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Gift Books for Lovers of Oriental Carpets

Holiday gifts for the handwoven carpet lover may be a carpet — or a book about carpets. In such a specialized field, books may be difficult to find. We searched for books that can be ordered today online. Here are a few of our favorites:

Rugs to Riches: An Insider’s Guide to Buying Oriental Rugs is by Caroline Bosly, one of the foremost rug brokers in the world. The book is a lively, practical guide for learning the dos and don’ts of selecting handmade oriental rugs. The author describes types and origins of rugs and details the pros and cons of buying new vs. antique carpets. Rugs to Riches explains how to determine if a rug is handmade and if it has been altered in any way, how to evaluate a rug’s condition, and how to decorate with oriental rugs to keep them clean and in good repair. The book is available through Amazon.com.

Oriental Rugs Today by Emmett Eiland is the first book exclusively devoted to newly created carpets. Topics include dyes and finishes, a description of styles by country, and examples from every major contemporary source. The book profiles artisans who revived the use of handspun wool and natural dyes. It is written for both the professional and the untutored curious. One hundred color photographs make an esoteric subject understandable, approachable, and a delight to leaf through and study. The book is available through Amazon.com.

Oriental Carpet Design: A Guide to Traditional Motifs, Patterns and Symbols by P.R.J. Ford is a comprehensive survey that explains how to recognize the different features of oriental rugs and carpets. The book describes cultural backgrounds as well as the differences and similarities among carpet weaving areas. The book has 800 illustrations and photographs, 400 in color, and descriptions of key characteristics―materials, construction, colors, sizes―plus clues that establish a carpet’s origins. The author provides a balanced appraisal of the qualities of carpets from their origins: towns, villages, and tribal areas. This invaluable reference guide has extensive cross-referencing and detailed indexes.

Carpet Review Weekly says the book is “One of the most useful books to cover the whole of the field…Mr. Ford is to be congratulated on having produced a work that should stand the test of time.” The book is available through Amazon.com.

The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets compiled and published by the University of Princeton Press details the art and craft of the handwoven carpet through 25 centuries all over the world. The book features classic sources in Persia (Iran), Anatolia (Turkey), the Caucasus, India, China, and central Asia. Each of the 600 entries includes a photo and information on the history, location, weaving period, technique, quality, design, coloration, size, and marketability of carpets on a global scale. Eight maps illustrate major weaving locations.

This clothbound, two-volume, boxed set is a pleasure to read and an important addition to libraries of people who are interested in antique carpeting. Rug News & Design says the book is “a journey of exploration from the comfort of your home.” Carpet XL reports, “It’s very appearance is impressive…the quality of the pictures…is very high…there is sure to be very little missing.”

The Encyclopedia can be ordered through University of Princeton Press.

Any of these books is a thoughtful, handsome addition to the library of a person who values oriental rugs and would like to learn more about them. If that person happens to be you, drop a few hints!

The rug experts at Landry & Arcari will be happy to answer your questions about rug selection, maintenance, and repair. They have a huge inventory to select from and are happy to weave a one-of-a-kind carpet for you or someone you would like to honor in this special way.

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