The Rug Renaissance Part 3
In the 1980s, decorative carpets came into fashion.
These rugs were formal looking and light in color. Essentially, they were the opposite of tribal and village rugs. Ironically, this change in preference come about just as the Oriental rug industry was finally able to meet the demand for inexpensive tribal rugs.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, many Americans and Europeans were exploring Tibet and Nepal.
In Nepal, they encountered Tibetan refugees who brought their knowledge of rug making with them. Their knowledge, and their traditional designs, created a Nepalese carpet industry where none had been before. The Western explorers saw a chance for the mass exportation of Oriental rugs and started creating them in large quantities and at a low price. Because natural dyes were expensive, they fell to the wayside just as they had several years before.
Despite the use of synthetic dyes, and despite their focus on mass production, Western rug makers and their Tibetan producers made important contributions to the rug renaissance. They realized that Oriental rugs did not have to adhere to traditional Tibetan designs and color schemes which opened the doors to experimentation and innovation.
Several pioneers in rug making took aim at the new demand for decorative rugs. They created rugs with combinations of colors and patterns that had never been seen before. Their decorative rugs were so successful, that they inadvertently created the first major decorative rug productions.
The commercial success of decorative rugs led to a revival in Oriental rug production.
Other people started to launch their own productions and began to experiment with natural dyes and innovative designs. The state of decline that Oriental rug production had been in for the last sixty years halted. From about 1985 on, Oriental rugs continuously got better and are still improving today.
Source: Oriental Rugs Today by Emmett Eiland