An ancient seller of persian carpets yelled ‘This is Sacrilege’ at me, across the piles of beautiful white-fringed rugs filling his shop…
Sacrilege means the treating of something highly valued, with disrespect. But when is it really just taking something and making it useful again? I mean, look at all those European castles and mansions that were added to and altered ad nauseam. Maybe that was sacrilege in their day? And what about graffiti? Most would agree that is sacrilege, but now Banksy has become famous, and not only famous but desirable, his graffiti might be the most welcome addition you could have – adding several hundred thousand onto the value of your brick wall.
The bearded men, heavy with the wisdom and weaving skill of generations, have told me many times, a persian carpet will retain its value. “It’s an investment”.
I used to believe them until I started hanging out at auctions selling antiques and deceased estate lots. Which is where, one day, I picked up a massive Persian rug for $200. This was far less than it would cost me to carpet the room I had in mind. The only problem was, the rug was rectangular, and the room had a corner cut out of it, and was slightly smaller.
Easy – cut the rug down to fit…..
I knew that if I cut it, I’d have to stop it unravelling further, so I measured the bits I needed cut and took it to the aforementioned Persian Rug Shop. Here I was told that the rug is woven by one of the top weavers in Iran, and would be sold at more than $7000. It is now 20 years old (all this, the bearded gentleman could tell me, from the woven signature in the pattern). But the fact of the matter is, that it ISN’T worth $7000 now – because no-one would pay more than $200. So I asked him to cut it down for me and bind the edges – hence the shouting.
The cut corner sits behind a door so it can’t be seen. (yes – he did cut and bind it in the end – these guys will pretty much do anything if you pay them!) It looks utterly fabulous in the room.
What do you think? Should I have done it? Was it sacrilege? or have I just given something a new lease of life? Have you altered something and felt it might be sacrilege? Does it matter?