We received a call from an existing client in London who has a collection of very fine Oriental carpets and rugs that we have cleaned and repaired in the past.
This particular blog is regarding the finest of the clients collection – a pure silk Qum Persian rug (Iran). The piece had been shipped to the UK from Singapore where our client previously lived. It had been in storage for some time. When the wrapping that the rug was transported in was removed, the piece was in a really sorry state. It would appear that the varying temperatures which the piece had been stored in, had caused the piece to become incredibly brittle. In our opinion the piece had probably been exposed to humid and damp temperatures, then in exceptionally warm and dry climates within a shirt space of time. This caused the rug to dry out and crack in many places and left it requiring extensive hand cleaning and repair.
As you can see from the images, the piece had become so brittle that it cracked in many places, splitting the sides open. The fringes of the rug, silk in their composition, were so dry, that they simply broke off when touched (we have tried to show you this in the images). The first thing we had to do was secure the worst areas from getting any worse. This meant slowly applying moisture back into the foundations of the rug. As it is an extremely fine Persian rug and has a very high knot count, this was a slow and delicate process using steam and moisture control to allow our specialist rug repair team to finally begin to work on the piece with needle and silk.
We secured the splits, applying new silks to the worst areas – building small hand looms around each section, re-weaving the foundations and re-knotting the areas that needed built back up. The knots applied were exactly the same as they would have been when this piece was originally knotted – using the same techniques and the same design as it would have on its original loom.
The fringes were so badly damaged that re-building them may have been detrimental to the piece – so we discussed this with our client, who opted to remove the fringes entirely, reducing the knots down to where they were more secure and the base was more stable.
Once the re-weaving and specialist repair had been conducted, we hand cleaned the Persian Qum rug once last time. We always professionally hand clean our rugs before and after restoration. When one applies new wools or silks to an old oriental rug, it can seem obvious in areas where the new wools have a little more shine than the existing. After a final wash, the colours blend much better together and the piece will aesthetically look far more even.
We returned the Persian silk Qum rug back to the client, who has opted, due to the fragile nature of the piece, to mount it and hand it on a wall. It goes without saying, our client was delighted with outcome.
Another fine Persian rug treated with the professional and specialist attention it deserves. Many thanks to Mrs A once again. Below are some further images of the restoration, before and after.