When people think of Persian rugs, I don’t think it really comes to mind that the shapes included within the weaving is sort of telling a story. The iconography is pretty distinct as well as the choices of color in the design of the rugs – this is an aside from the signature design dialects which vary from region to region in the Middle East and adjoining producer areas.
It’s kind of like the allegory one can find in Renaissance/Romantic painting. What saddens me a bit is that I know that this carefully woven-in information is, by and large, lost on most of the viewers of such things. Perhaps it’s that we’ve moved past this sort of story telling?
Then I happened upon these new rugs from Florian Pucher & Sophia Liu Bo which are woven depictions of aerial-view geographic land features.
The color blocks are described by land usage of farmers or bisected by street patterns. My thought about these visually interesting rugs is that perhaps we’re actually seeing a change in our iconographies, in our visual story telling. It would be nice to think that there were certain weavers who live in the country who’d produce works that would reflect their locality and still others that would make rugs reflective of their cities, but obviously, these come from one source.
I think they’re still rather invigorating iconographically – perhaps these rugs then describe the owners’ interest rather than the maker’s? I suppose back in the days before mass-market carpet manufacture, a Persian rug was created for a specific person. I think I recall that they were created for special events and given to the lucky recipients (don’t quote me on that!), thus commemorating an important time their lives and the significance compounded by a visual representation of the event woven in, like an engraving.
Maybe these rugs could be read something greater than “they look pretty” and more about something about the owner, perhaps the owner is from a rural location where the farming fields are reminiscent or what would be even better is if the process could be automated where someone could send in the local that they would like and it could be made. It would be mass customization with a bit of meaning rather than just styling. The world needs less styling (or ‘design’ as most say) and much more meaning.