Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source






Start Page


Last Page



In the history of international trade. Oriental carpets are something of an anomaly. Although other exotic crafts have found a market in the West, no other has been so successful for so long, and marked by such lack of communication between producer and consumer. In the most extreme situation a rug is woven by women in a nomadic encampment in central Asia. It is meant for domestic consumption as a primary item of furniture. However, when times are hard, as in the recent famine, the nomad takes it to a local bazaar center where it is sold for cash. Through resale it finds its way to an emporium in a major city. Along with many others it is then exported by an Oriental merchant to a dealer in the West. The carpet may then be subjected to certain treat­ments which would affect its colors or sheen, and so enhance its appeal to the Western consumer. The cultural criteria according to which the carpet was woven were entirely independent of those that influence its ultimate purchaser.

Copyright/Permission Statement

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher (The University of Pennsylvania Museum,

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 18 October 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.