What is this rug?
March 8, 2020 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any idea what this rug is all about?
posted by kittensofthenight to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those look like llamas or alpacas. Perhaps Peruvian?

Also, the framing of your question is a little vague. What do you mean when you say, "what is this all about?"
posted by Kitchen Witch at 8:53 PM on March 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

My first thought was that it was based on the Atari game Llamatron, but having revisited the art, it definitely isn't. Still, if there's any reason to think it might be a retro gaming joke instead of legit folk art, I'd guess some sort of '80s Atari or arcade game.
posted by northernish at 9:48 PM on March 8, 2020

Oh I just don't have any context for asking specific questions. Guess I'd be interested to know the manufacturer or context for the designs. Got it from a thrift store, no tag or logo. Wool so Llama or Alpaca could be a possibility. I didn't want to make any assumption about it.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:48 PM on March 8, 2020

It looks like a carpet, not a rug. The design looks Anatolian or Persian, and my guess is they are not llamas but deer. Again a guess rather than an expert opinion.
posted by Megami at 1:15 AM on March 9, 2020

It's got nothing to do with gaming; these motifs are milennia old. If they remind you of video games it's because woven patterns are pixellated as a result of the process itself.

I was initally swayed by the Persian origin suggested by Megami (an example). But Peruvian designs can be really similar, and I think the border and the depiction style of the animal argue for South American. IT could still be deer, not llamas. The commonality is that both are places where a semi-nomadic, shepherding culture existed, and for that reason they evolved similar solutions to furnishing shelters - handwoven rugs made of wool that you could use for sleeping, making seating, covering tables, etc. The weaving of rugs is a technology common to such cultures around the world, and there are only so many possible permutations.

At the same time, by the middle of the 20th century there was a tourist trade that saw stylistic changes crossing boundaries and borders. So you can see people creating whatever the local tourist market will buy, even if some of those motifs are borrowed from another culture group.

Still I vote South American.
posted by Miko at 9:41 AM on March 9, 2020

Yup, it looks South American in style to me. Other examples with geometric animal motifs: 1, 2, 3.

Though it's a common-enough style to me (in the UK) that it could be modern rug (Ikea? Wayfair?), borrowing that style unless the seller indicated it was vintage/imported. Here are some examples - looks like Wayfair calls them 'South Western' so maybe indigenous art from the SW United States is another possible derivation 1, 2, 3.

It looks like a carpet, not a rug.

This must be a regionalism - that's definitely a rug to me - a carpet is fitted, goes wall-to-wall. A rug is smaller than your whole floor, is placed on the floor for coverage or decoration. Could also be a wall-hanging I guess.
posted by penguin pie at 12:08 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Looks like a Gabbeh, or Gabbeh-inspired design, to me.
posted by prewar lemonade at 12:49 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

My vote is for a Persian Gabbeh. (Compare to this one.) Those goats and people are all over the more tribal pieces.
posted by booth at 1:54 PM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

OK I change my vote.
posted by Miko at 5:07 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

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