If a person wants to purchase some of the finest real estate in all of New York City, they may find themselves shelling out up to ten thousand dollars per square foot. But, if they want to purchase the world's most expensive rug to decorate their new villa, the price would be drastically higher. Recently, Sotheby's auction house sold a rug for $33,765,000. This means that the privilege of walking across the 8.9 by 6.5 foot work of art cost the buyer over $600,000 per square foot.
The price paid for the Clark Sickle Leaf Carpet, a Persian rug that dates to the first half of the seventeenth century, shattered the existing high for an amount paid for a rug. Previously, a Christie's auction from 2010 had held the mark when a rug drew a $9,600,000 bid.
The battle for the rug was intense. As the link below shows, a phone bidder and a person from the crowd go back and forth for over five minutes before one of them concedes defeat.
Auction Footage (opens in new window)
Beautiful and old rugs can often fetch hefty prices due to the fact that they so rarely come to auction. The majority of high quality pieces are held in museum collections. In fact, this rug had previously been displayed at Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The organization gained possession of the piece in 1926 when it was gifted to the gallery by William A. Clark, a U.S. senator from Montana.
Technically speaking, the rug is a sickle-leaf, vine scroll and palmette ‘vase’-technique carpet. It has a red interior and a blue encompassing outer stripe. The city of origin is thought to be Kerman, which is located in what would today be south central Iran, an area well known for producing masterpieces with curving floral designs and bright vibrant colors.
The record breaking price paid for this piece may be a sign of things to come. More and more, rugs are being seen as works of fine art that are worthy of collecting. Additionally, with rising interest in Islamic art around the world, there are more participants than ever ready to enter the market and pay seven figures for a beautiful Persian rug.