Calling All Antique Rug Experts: What the What Did I Just Buy?

Thanks to everyone for your super smart rug suggestions on my last post. I followed your links and made moodboards and generally drove myself banana sandwiches trying to fit all the moving parts and variables together... do I switch this rug or sell that rug? Layer something small with seagrass or save up and spend big money to buy a big rug? Truth is, I tend to buy antique rugs that may or may not fit in the spaces I had planned for them. Hand made rugs are like pieces of art, and I need to have an emotional attachment before I can have a financial relationship.

oushak rug

I mean I would totally marry this rug, which is very similar to some antique Turkish rugs Karly and I saw at Round Top last weekend. Prices were INSANE, like we were shopping at 1st Dibs instead of a country flea market. The rugs were superb, though. I've never seen that kind of quality in person and I wanted to roll around all over the rugs like a dog in heat.

I am also not above having an affair with this rug I'm watching on ebay right now. It's huge and very old and ridiculously expensive and I LOVE IT. Too bad I'm not rich.

Anyway, I'm not the most practical when it comes to buying rugs for myself, and I just wasn't feeling anything I could find in my budget. So when reader Jill sent out the bat signal that a local antiques gallery was having a meganormous rug sale in a parking lot, I thought what the hay... I'll load up the babe and head out early to see what I can see.

 The calm before the storm...

I felt like I had just strolled into a third world country when I arrived, and by strolled I mean I stupidly brought my sweet seven month old baby in a stroller to the windiest, dirtiest, cheapest place on earth. And then something about the vast mountains of concealed fabric transformed me into a frantic suburban hyena panting after the scent of blood, tossing the place in order to see every single rug there (luckily/not luckily I wasn't the only one).

Totally embarrassing.

I knew there must be something good in those stacks, but every time I forced a nice worker man to dig out the very bottom rug, it inevitably turned up to be a filthy pee stained lime green and brown persian rug. Barf.

Y'all, I have NEVER seen that much dirt anywhere, and I have peed in poop troughs near diseased chickens and pigs deep in the Mexican back country. There was dirt in my teeth (!), dirt on the baby's face, dirt all over my stroller cum vaguely handy shopping cart... I had to hose that sad boy down with lysol after I left.

The rugs were so dirty you couldn't even tell what color they were. D.I.R.T.Y.

And then, magically, Jill showed up. She probably didn't recognize me beneath the layers of sooty filth, but she did recognize my very unhappy baby -- the baby I brought to contract some exotic infectious disease from the dirt.

Mother of the year. That's me.

Thankfully Jill turned out to be a super nice, very normal person with excellent taste. To wit, she pulled up this shockingly not too filthy rug. And then she passed it on to me. Behold.

savonnerie antique

But what is it??? It's huge for one thing -- 11 ft square. It's also very old, like maybe 100 years? It's wool and it weighs a million hundred pounds. The seller dude said it was hooked. And that's about all I know.

antique savonnerie

For scale.

It's not discolored, the field color is actually taupeish and the shadows are from folds.

I have since super mega vacuumed the rug, and I think it's miraculously not too dirty. I mean, it's old but not scabies dirty.

But what the what is it?

I know some things about rugs. Like anything I care about, I have obsessively researched Persian rugs since I first started buying them a few years ago. I can tell the difference between a Kerman and a Hamedan (kinda easy, I know), and I can tell you about abrash, kpsi, desirable colors and patterns, etc, but this here is not a Persian rug.

Is it an early American hooked rug?

A French Savonnerie?

Perhaps Spanish?

Or maybe even Chinese?

Here's the back. I think the foundation is jute... or maybe burlap?

Does anyone know anything about this here rug?

Because I'm not sure whether to keep or sell. I think if I keep, it will live in the bedroom and the bedroom rug will move to tapestry town.

But if it's worth some real money I might sell it and buy something more in line with the rest of my rug collection.

Or maybe it's super awesome and I need to learn to love it?

If only I knew what it was...


Keep or sell?

[top image via because it's awesome]