Tuesday, November 19, 2013


  I love to ride the morning
 commuter ferry to downtown San Diego. One morning I met Cynthia, who was on her way to work at a Persian rug gallery. My visit to this fascinating shop is the subject of today's blog.
     Walking into the 4thAvenue Rug Gallery, 827 4th Avenue, is like entering an art exhibit with over 1500 handmade works of art from all over the world—each with its own story. The colorful vintage rugs are displayed on the walls, piled high on the floor and tied in rolls along the side. The perfect setting is a 1907 building located in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. It is a long narrow building with original brick walls, redwood floors and high ceilings.

Add to this Cynthia, a friendly and extremely knowledgeable sales consultant, and you are in for a treat. She has been working at the gallery for over 13 years, has lived all over the world and is a life-long student of art. She graciously spent time explaining the rug business to me and I came away with a new appreciation. My head was also spinning when I left—as there are as many versions of rugs as there are cities and towns in the Middle East.

      Most of the rugs in the gallery are from Persia, the former name of Iran. They also come from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other areas. They are new and used—some over 100 years old. Since they are handmade, many of the fibers have been hand dyed as well. Made from cotton, wool and silk, all natural fiber, the rugs can weigh hundreds of pounds. Colors and shades vary, but the most common are red, blue and gold.

      Two to four people work together using looms and knots to produce rugs that can take many years to complete. They can be made in cities where there are government-sponsored rug factories or in the country, where the tribal rugs are made.

     This diversity—range of colors and dyes, all parts of the world, commercial looms and portable looms, cotton, silk and wool, faded and bold, old and new, patterns, stories, portraits, and knot size could easily take a lifetime to learn.

      There are hundreds of different types of rugs in this shop, and it would be difficult to leave the store without finding a favorite or two. I loved the Tabriz rugs—they are colorful with a soft silky feel to them. Tabriz, Iran, is one of the oldest rug weaving centers in the world. I also enjoyed the tribal rugs with their bold colors and patterns.

       I highly recommend you stop to visit this store. I am convinced you will walk out with a new appreciation for these lovely handmade rugs from the Middle East and more than likely a desire to learn more about the regions of the world that so meticulously weave them.

      The owner of the 4th Avenue Gallery is Arman Jodari, a second-generation rug expert from Iran with over 50 years of experience. In addition to importing and selling rugs, this store does appraisals, cleanings and repairs.




1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! It seems a great rug museum. If you have interest in Chinese silk rug, feel free to contact me.