The notion of a rug or carpet being quintessential—which is to say definitively indicative of the singular aesthetic of its maker— is certainly nothing new. In fact, it is quite time honored and traditional. Kerman, Kashan, Heriz, and Tabriz—to name but a few—are iconic and easily recognized examples of names that came to define aesthetics inherent to a specific place and indeed time. Then of course there are renowned makers such as Hadji Jalili whose work still inspires replicas, just as there are now innumerable Heriz, et alia, made in disparate lands and of varying quality. The quintessence of these latter versions being indicative of what they are, not what they purport to be.

We’re just mad about saffron, and gold, and yellow, and squash and …

The myriad versions of the color described as yellow tend to delight, enliven, and beautify. Indeed, the particular hue created by the pigment yellow ochre is considered one of the first used in art; the Lascaux cave paintings discovered in France in 1940 feature a yellow horse dating to some 17,000 years ago. As a brief aside, these pre-historic paintings inspired noted Hungarian artist Olga Fisch to create several of her now collectable Ecuadorian-made hand-knotted carpets.

Contemporary. In the context of decorative rugs and carpets what does the word even mean? Does it reference a genre? Or does it mean anything made today, in this era? Left intentionally vague as to elicit a diverse response, one savvy contributor queried to clarify: “Do contemporary designs ever ‘ grow up’ and become traditional?”

In the context of rugs and carpets we tend to equate the term traditional with designs originating from Persia. Most everything else seems to be modern or contemporary. Then again everything is modern in its time. Factor in classic motifs not originating in rugs such as the greek key, and while certainly traditional, they are often used in modern ways, transitioning—if you will—betwixt two loosely-defined styles that give rise to yet a third term of the trifecta of rug design, the catch-all “transitional.”

Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can. – Jack Antonoff

The episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in in which the the noted chef, author, and documentarian explored the epicurean delights of Rome is a cinematographic delight.According to Bourdain, it also “violated all the conventional wisdom about making television.” Filmed in black and white, the episode stands proud not just for what it shows, but for what it obfuscates and leaves to the imagination of the viewer. Parallels can be drawn to the examination of design in print.

Owing to its origins as a historically rare, difficult, and thus cost-intensive color to produce, purple has long been associated with regality and the privileged.

The Greek title of this feature, Porphyrogénnētos, translates literally as “born in the purple” and was the Roman and Byzantine concept under which children born to reigning emperors held superior rights to the throne over siblings born before their father ascended the imperial throne. The “purple” aspect derives from the purple-hued porphryry rock interior cladding of the Porphýra, or the Purple or Porphyry Chamber. This was a free-standing pavilion of the Great Palace of Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey in which heirs to the throne were born. It denotes favor, privilege, power, prestige, and favoritism.

As for the modern use of the color, it associates with rarity, royalty, magic, mystery, and piety. When it’s paired with pink—eroticism, femininity, and seduction. Perhaps this is why purple is so loved by many (and also disliked just the same).

With the pronouncement of “Living Coral” as the 2019 ‘Color of the Year’ by a certain color marketing firm came the usual flurry across social media and beyond of image after image after image of products, including rugs and carpets, exhibiting the hue.

Each of them, to quote Pantone, “emit the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of [a] color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, ‘Living Coral’ is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

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