Among the many things I got to do over the extended Memorial Day weekend was a trip to "Ye Olde Storage Locker"; the out-of-building space that Fiancee S. and I rent to store all the junk that we can't otherwise find a place for in our apartment. The end of the school year is approaching, and, Fiancee S. will be starting a new job at a different school in the Fall teaching computers. This means that we needed to free up some space for materials not suited for a school computer lab (Fiancee S's personal library of children's fiction, for example.)
It's been a few months since we last visited Ye Olde Storage Locker and we didn't like what we found there. For one thing, it was a mess. This was my fault. I was the last person to drop anything off there (the box for our new TV). I was in a hurry and did a bad job of stacking and organizing objects in the locker. This made re-organization to create free space difficult. We did it though.
One of the things we found and really didn't like in Ye Olde Storage Locker was moths. Fiancee S. inherited two Oriental rugs when she moved in with me last summer. The first is a small 3'x5' Chinese area rug that her parents brought back from China in the 70's or 80's. The second was an older, slightly larger Middle Eastern carpet that came from we know not where or when exactly. Both the carpets had seen duty in the entry way of the house where Fiancee S. grew up, the former replacing the latter. We sadly discovered that the Chinese rug had become the breeding ground for moths.
This incident forced me to take my first good look at the Middle Eastern carpet. It looked older, with a lovely, intricate pattern, but, I had to wonder "what is it?" Was it the real thing, or just a cheap knock off? I found an exciting first clue when I discovered that the rug had a tag on the back. The tag said "Hand knotted" and has the name and address of a carpet seller in Beirut Lebanon!
Seeing a tag from Beirut only served to pique my curiousity. So what does a curious Geek such as myself do in this situation? Why, try looking for information on the Internet, of course. I tried throwing the dealer name from the tag at Google. I didn't know what to expect, but, there actually were a few similar, though not identical, hits.
The dealer name on the tag has three parts, which I assume to be a first, middle, and last name. The closest hit is for the web site of a family carpet business currently headquartered in Beirut with the same first and last name with "& Sons" attached to it. There are also hits for the web site of another Lebanese carpet selling business with the middle and last name from the tag also with "& Sons" attached to it. Both web sites say that the respective businesses have been open since the mid-1920's.
Now, I'm really intrigued. The label may be real. Where did this carpet come from? Fiancee S. asked her Dad, but he is generally oblivious to such things and could provide no information. Fiancee S. says her grandparents did make a pilgrimage or two to the Holy Land way back when, though. Maybe they picked it up when passing through Lebanon?
I hope to find out. Since the dealers involved have web sites and e-mail addresses, I plan to take pictures of the rug and the label and see if anyone can tell me anything. Hopefully, someone will say "yes, that's my father's label". We'll see.
Until then, I think both carpets need to be cleaned professionally. Amidst all the other wedding-related madness going on in the next 3-4 weeks, I'm going to make a few calls to see if I can find a good specialist in this sort of thing. Hopefully we can restore both carpets to their former grandeur and have an damage wrought by moths repaired.
on 2004-06-01 at 2:42 p.m.
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