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One indulgence I permit myself every now and then is to sit back, sip a glass of wine and admire a beautiful Oriental rug under my feet. Combine this with good company, a book, or lovely music and, at least for a moment, life feels good.

Come to think of it, there is a strong affinity between wine and Oriental rugs, although on the surface they each affect a different set of senses. Both draw their fundamental character from Earth, through the vines and grapes in one case, and through the wool and vegetable dyes in the other. Both follow painstaking processes of transformation at the hand of man, or rather woman in the case of rugs (and unfortunately children in the past), adding a human element that is dearly absent from machine-made rugs.

It is often said that what differentiates handmade from machine-made rugs is the presence of little technical flaws, which reveal an element of spontaneity and creativity, in contrast to the uniformity and dullness of machine products. However, if this was the sole distinction, then it shouldn’t be difficult in this computerized age to design mechanized looms that randomly introduce such irregularities. But I think the distinction is more profound than this. It is in fact the whole human dimension, including the spectrum of feelings such as love and affection, that somehow is transferred to the rugs, or the wine, but is missing in machine-made or mass-produced products.

May 19, 2018