rugs speak to us of a rich and fascinating culture. Those also originating from an Islamic culture, Moroccan rugs tell of their African heritage and climate through chaotic colors, native textures and bold designs. Dating back only to the 20th century, Moroccan rugs feature more contemporary designs than their Oriental counterparts. Though some can be found with flat weave, Berber is the distinctive style of Moroccan rugs, both in shaggy, high-pile rugs developed by those looking for warmth and comfort in the snowy Atlas Mountains, or thin, cool Berber rugs of the Sahara made by those seeking relief from relentless heat. And because the Ben Ourain and Berber Tribe rug-makers were semi-nomadic, their rugs and looms had to be easily transported, which is why few Moroccan rugs surpass seven feet in width.
This contrast in climates and cultures can be found in their designs, with the symbols in Moroccan rugs featuring images of mountains and countrysides as well as those of urban environments, with their crisp geometry and religious monuments.
Rugs are a form of storytelling in Morocco, and each is designed to protect the human spirit and shelter the body from the elements. The colors of Berber tell a tale as well, with red symbolizing strength and protection, blue indicating wisdom, yellow representing eternity and green symbolizing peace.
Typical symbolism in Moroccan rugs includes:
As you can see, the symbols, motifs and arrangements of Oriental rugs can weave a rich tapestry of stories and the long-ago dreams of the people who made them. This, combined with the durability, quality and uniqueness of each rug means that it will continue to add value to your home for many years.
The knowledgeable consultants at Esmaili Rugs & Antiques are happy to speak with you about the story of any rug that captures your interest.
Decorating with antique rugs is the latest trend to excite interior decorators and their customers seeking unique alternatives to one-dimensional décor concepts. What is so remarkable about richly colored and exotically designed antique rugs is their ability to blend seamlessly with nearly any type of décor — from minimal to eclectic to post-modern chic. For example, Oriental and kilim rugs represent the embodiment of eclecticism, with their bold patterns and compelling blend of earthy hues. They would look gorgeous laid over wood or marble floors or over sisal-type rugs and carpet. Neutral rooms, or rooms exhibiting one or two shades of quiet pastels, would also welcome Oriental rugs that offer the perfect amount of flare, color and personality.
Vital to successfully decorating with antique rugs is knowing how to anchor them within a certain space before adding accessories. Once you have the antique rug you prefer situated in a room, you can build off the colors, designs and textures of the rug by accessorizing with modern art pieces and furniture that extract the beauty of the rug.
Timeless and versatile, antique rugs offer the ability to unify disparate features of any type of décor due to their inherently centralized compositions. Providing a decorative base essential to optimizing specific interior design principles, antique rugs embody both modern and historical elements of balance, harmony and beauty.
If you want to incorporate antique rugs with modern décor, Oriental and Persian rugs can help soften those overly defined lines associated with minimalism and post-modernism. For example, you might consider pairing an antique Persian rug, with its pastel hues and detailed arabesques, with the naturalism of Impressionist artwork. Persian rugs harmonize well with paintings from this period, especially when surrounded by modern or even eclectic-style décor.
Adding Persian carpets to spacious rooms also serves to enhance aesthetic values while making areas more cozy and inviting. With their saturated hues and intricately realized spirals, paisleys, flowers and medallions, Persian carpets are a top choice of high-end interior designers seeking ways to enrich and centralize rooms with extra space.
Decorating with antique rugs can be fun, exciting and inspiring, leading to originality and freshness of ideas when re-inventing or reinvigorating a room’s ambience. Esmaili’s Rugs and Antiques offers thousands of antique and vintage rugs to address all your decorating desires, from Oriental and Persian to Middle Eastern and Native American rugs. If you have specific décor ideas you wish to complete and would like professional assistance in realizing your plans, please call us today at (214) 651-7847.
Even if you’ve already purchased a couple antique rugs, there’s still a lot to learn about how to buy antique rugs online. Here is a sampling of frequently asked questions we receive from clients about buying an antique rug:
For a rug to be classified as an antique, it must have been made at least 80 years ago. Other items like paintings, sculptures, furniture and collectibles must be at least 100 years old to be considered antiques. Since rugs are typically walked on, it is expected that rugs suffer more wear and tear than other antique items. Consequently, an 80 to 100 year old rug in fair to good condition is indeed a rarity.
Not necessarily. Condition of the rug, its origin and the number of similar rugs known to exist will affect its price more than its size or shape. In fact, a 5’ x 8’ antique rug sold for $10 million recently at Christie’s in London.
Cash value amounts indicate what the dealer would agree to pay for the rug today. An auction value is the amount an auction house would be willing to reserve the rug for (i.e., the minimum price a rug needs to be sold for before the auction house sells it). The fair retail market value is the price you would pay if you were to find that rug for sale in a store. Finally, replacement values are established for insurance purposes if your antique rug were to be lost or stolen.
This is an entirely subjective decision that depends on the person buying the rug. However, certain repairs, such as frayed edges and worn spots, are necessary to keep the rug’s integrity intact. Professional antique rug collectors like Esmaili who personally selects rugs for inclusion in his inventory will make repairs essential to supporting the soundness and value of his rugs before selling them.
Located in the Dallas Design District, Esmaili Rugs and Antiques is first choice of many high-end interior designers, leading architects, antique rug collectors and rug enthusiasts searching for beautiful, exotic and rare works of rug art. A multi-million dollar business serving a variety of clients across the globe, Esmaili’s Rugs looks forward to giving each customer the kind of attentive, personalized service they would expect from a world-class, antique rug business.
Call us today to learn more about our online antique rug collection at (214) 651-7847
Just like centuries-old, fine oil paintings, antique rugs also suffer from the ravages of time. While a Rembrandt or Monet often develops a yellowish, dulling layer of dirt and oxidation after years of being displayed in museums, antique rugs experience signs of deterioration that are, fortunately, reversible.
At Esmaili’s Rugs & Antiques, restoring an antique rug is just one of our many specialties supported by the experience and knowledge we have accumulated over the past three decades. Our antique rug restoration experts consider each rug a valuable, precious work of art, deserving of the most professional rug-cleaning techniques available in the industry. In addition, we provide every client with superior service from the time we pick up your rug until you’ve got your restored rug safely back in your possession.
Reasons antique rugs need restoration include:
Visually examining your antique rug by spreading the rug’s pile apart often reveals unseen deposits of debris abrading the carpet’s foundation. Look carefully for dirt particles at the base of the knots as well as along the weft and warp. Since typical rug-cleaning methods will not remove such deeply embedded dirt, we use harmonic vibration equipment to clean your antique rug safely and effectively.
Dry rot frequently affects older textiles made of cellulosic fibers like cotton, jute or flax. It is a slow but progressive weakening and deterioration of antique rug fibers that can cause irreversible damage unless professionally restored. Dry rot occurs over time when the rug has remained subjected to moisture without being allowed to dry out completely.
Natural fibers used to weave antique rugs exhibit remarkable properties that require special restoration and cleaning procedures implemented by true professionals. Esmaili’s rug restoration team begins addressing each rug’s unique needs by:
Reconstructing and binding the rug fringes to prevent unraveling. We are dedicated to providing you with the best information possible so you can make informed decisions about restoring an antique rug. We offer free assessments of antique rugs needing repair, cleaning and/or restoration. Our rug assessments include detailed explanations of repair and restoration options available, as well as free pricing estimates. To continue enjoying the beauty of your antique rugs for many years to come, please contact us today by calling 214-651-7847.
Although antique rugs created from natural materials represent some of strongest and most durable textiles ever created, they still require meticulous, loving care to maintain them in their current condition. Here is a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to help you take excellent care of your antique or vintage rugs: