Fine Art for the Floor

Floors >

Think expensive art is only for the wall? Think again.

A Persian carpet sold for more than $30 million, smashing the previous world record, at a Sotheby’s auction in early June.

“A rug of that age, from that area, in that condition – that’s kind of a perfect storm of things,” says Giuseppe Catanzariti, marketing and communications director of Nazmiyal Collection in New York City. “They’re among the best-made and most culturally significant of Oriental rugs.”

The Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet, decorated with flowers and vines, dates back to 17th century Persia. Its beauty and rarity, plus a renewed interest in the art form, contributed to its high price. And experts say it’s high time everyone begins appreciating carpets for their artistry and usability.

“A home without a carpet is a house,” says Sam Roksefat, partner at, based in Toronto. “Traditionally in Persian culture, this is the case, with no kidding. If it doesn’t have a carpet, it’s just your residence.”

An Oriental rug typically refers to the handmade carpets that are produced in Eastern regions such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and even Egypt, Roksefat says. A rug can take four to six months to complete; masterpieces can take years.

“The art of rug making, especially in Persia, is just an extraordinarily culturally significant practice,” Catanzariti says. Rug making is “the end all, be all, of fine craftsmanship because the tradition is so old.”

Buying a handmade Oriental carpet for your home can be pricey, but Nazmiyal gallery manager Omri Schwartz puts it into perspective: “It’s still the cheapest form of art that you can get your hands on,” he says.

While the best examples of painting will set you back millions, the best examples of rugs can be had for a few hundred thousand dollars, Schwartz says.

“Fortunately, they’re just now starting to get the appreciation they deserve as works of art,” he says.

Tags: persian rugs, floor art