In this day and age, while material possessions are more important to some than ever before, there are a few famous inanimate objects, such as rugs, that have fascinating stories behind them. Today, we’re going to look at a couple of examples. And hopefully, you’ll learn something in the process. Let’s dive right in!
White House rugs
We’re going to start right at one of United States’ most prominent buildings – namely, the White House. Over the years, as each successive president has made his way through the White House, the rugs in the Oval Office have often been selected by the president himself.
In 2015, during Barack Obama’s presidency, the first lady chose to redo a room of the White House. Michelle Obama updated the room to have what the White House Curator William Allman called “a more streamlined, cleaner look”. Yet the first lady still kept many of the historic pieces, such as a chandelier from the 1780s and Kennedy-era art pieces.
However, one of the biggest changes was the new custom woven rug (designed by Michelle Obama herself!) on the old, hardwood floor. The Washington Post explains, “The design of the custom rug is adapted from a 1950 pictorial weaving by Anni Albers, with metallic threads woven in, adding another modern touch to the room.” It rug is eye-catching and a beautiful addition to the room.
Oval Office rugs
As we noted above, when a new president begins his term in office, he and his administration choose a new rug for the Oval Office. The administrations work personally with an interior designer, and the White House curator. By working with a designer, each President will be sure to get a rug that fits his tastes, but one that doesn’t clash with current White House decor.
Each rug or carpet bears the Seal of the President. Some of the rugs vary only slightly in size and look. Others possess extreme differences in color and style. Let’s take a moment to look at a few specific Oval Office rugs.
President Trump’s rug
Our current President used what one might call a “hand-me-down” rug. In other words, President Trump’s rug choice just happened to be a re-use of President Ronald Reagan’s rug, from his term in office. The design features a beige base, with slight pops of rust red, and an appealing green vine wrapped around the perimeter.
President Truman’s rug
Harry Truman was the first to introduce the Seal of the President to the presidential rug – something for which he gained many compliments. In general, visitors to the White House were pleased with pairing a change of rug with a change of resident.
The same feelings of approval were extended to President Truman’s color changes. Traditionally, Oval Office rugs were green in color. However, Truman decided on a more bluish-green color. Many Oval Office visitors admitted that it brightened the room up and was an excellent change. Truman’s rug was used by both Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson.
Other famous oriental rugs
Whether you know it or not, many houses in the United States are graced with oriental rugs for decoration. Many famous folks have them in their homes, from Oprah Winfrey to Bill Gates to the Kardashians. And, of course, as you’ve just seen, numerous different rooms in the White House contain oriental rugs, as do the personal homes of many U.S. presidents.
In 1897, George Washington received a gift of a rug from Mrs. Sarah Yeates McElwee Whelen. This rug is among the very few surviving rugs from its day. At its center is an American eagle, copied from the United States Seal. In his beak is the traditional gold ribbon with the words “E. Pluribus Unum.”
At this point, we’re not quite sure why Mrs. Whelen gave the rug to George Washington. However, we do know it must have been quite an elaborate gift for that day. And a good quality one, given how long it’s lasted.
The most expensive Persian rug
Now that we’ve looked at famous rugs in the United States, let’s take a moment to learn about the most expensive rug in the world. In 2008, this expensive silk Isfahan rug was sold by Christie’s Auction House. This skillfully crafted piece sold for a mind-blowing price of $4,450,000.
Catalina Rug notes that multiple factors contributed to such a high selling price and highlights a few specific reasons. The use of pure silk added a “special” touch to this rug. Also the exceptionally high knot density, and the number of colors used influenced the price tag. We can’t even begin to imagine how long this rug took to make. But we can only assume that the craftsmanship is excellent given the high price the rug commanded at auction.
Do knot stop researching
Now that we’ve given you a few examples of famous rugs in the U.S., it’s your turn to study up! You can find further details and information on the rugs we’ve talked about via research of your own. There are even other famous rugs all over the world you can learn about. And in the meantime, if you own an oriental rug yourself, keep it in great shape now and into the future with our article on do’s and don’ts for cleaning rugs!