Friday, June 27, 2008
A customer who has a chain and several stores in Los Angeles contacted me while ago. They are in cosmetics and beauty business. They have 1-2 hand tufted rugs with very light blue and open field background in each store which get dirty very easily. They wanted us to dye one of the rugs to blue iris as a sample before they would give us all the rug for dyeing. We did this. It was difficult because the rug was cleaned before we picked it up. Some chemicals were used to remove the stains and this made our dyeing very difficult and time consuming. The treated spots reacted differently to our dye and we had to remove the dye and let it dry before we can dye the spot again. I am enclosing few photos of the process.
Friday, June 20, 2008
We always have different types and sizes of doormats in our rug gallery on La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles. We sell them for only $2 a piece. These door mats and entrance mats are good for inside or outside of your home to keep the dirt and dust out. You may also use them in the bathroom. Our door mats are durable and washable and add character and warmth to every entrance. Wipe your feet on our sturdy doormats before you enter your home to have clean and beautiful carpets, Persian, Oriental or area rugs. You can also pair one of our quality outdoor mats with another mat indoor to provide the best protection for your floors, and carpets.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A customer had few rugs for cleaning and repair. Two of the rugs were antique Persian American Sarouk rugs damaged by her dog. When we repaired the rugs and took them to her house, she could not believe her eyes. Our repairman had done a beautiful job in matching the color, design and the construction of the knots. Her happiness made us happy.
The post I just read on www.RugRag.com reminded that story to me once again.
It was on the news last night that a Senate panel on Wednesday 06/18/2008 approved legislation to strengthen U.S. sanctions on Iran in an effort to get that country to drop its nuclear program.
The Senate Finance Committee cleared the bill to expand trade and financial sanctions 19-2, and the House of Representatives passed similar legislation last year.
Washington believes Iran harbors ambitions to build an atomic bomb, while Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.
The measure would strengthen existing U.S. sanctions by tightening the trade ban on goods to and from Iran. For example, it would no longer allow the import of Iranian carpets, caviar, and nuts to the United States.
To air my voice as an Iranian who produces and imports Persian carpets to the US, I wrote two letters while ago and sent them to the senators who are representing California in the senate. I believe that sanctioning the import of Persian carpets to the US will not harm the Iranian government and it will hurt the weavers and the people. Below, I mention my letter.
The Honorable Senator Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3553 Fax: (202) 228-1338
Dear Senator Barbara Boxer,
As a constituent, I am writing to you to express my strong concern regarding
S. 970, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, which would tighten sanctions on Iran by expanding the U.S. embargo to handmade carpets. I am Dr. Khosrow Sobhe of SOBCO international Ltd., and these handmade carpet imports from Iran are a cornerstone to my business. Enactment of S.970 would threaten SOBCO International Limited's viability and jeopardize many jobs we provide in the State of California.
Iranian carpets are a handicraft product woven by skilled craftsmen in patterns traditional to Persia. They cannot be obtained elsewhere or replaced by trade with other countries because of their unique quality and design elements. The weaving and export of these carpets to the U.S. market in no way benefits the Government of Iran. To the contrary, they provide livelihoods that help sustain hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and craftswomen who often work in the poorest regions of Iran with no alternative job skills. It was for this very reason that President Clinton in 2000 lifted the embargo on carpets that had been in place since 1987. He did it wisely for the people, not for the Iranian Government.
It is also important to note that when these carpets were subject to the embargo, an underground market evolved, benefiting illegal front operations that hurt both the artisans in Iran and companies like ours, that would not participate and therefore lost sales. Today, Iranian carpets account for (describe extent of commerce with Iran) of my business, and being able to offer them to our customers is essential to my livelihood.
Reinstating the embargo on Iranian carpets, however, will not achieve the purpose of putting pressure on the Iranian government. I believe that the U.S. sanctions efforts should not serve to antagonize the Iranian people who we hope to encourage reform Iran from within. I urge you to oppose language in this bill to extend the import ban to Iranian carpets. We must preserve the President’s authority to exempt items from the embargo at his discretion as appropriate.
Dr. Khosrow Sobhe
Award Winning Producer &
Importer of Persian Rugs
SOBCO International Ltd.
1655 South La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Tel. 310-770-9085 Fax 310-860-0462
Saturday, June 14, 2008
It was Saturday today here in Los Angeles. I received a phone call early morning from Baghdad, Iraq from a US army personnel who was going to come home in a few days. He would like to buy a silk Qum Persian rug from Baghdad and he wanted to get some information about this kind of rug and its price. The design as he mentioned is the dome design, which is inspired by the inside ceilings of mosques, which typically feature colorful and star shaped ceilings. Dome is the synonymous for Gonbad in Farsi. This design is made after the interior design of the Sheikh Lotfofflah Mosque in Isfahan. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque was an architectural masterpieces of Safavid era built in 1615 by the order of Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty in Isfahan, Iran. The mosque was dedicated to Sheikh Lotfollah, a preacher who was the Shah Abbas' father-in-law.
I asked this army personnel to e-mail me few pictures from the rug, back and face and from the signature of the weaver and told him first, he should be concerned with the good condition of the rug and whether the rug is a genuine Persian rug or a fake one. Then we should be concerned about the price. He said he could e-mail me the photos in one day and I said I would get back to him immediately after I receive the pictures.
This gentleman had googled information about silk Persian rug and had found my rug blog and then my web site. Isn't this interesting and fun. This gives me more incentive to write on rugs in my blog!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Mr. Akbar Herischian, president of the Iranian Carpet Exporters' Association is in Los Angeles. He came to visit me around 12:pm today in my rug gallery. We chatted and talked about the matters of mutual interests, mostly Persian carpets. Although I live in Los Angeles, but I am still a member of the Board. We have more than 500 members in the association which is based in Tehran. The association publishes a quarterly called the "Iranian Hand Woven Carpet". I am the editor in chief of this magazine.
in the photo, I am in dark brown suit with yellow tie.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Leroy D. Baca
Sheriff, Los Angeles County and A Kashan Rug
Last night, we had a wonderful Summer Party in the Camden House restaurant in Beverly Hills. The event was sponsored by the Coalition of the Iranian Entrepreneurs, which serves as the Iranian-American chamber of commerce in Los Angeles. There was plenty of Persian food, music and raffles. I had provided a very fine Kashan rug, 3 x 5 foot to be given away by raffle. Sheriff Leroy Baca of the Los Angeles county was the guest of honor and the keynote speaker for the evening. He talked about security and safety. He delivered a very fine speech and talked about his early experiences with Persian culture.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca was born in East Los Angeles on May 27, 1942. Believing strongly in education, Sheriff Baca continued his studies. In 1993 Sheriff Baca graduated from the University of Southern California with a Doctorate of Public Administration. He is a life member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi - USC Chapter.On December 7, 1998, Sheriff Baca was sworn in as Los Angeles County's 30th Sheriff, having been elected by the citizens of Los Angeles County. Sheriff Baca commands the largest Sheriff's Department in the world and supervises more than 13,000 sworn and civilian personnel.
The University of Southern California, USC is my university. I got my second master's degree and my Ph.D. from this fine school. So Sheriff Baca and I are both TROJANS!
Every body enjoyed the speech, Persian food and the music. The event started at 6:00 pm and ended around 11:00 pm.
Chris de Burgh and Persian Rugs/Carpets
Chris de Burgh (born Christopher John Davison on October 15, 1948) is an Argentinean-born musician and songwriter who holds British nationality and who currently resides in Ireland. A rocker who writes a variety of mixed instrumental material, Chris de Burgh had huge success in Ireland, Britain and the United States with the 1986 hit "The Lady in Red". He is planning to take a trip to
-Do you know how popular you are among Iranian people?
I am aware of my popularity in
-Answering to one of your Iranian fans, you said about the 100 years old Isfahan Carpets which you have in your home. How did you get them and what makes you being interested in them?
I have a friend in
-Are you familiar with Iranian culture and art? What about Iranian music?
I don’t know much about Iranian music but I do know about Iranian art and its important contribution to world culture.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
On Saturday June 7th, I attended a very fine and interesting lecture called the "Blue" delivered by Lee Talbot of the Textile Museum of Washington D.C. here in Los Angeles. It was held in the Sotheby's building in Beverly Hills and the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California TMASC was one of the organizers of this event. It started at 10:30 am on Saturday morning with refreshments followed by the power point presentation. Originally, another program was planned to be presented by Mr. Daniel Walker, the Director of the Textile Museum on Mughal Carpets of India. Because of unexpected circumstances, Mr. Walker could not make it and Lee Talbot filled his place with another topic, the Blue.
Cheri Hunter, the past president and present program chair of TMASC introduced the speaker. Lee Talbot presented the materials and the slides in a very relaxed and friendly way without reading his notes. He maintained a very good eye contact with the audience of roughly 100 people. This lecture was the subject of a similar exhibition in Textile Museum which started on April 4, 2008. It will last until September 18, 2008.
The speaker talked about 4,000 years of history behind using indigo plant as a dye stuff in Egypt, India, Prue, and China. He mentioned that it was in 1897 when the synthetic indigo was introduced and people started to use it for textiles and rugs because it was cheaper and easier to dye the wool, cotton and linen with it compared with the natural indigo. Mr. Talbot then introduced few artists who have done enormous work with indigo and mentioned some names such as Hiroyuki Shindo (from Japan), Rowland Ricketts ( from America), Eduardo Portillo and Maria Eugenia (from Venezuela) and Mary Lance who is making a documentary on indigo.
The program finished around 12:00 pm followed by a 15 minutes question and answer session. It was very educational,informative and fun. I also met many good friends there. Many of us met again later in the afternoon in our society's Patron event in the house of the president of the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California, David Ruderman. He gave us a tour of his collection including beautiful rugs and textiles. I should thank him and his wife Cindy for hosting us.
Friday, June 6, 2008
A SILK ISFAHAN RUG
Central Persia, Circa 1600
Approximately 7 ft. 7 in. x 5 ft. 7 in. (231 cm. x 170 cm.)
PROPERTY FROM THE DORIS DUKE COLLECTION AND THE NEWPORT RESTORATION FOUNDATION (LOTS 31-41)
From Kouchakji Frères, New York
Mrs. Rainey Rogers, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 18-20 November 1943, lot 407
Anonymous, Sothebys New York, 8 December 1990, lot 54
The Art News, New York, June 14, 1930, title page
Diamond, M. S., Loan Exhibition of Persian Rugs of the so-called Polish Type, New York, 1930, no. 15, plate 1
McCleary, William H., Polish Rugs from Persia, The Antiquarian, XV, 1930, p. 62
Pope, A. U., A Survey of Persian Art, London and New York, 1939, vol. III, pp. 2397-9 and illustrated in color, vol. VI, pl. 1261
Spuhler, Friedrich, Seidene Reprasentationsteppiche der mittleren bis spaten Safwiden Seit-Die soq. Polenteppiche,
Berlin, 1968, no. 141
Warp: silk, ivory, Z2S, alternate warp strongly depressed
Weft: silk, ivory, 1 strand of unspun silk, 3 shoots
Pile: silk, asymmetrical knot open to the left
Density: 24-26 horizontal, 33-37 vertical per sq. in.
Sides: silk, 1 cord of 2 warps each, overcast in wine Ends: Incomplete
Colors: citrine, cashew, taupe, indigo, sand, cornflower, teal, mushroom, pale to deep raspberry, celery, cranberry, tumeric, pale aqua, balsam green, peacock blue, acorn, black (17)
This luminescent Isfahan rug is a magnificent example of the apex of Safavid art during the reign of Shah Abbas (1587 - 1629). It is remarkable not only for its luminescent beauty, but also for its intricate design and construction. Noted scholars Arthur Upham Pope and Phyllis Ackerman included the rug, then in the collection of Grace Rainey Rogers, in their seminal work, A Survey of Persian Art written in 1930. Pope wrote eloquently and poetically in detail about this rug commenting "Nothing further in the way of refinement, imagination, perfection of technique, or infinite charm of colour was produced in this period" (Pope and Ackerman, p. 2397).
The use of silk for both the warps and the wefts allows for an intricate and graceful double system of scrolling arabesque vinery and tendrils. The central medallion is very subtle allowing the rug at first glance to read as an overall infinite trellis design. If the center medallion were in its original condition it would probably have the effect of a blossom or lily pad floating on a pool. The variety of blossoms, leaves and vines make for dynamism unparalleled in carpets of this period. In addition to blossoms, Pope notes "half invisible cloudbands flutter in and out with random grace" (p. 2398). The border is equally as elegant. The spiral arabesques terminating in split-leaf tendrils are overlapped by refined and unusual "pin-wheel" rosettes. Corner resolution, often difficult with a complicated design, is handled with finesse creating a robust flow to the border.
The range of colors used here is far more expansive and harmonious than is usually seen in carpets of this period. Many of the colors belong to the yellow spectrum producing an overall subtlety that is countered by the boldness of the darker shades of emerald green, dark brown and scarlet red as well as the high notes of white and light blue. As Pope concludes: "the mellow golden glow that emanatesis no accident but the result of exceptionally careful planning, a remarkable blending of tonal effect, the whole guided by perfect taste." (p. 2398).
When sold in 1990, this rug was catalogued as Kashan, but current opinion considers it to have been woven in Isfahan, established as the capital in . Although our example is reminiscent of the small silk Kashan group from the 16th century in terms of draftsmanship, the overall tonality and design are more reminiscent of the "Polonaise" group of carpets which are securely attributed to Isfahan.
However, the present rug is far finer and more exquisitely drawn than almost all "Polonaise" examples suggesting an earlier date for this Isfahan rug. Michael Franses asserts in his article Earthsong (www.hali.com, 14 December 2007) that this rug, along with the Liechtenstein and the Czartoryski Isfahans (Pope and Ackerman, pls. 1242 and 1243), form a group that is the prototype of cotton-warped 'Polonaise' rugs. All three have a two-plane system of arabesque and tendril vinery; however, our rug is a departure from the other two in relation to construction. Whereas the Czartoryski and Liechtenstein examples are silk pile on a metal-thread ground, the Isfahan offered here is made completely of fine silk. Because of this salient difference, ours seems more delicate and refined in drawing and execution. It can be further suggested that this small group acts as the link between the earlier 16th century silk Kashan and the typical Isfahan 'Polonaise' rugs. For an example of a small silk Kashan now in the Al-Thani Collection in Doha, please see The Collection of The Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild, Christie's London, 8 July 1999, lot 190.
It is not difficult to imagine that because of the finesse of weave, delicacy of design, subtlety of color and overall harmonious balance this rug was originally intended for a dignitary or as a diplomatic gift. The rug continued to maintain an esteemed provenance residing in the collection of Grace Rainey Rogers, Hagop Kevorkian and most recently, Doris Duke and The Newport Restoration Foundation.
There is no question that this is a masterpiece of Safavid art. The rarity together with the exquisite drawing and variation of a single tonality make this one of the most elegant and compelling rugs of the Shah Abbas period.
I did not want to use this post for any other topic than thanking the very fine readers of my blog, from whom I hear very much. Thank you for your support.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
This young Persian film maker wants to make a film about the lives of the Persian rug dealers here in the U.S. He does not want to focus on Persian carpets. He had some original ideas and I provided him with some materials. He seemed pretty enthusiastic about the subject. We are supposed to meet again and talk about the matter in more detail.
Few days ago, a customer walked into my rug gallery. We talked about several different rug related topics. I showed him a very old Persian kerman runner made between 1885 to 1890 by the order of Castelli Brothers, two Italian bothers from Venice. This customer said that he has a rug with the same signature. I suspiciously asked him about the rug and how he had acquired that rug. He said that he bought the rug many years ago in Paris. I showed interest to see this rug. We fixed the time and I went to this customer's home last evening. Yes. The rug was there in a perfect condition. It was framed. The size was 200 x 130 cm. He does not want to sell this beautiful masterpiece.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I believe the first step to survival as a rug dealer is not to lose hope. The minute we lose hope and yield, we lose the battle. Second, in a difficult time like this, we have to work harder and smarter. People (read customers) can realize and appreciate you knowledge and expertise and if this is accompanied by good will and satisfactory services provided to the customers, they will appreciate it and this will pay off in the mid and long run. Treating my customers seriously with respect and care and establishing good relationship with them has paid off for me. I try to become friends with my customers and I enjoy this.
I received a phone call from a customer who lived in Glendale, a city up to the north east of Los Angeles, 20 miles away from my rug gallery. This young lady had several old Persian rugs. She needed appraisal, cleaning and repair for all of them. When I went to her house on Sunday evening at 6:00 pm and measured each rug and gave her estimate for the rug appraisal, rug cleaning and repair, she said that she had no money and could not afford to go ahead with all that. She also said that she had thought I could do the appraisal in her house for free. I was about to lose my temper and my patience. But I controlled myself and told her politely how would it be possible for some one to drive 20 miles to your house on a Sunday evening to appraise several rugs for you for free and return home and drive back another 20 miles?!
After I gave her my professional advice on what to do, she agreed to appraise two of the pieces and give me one piece for cleaning. Her total invoice became $230. It was not that great, but at least this made her happy and I did not return empty handed, and I am sure she will give me more business in the near future after her financial situation improves.
I have noticed that most of my customers who buy rugs from me, area, Persian, or Oriental rugs, would prefer to buy traditional or classic design rugs. I have not been that successful to sell rugs in modern or transitional designs. I do not have a good reason for this, but I can guess that traditional designs are never out of market, while those designs which come with fashion and trend, will go by the change of the fashion. On the other hand, many people are used to traditional rug designs, so when they come to my rug gallery on 1655 South La Cienega Blvd, in Los Angeles, they look for a familiar design.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Few weeks ago a repeat customer brought in a badly moth damaged Balouch rug. I told him that the Balouch rug was not worth that much, but he wanted us to give him an estimate for the repair. After we reached an agreement on the price and he paid a deposit, we gave the piece to one of our rug repairmen to work on it. The rug was ready last week and we informed the customer to pick it up. When he came to pick up his rug yesterday, he could not believe how this Persian hand knotted Balouch rug was repaired and restored! He was happy with the job. We did not make that much money on this job sine the customer was so concerned about the price and we did not want to lose him and the job. But his satisfaction with the quality of the job made us happy.
On may 28, 2008 I posted couple of photos from a gas station in Beverly Hills. The Premium gas price was $4.76 which I thought was very high. I happened to pass by that gas station again yesterday. The Premium gas price was $497!!! That is unbelievable!! Soaring gas prices is decreasing the purchasing power of the people and this has effected our rug market severely here in Los Angeles. Our rug cleaning and repair market is also effected by this lowering purchasing power of the people.