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Kashan Carpets - out of favour?
Ghex Offline
#1 Posted : Monday, May 5, 2008 11:30:48 PM(UTC)
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Hi all,

I'm fairly new at the carpet business. I have a couple of hand made carpets, including some sot of afgan-looking small runner, and a large red kashan. Now the kashan is in my family room, it's a large carpet (around 10x13). I bought it new, it was (still is, but that's not the point) in excellent condition, seemingly good wool, 144kpsi. I'm looking to buy some additional carpets (and it seems that with the help of the guys here, I'll be doing just that).

One interesting thing I came across when talking to the dealers it's the apparent dismissal of the kashans. Because I got this kashan for a pretty good price, I try to use that as a benchmark of pricing for the dealers. So, whenever I go for a dealer, I ask what price they would sell something similar to me. Everybody says they are really cheap carpets, readily available, and everybody would be able to give me a great deal on them. Of course, this is when I am interested in different carpets.

So I guess I'm trying to understand where do kashan carpets sit in the scheme of things? Are they our of fashion, cheap, easy to find, any good?

I'd be interested in your opinions on this.


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RugPro Offline
#2 Posted : Tuesday, May 6, 2008 4:34:16 AM(UTC)
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The Kashan question certainly is an interesting one, especially the idea of actually using one as an price indicator! Although don't use this as your only indicator. You know the old saying about mathematicians: They can figure out seemingly impossible problems... but when it comes to simple mathematics, they'll spend just as much time, and make the same amount of mistakes as the average adult. The thing is, unless someone is extremely well versed with the markets, there are will be gaps in their expertise.

The following is completely out of speculation on my part, and is not written in stone whatsoever

There was a time in the 70's where Kashan's and Ferehan Sarouks were among some of the more favorable rugs out there in the market (silk rugs aside). As with the Persian Rug market (generally) after the 70's and into the early 80's, values of rugs started dropping of significantly. However, while some Persian Rugs seemed to regain ground such as the silk Heriz, silk Tabriz and other, select Kashans do seem to have been left behind, and stayed there to some extent. After a rush such as we had in the 70's, may be people realized Kashan's may be a little more common than expected? Today, high quality Kashan's still reach fairly high values, but I think there may be something else at stake here that's pressing them down.

Reds and Blues are always a staple Persian Rug color combinations. A Red and Blue Kashan was even the carpet of choice in The Big Lebowski for audiences to identify with. The thing is that Kashan Carpets, while very ornate, seem to have fairly replaceable elements on a commercial level. For example, one Kashan a friend of mine has is in the 300 KPSI range. However, in this particular rug he has (which is not true for all), very similar design effects and appearance could be created with a lower knot count. This is not to say the identical rug can be produced, but one very, very similar. Such would be the case of a Mashad rug on eBay, which I'm guessing by size could possibly be the case? These carpets were typically woven in this unusual 10x13 size, or maybe 9'9x12'9+ or something like this.

Anyway, what I'm getting at here is (I'll be waiting for Krow to step in on this one) using a Louis Vuitton handbag as an example: A fake one vs. a real one. Someone on the market for a $2,000 original handbag would not necessarily consider purchasing the reproduction for $100. Someone in the market for a $100 repro would probably not have the means, nor necessarily care to spend $2000 on such an item. But the fact is, the high price of the $2000 bag reinforces the market for replicas, and the replicas reinforce the market for the $100 repros. The difference is handbags are like cars. People buy them for status, they buy them for attention and all that other stuff. With Oriental Rugs, the reproduction of rugs does not reinforce the "original." It's not uncommon that a *unattended* customer with a $4,000 budget may only end up spending $800. While you could easily chalk this up to the fact that the buyer is making a safer purchase of an item which takes some know how to make an informed decision, I say people have perceived values. To many customers, two very similar rugs with very different price tags look the same. In regards to bringing guests in their homes, visitors probably won't ever know how much was spent on the rug if it was a lot or a little, so why be flashy about it? The thing is it seems like Kashan rug values have found a deep rut and stayed in them. The point I'm trying to make here is designs like Kashans which are copied over, and over, and over again, don't always appreciate monetarily from the production of similar replica items. In fact, 2 summers ago, I sold a 8x10 true Kashan from the 1920's (had a very slight color run and low but even pile) for $1000 less than the new Indian version! Maybe this is the time to buy them up?

Real Kashans (and I mean real Kashan's from the 1920's) are usually of great quality. Mohtasham, Manchester and Dabir Kashans are among the more sought after, as well as Souf Kashans (which I'm not particularly fond of) and others. These rugs have not taken a tremendous hit, but the more commercially available pieces of the 20's-40's have "depreciated." Keep in mind though, there are a lot of sellers who will refuse to sell these rugs for less than they paid. I guess this helps keep prices a little more stable.

Also important to add note to is that I believe these eBay Mashad rugs are not considered Kashan's, but rather of Kashan Design.

Here's an example of a newer and cheaper "Kashan"

Here's an example of an older (and slightly worn) authentic Kashan

mosaic08 Offline
#3 Posted : Thursday, May 8, 2008 5:01:13 AM(UTC)
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....this was a very interesting post and response... so, not to hijack the post and particular carpet type, where do other mid-century "city" carpets (if i'm using this correct) fall in terms of favor w/ the general public and value? i personally love kerman and sarouk rugs, and they seem to be extremely copied or replicated rugs...does that bring down there value too??? and, to add a much more broad question, what are the current collectible rugs??? oh, and i found this rug on craigslist....what is an "Imperial Kerman" http://cnj.craigslist.org/fur/670603575.html thanks...sorry i added more questions to the post....
RugPro Offline
#4 Posted : Thursday, May 8, 2008 8:57:59 PM(UTC)
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I'm not necessarily saying that a Mashad would bring down the value of a Kashan. The important thing to remember is while an idea may or may not apply to one form of rug, it does not to another.

Basically with that last post I was thinking out loud. But what I was getting at is it seems as though while the retail market in general has slowed a bit. However, for some reason, Kashan rugs in the past seem to have fetched more money. My suspicion was not only is this indicative of a difference in taste in the market, but perhaps also due in part to the nature of many Kashan rugs in general. This is a bad generalization, however the mapping of many Kashan carpets can often be expressed in a very similar fashion with significantly less KPSI, without compromising the design.

In reality, every rug must be assessed on their own characteristics. In no way am I saying that a "replica" or a rug in the style of another rug will bring down the price of the more authentic.

What I was saying is whereas a purse has an attributable producer, this creates an understood and clear market value. A reproduction purse may look exactly like the true purse. But the fact is, rarely will a customer who is thinking about purchasing a replica ever consider purchasing the original, and the customer who is thinking about the original will almost never consider purchasing the fake. What I was surmising is that people are not informed on oriental rugs, and things are not as transparent to buyers who purchase such carpets. This being the case, it's not unusual that a customer who has a high budget may settle for the lesser of the two rugs noting differences as being nominal. That is to say, a customer could have a $4,000 budget, however opt for the $800 "replica" only because they do not see nor understand the added benefit of spending the additional $3,200. Whether or not this has some affect on how a seller may or may not lower the price of his rug is another story.

I've seen a couple of these Imperial Kermans before, but in the industry the name isn't tossed around ever really. I only recognize it because I have seen several eBay rugs with such label. In terms of Kermans at the beginning of this vintage and style of Kerman (1948-1965,70), the only real name brand which had and still has notoriety are Cyrus Crown Kermans. This craigslist rug looks to be of similar quality to the 23 ft. runner you have. I would say $75 is a pretty good deal. Be sure to check it out in person for wear though. These Kerman rugs tend to bloom easily.

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