Is This The Largest Antique Persian Carpet In Existence?*

Michaelian Meshed Carpet (approximately 32 feet by 46 feet), Persia, 1904.

* Woven In One Piece, In Its Original Size, With Condition Suitable for Repairs and Continued Use

Our preliminary research leads us to believe that it might be. The Michaelian Meshed Carpet, dated 1904, from Persia, was custom woven for the Union League Club in New York City, where it graced the club for decades until it was purchased in the 1950’s by Frank Michaelian of Michaelian and Kohlberg. This carpet represents a marvel of pre-industrial age engineering, artistry, craft, and logistics. Consider these numbers: It measures 32 feet by 47 feet. The knot count is 189 knots per square inch (14 vertical/13.5 horizontal). The total number of knots in the carpet is approximately 40,932,000. The average weaver would have tied about 8000 knots in a full work day, which translates into the equivalent of 5,116 days of weaving. The width of the rug would have allowed for about 12 weavers working at a time, totaling 426 days on loom. Add to this the hand spinning of the yarn, which we estimate took an additional 4000+ days of labor, as well as the labor related to tasks like designing, dyeing, project management, washing, and the number is close to 10,000 days invested in the creation of this single carpet– all done within a probable span of 2 years. In 1900, the challenge and logistics of organizing, weaving, moving, washing, and transporting a carpet of this size from eastern Persia to New York City cannot be overstated.

Bid online or view more images of this colossal carpet on liveauctioneers! You can also browse the full catalogue for October 14 auction, “The Spirits of My Reincarnation Brothers and Sisters: Art, Textiles, Antiquities, Carpets, Ethnographic Arts, Old Navajo Jewelry.”