The Art of Oriental Rugs

This is an Archive of a Past Event

Oriental rugs and kilims are among the most ubiquitous items in many of our homes beyond the basic furniture. They reside on our floors, on our walls, and on our tables. They range in size as well as in their places of origin. Reaching far beyond their utilitarian purposes, oriental rugs function as objects of art that spark joy.

Join us for a full day of innovative historical lectures, stunning imagery and slides, engaging stories, and of course, a Middle Eastern lunchtime spread. We will begin the day with a general introduction to oriental rugs: identifying origins—Anatolian, Persian, Caucasian, and Central Asian; their types—tribal, village, and town; their structure and methods of construction; and their conservation and care. The second lecture features images of oriental rugs in Western art, as they make their major appearance during the Renaissance. We will discuss various painters who depicted the rugs in their paintings—such as Bellini, Memling, Lotto, and Holbein.

After our Middle Eastern lunch together, the three lectures in the afternoon will focus in greater detail on the rugs of Turkey and part of Central Asia, including Persia and the Caucasus. Each lecture will include a historical and cultural overview of each region, followed by a discussion of the major types of rugs produced by various tribal and rural regions.

Full Schedule:

9:30 - 10:00 am

10:00 - 11:30 am
Lecture 1: General Introduction to the History, Types, and Manufacturing of Rugs

11:30 - 11:45 am
Walk to Lunch at Alumni Center

11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Mediterranean Lunch at Alumni Center

1:00 - 1:50 pm
Lecture 2: Images of Rugs in Western Art

2:00 - 2:50 pm
Lecture 3: Anatolian Rugs

3:00 - 3:50 pm
Lecture 4: Persian Rugs

4:00 - 5:00 pm
Lecture 5: Caucasian Rugs

Herant Katchadourian, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Biology, Emeritus, Stanford; Former President, Flora Family Foundation

Herant Katchadourian has served as Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Stanford. He received the Dinkelspiel, Lyman, and ASSU awards and has been selected seven times as Outstanding Professor and Class Day speaker. Katchadourian grew up in Beirut in a home filled with rugs. His interest in oriental rugs was rekindled later in life, and he embarked on their extensive study as part of his broader interest in the history of art.