News, Notes, and Thoughts about Oriental Rugs

Sunday, October 23, 2005 - Santa Fe business overwhelmed with rugs from New Orleans store - Santa Fe business overwhelmed with rugs from New Orleans store: "Santa Fe business overwhelmed with rugs from New Orleans store

Sharon Schenck’s rug store in Santa Fe is packed nearly to the rafters with rugs – many from her store in New Orleans.

By: Todd Dukart

More than a month after Hurricane Katrina flooded much of New Orleans, a Santa Fe business remains flooded with rugs from a New Orleans store.

Sharon Schenck, who owns the Oriental Rug Resource in Santa Fe, had to move more than 1,500 rugs from her New Orleans store after the hurricane.

The hurricane didn’t flood the New Orleans store, but damaged it enough to close down.

The rugs, which she says she handpicked for New Orleans, fill up her Santa Fe store and her garage.

“It’s just unbelievable the amount of rugs in this tiny little space,” she said.

She had just ordered 200 more rugs for her New Orleans store from Afghanistan. Now, those rugs are sitting in customs.

The rugs can’t be stored too long, she says, because of moths. The least expensive rugs normally retail in the hundreds of dollars, while some fetch thousands.

Schenck says she’s brainstorming to figure out ways to sell the New Orleans rugs by discounting prices or selling them to evacuees in Houston."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Keshishian Family Sponsors of Washington International Horse Show

Press Point: "October 16, 2005

Washington International Horse Show Brings Together Show Jumping Elite at MCI Center in Nation’s Capital.

Washington, DC – October 14, 2005 – This year’s edition of the Washington International Horse Show, scheduled for the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., on October 25-30, 2005, will bring together a slate of this country’s finest show jumping riders. Eight United States Olympians highlight this year’s roster of equestrian superstars. In addition, the show, one of the country’s most prestigious and competitive indoor equestrian events, will feature some of Europe’s legendary and most successful equestrian stars.

Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker, both four time Olympians for their home country of Great Britain, have confirmed that they will attend this year’s show. Both riders were key members of this year’s British Samsung Super League Teams. Skelton is the 1995 World Cup Champion while Whitaker, who was second at the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas earlier this year, won the European Championship in 1995.

Also coming to the MCI Center this year is Philippe Rozier, a two time French Olympic Team veteran. 2004 Olympian Gerco Schroeder of the Netherlands will also attend. Schroeder, with three World Cup Finals appearances, was the Young Rider Gold Medalist at the European Championships twice. Harrie Smolders, also from the Netherlands, rounds out the contingent from Europe.

The MCI Center will showcase a battle of the best riders the United States has to offer, including sixteen of the top twenty-five riders on the United States Equestrian Federation Show Jumping Computer Rankings.

The star studded field of American riders is headlined by 2004 Olympic Team Gold Medalist McLain Ward. The 2004 President’s Cup Champion and Washington International’s Leading Jumper Rider, Ward returns to defend his title in 2005 and looks forward to the enthusiastic crowds at the MCI Center. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the great crowds at Washington,” Ward said. “The fan support we get is very exciting and induces good competition.”

Ward, who produced double clear rounds in Aachen, Germany this summer to propel the United States to the championship in the summer long Samsung Super League Series, says that Washington has emerged as the preeminent indoor show in the United States. “The Washington International is a real first class, international indoor horse show. It rivals what Madison Square Garden once was,” asserted Ward. “It’s in the middle of downtown. There’s electricity in the air. They pack the place on President’s Cup night, probably more people than the Garden ever got on grand prix night. And, it’s a very horse educated crowd. They understand what’s going on, and they’re very supportive. That’s the key to making any event great,” he said.

In addition to Ward, other United States Olympic veterans competing at this year’s Washington International Horse Show include two time Olympian, Leslie Howard, with Gold and Silver Team Medals from Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and in Atlanta in 1996.

Also returning to the MCI Center is Norman Dello Joio, the Individual Olympic Bronze Medalist from Barcelona in 1992. Dello Joio won the President’s Cup at Washington in 2000. Other Olympic veterans include Margie Goldstein Engle (Sydney 2000), Lauren Hough (Sydney 2000), Laura Kraut (Sydney 2000), Alison Firestone (Athens 2004) and Todd Minikus (Sydney 2000). Minikus captured the President’s Cup at Washington in 1990.

Two time President’s Cup winner Aaron Vale (2001-2003) will try to make it three in 2005. Vale is on fire, chalking up 23 grand prix wins this season including the $100,000 USGPL Finals. Vale, a part of the United States Equestrian Team’s efforts in Europe this summer, won a Lexus automobile by capturing the Lexus Queen’s Cup at Barcelona, Spain.

Schuyler Riley will make Washington a stop on this year’s tour. Riley galloped her way into show jumping history this summer when she won the $175,000 Chrysler Classic at Spruce Meadows for the second year in a row. Her back to back victories were the first since legendary Canadian Ian Miller posted consecutive wins with Big Ben in the late 80s. She’s the only woman to ever capture that prestigious event.

Georgina Bloomberg and Danielle Torano, who dominated last year’s Amateur Owner Jumper division, will be competing in the WIHS Open Jumpers in 2005. Danielle’s husband Jimmy Torano, who put together an amazing string of six consecutive grand prix wins this summer, will challenge as well.

“This is without a doubt the greatest field of open jumper riders at the Washington International Horse Show in the last fifteen to twenty years,” said WIHS manager Hugh Kincannon.

The $100,000 President’s Cup sponsored by Salamander Hospitality, LLC highlights this year’s jumper division and will take place on Saturday night, October 29, 2005.

Other exciting jumper action includes the $25,000 International-Open Jumper Time First Jump-off, a President’s Cup Qualifier, sponsored by Split Rock Farm and the Braun Family on Friday, October 28th and the $20,000 International-Open Jumper Time First Round, sponsored by Monarch International/Show Circuit Magazine on Thursday afternoon, October 27th, also a President’s Cup Qualifier, Also on the agenda for 2005 is the $20,000 International-Open Gambler’s Choice on Thursday evening.

The all new Night at the Washington International Horse Show features two exciting show jumping events, the $20,000 International-Open Jumper Accumulator and the $25,000 International Open Puissance classes.

Tickets for the 2005 Washington International Horse Show are still available at or call 202-397-SEAT. Barn Night Groups (10 or more) receive $5 off each ticket.



Washington International Horse Show Media Credentials Available Online

Media interested in covering the WIHS can apply for accreditation through the official website The WIHS will accept any legitimate requests for applications, even if received after the deadline of October 10th.

If you would like to cover the WIHS, please fill out the accreditation form at

Washington International Horse Show – (Office) 16063 Comprint Circle, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 – 301-987-9400 Fax: 301-987-9461 – – Susan Webb -

During Show at MCI Center: 202-661-5227 – Fax: 202-661-5228 – Web Site: (#s TBD)

PRESS LINK PR/Diana De Rosa: O: 631-773-6155, C: 516-848-4867,

PHELPS MEDIA GROUP, INC./Mason Phelps, Jr.: O: 561 753-3389,

BENDURE COMMUNICATIONS/Vicki Bendure: (540) 687-3360,

WHAT: Washington International Horse Show

WHO: Elite equestrians and their multi-million dollar horses competing for some of the most coveted trophies in the world.

WHEN: October 25 – 30, 2005

WHERE: MCI Center, Washington, DC


Evening Regular
Evening VIP**






No Evening
No Evening

Anytime Package
Regular admission for each performance ($235 package)

Barn Night Groups (10 or more) receive $5 off each ticket. See back panel for rules or visit
VIP Seats include premium arena-level seating and a FREE WIHS Program Book ($10 Value). Take ticket stub to WIHS Souvenir Booth. or call 202-397-SEAT


This year the Washington International Horse Show is offering an “Anytime Package” ticket deal for $85.00. The “Anytime Package” allows admittance for spectators to all events and performances from Tuesday, October 25th through Sunday, October 30th. The cost of tickets if purchased for each event would total $235.00, at the very least, so this opportunity is a great way to save money while enjoying all that the show has to offer. Also included in the Anytime Package is free admittance into the Starlight Starbright Pony Pavilion which will have a host of activities for families to enjoy on Saturday, October 29th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.


10/25 – Daytime: Regular & Green Conformation – 1st & 2nd Green – Regular Working – A/O Hunter (35 & Under and Over 35) – Evening: WIHS Children’s Hunter Championships & Adult Hunter Championships

10/26 – Daytime: Regular Working & Regular Conformation – 2nd year Green & Green Conformation – 1st year Green

A/O Hunter (35 & Under & Over 35) – A/O Jumpers – Evening: WIHS Children’s Jumper Championships and Adult Jumper Championships

10/27 – Daytime: Small Jr. (15 & Under), Large Jr. (15 & Under) – Small Jr. (16-17), Large Jr. (16-17)

$25,000 President’s Cup Qualifier – A/O Jumpers – Evening: WIHS Dressage Invitational Grand Prix, $20,000 Gambler’s Choice

10/28 – Daytime: Small Jr. (15 & Under), Large Jr. (15 & Under), Small Jr. (16-17), Large Jr. (16-17), WIHS Equitation, A/O Jumpers – Jr. Jumpers TFR - $20,000 Open Jumpers – Evening: Night features Dressage Invitational Freestyle Competition, $25,000 Puissance

10/29 – Daytime: Small, Medium, Large Pony - Afternoon: $15,000 Open Jumpers Speed Class – Jr. Jumpers, Starlight Starbright Pony Pavilion and Mystics Family Fun Day

Evening: WIHS Equitation Classic: (Jumper Phase & Final work-off) - $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, Tracy Byrd Concert

10/30 – Small, Medium, Large Pony – WIHS Pony Equitation Classic – Local Hunter Finals (Horses) – Local Hunter Finals (Ponies) – Jr. Jumpers TFJO – Local Jumpers Finals

Exhibitions to Include: Barrel Racing – Terrier Races – Musical Free Style – Dressage - Tracy Byrd in concert- Night- Mystics Family Fun Day- Starlight Starbright Pony Pavilion…and more

SPONSORS: Salamander Hospitality, LLC, RLJ Development, Mignon C. Smith, Washington Mystics, Monarch International/Show Circuit Magazine,Gotham North, Arwen Stables, The Braun Family, Stadium Jumping, Inc., Salamander Resort & Spa, J. Aron Charitable Foundation, Newstead Farm, Legg Mason Funds, MasterfoodsUSA, Shalanno Farm, Tara Management, JPC Equestrian, ITS Industries, Ernie & Betty Oare, Pennfield Feeds, Linda C. Dickinson, Mr. and Mrs. Austin Kiplinger, S. Craig & Frances Lindner, Chris Rogers/Hillary Stiff, EMO Insurance Agency, Inc., Tad Coffin Performance Saddles, The Tack Box, Inc., Pat Carleton, Phillips Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. David Pollin, Rill & Decker, Potomac Valley Builders, Tony Weight, USTrust, Lilly Elizabeth & Stella Gray Pollin, Lake Placid Horse Shows, Delaware Park Racing Association, Keshishian Family, McGuire Woods, LLP, Horse Watch

MEDIA PARTNERS: NBC4 – Metro – Practical Horseman – The Gazette – The Journal – The Chronicle of the Horse – Equiery – WAMU 88.5 FM – The Washington Post – MIX 107.3 FM – Sidelines – Horse Talk – 97.1 Wash-FM – The Washington Times – Primedia Equine Network- 98.7 WMZQ- Washington Life Magazine- Press Link PR- Towerheads- Phelps Media Group, Inc.- Virginia Equestrian- Reins & Manes- Equine Journal

Publications interested in covering the Washington International Horse Show can fill out an accreditation form at

ABOUT THE MCI CENTER: The MCI Center offers sponsors luxury hospitality, an upscale spectator base, prime media exposure, and a highly-visible corporate presence.

SPONSOR OPPORTUNITIES: Thursday Evening’s Performance, WIHS Equitation Classic, WIHS Championships, $20,000 Gambler’s Choice, Junior Jumper Division, Amateur Owner Jumper Division, WIHS Pony Equitation, Exhibitor’s Lounge,$25,000 Open Jumpers – Friday, $15,000 Open Jumper Speed Class – Saturday, Small Junior Hunter Divisions, Large Junior Hunter Divisions, Pony Hunter Divisions, Lunches for Judges & Officials, Leading Jumper Rider Award, Exhibitors Numbers, Hunter Divisions, Soda & Snacks For Exhibitors, Individual Hunter Classes, and Individual Pony Hunter Classes


-English Style Horse Show Spectators & competitors have one of the richest income/economic demographics of any sports audience.

-USEF members average HHI - $134,500 – net worth $955,400 – Professional/managerial positions – 60%

27 million Americans ride a horse at least once a year – More than 10% of U.S. households currently participate in riding – 2,000,000+ people currently own horses – An additional 18% of U.S. households have an interest in riding – 33% of American households own/ride horses or would like to own/ride horses – 2/3 of current horse owners own more than one horse.

-The MCI Center offers sponsors luxury hospitality, an upscale spectator base, prime media exposure, and a highly-visible corporate presence.

-With everything from shopping at the specialty vendor booths and bidding on silent auction items to cheering on Olympic riders, the WIHS combines affordable family fun, shopping, glamour and international equestrian competition.

-The WIHS is a charitable organization; proceeds donated to local and national charities. Past recipients include: CRPF, NBC4s Camp 4 Kids, Canine Companions for Independence, ASPCA, Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Partners in Education, Community Services for Autistic Adults & Children, National Center For Therapeutic Riding, etc.

- This year’s chief charity for 2005 is the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, the foundation is dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families. Their website is


The 47th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) has served as one of the world’s elite show jumping competitions since its genesis in 1958. From its birthplace at the DC Armory, to the Capital Centre, and now at the state-of-the-art MCI Center, the WIHS brings the “country to the city” every October with Olympic horses and riders competing throughout the 6 days of competition for some of the most coveted and prestigious awards in the world.

The Washington International Horse Show takes place each year at the MCI Center, Washington, DC. The musical freestyle dressage exhibitions by top dressage riders are a crowd favorite. Musical freestyle dressage is often referred to as “dancing on horseback” since riders and horses perform a routine of complex movements – all to the beat of music.

Each year, equestrians from all across the US competed in horse shows to qualify to compete at Washington. The world’s top riders fly their multi-million dollar equine athletes to Washington to view for top honors in this world class show jumping event.

The Washington International Horse Show is a great place to start shopping for the holiday season with amazing bargains in both the Silent Auction and at the 60-plus specialty vendor booths along the concourse of the MCI Center. To view information about this year’s specialty vendors and descriptions of their products, visit


Competitors must be WIHS members for qualifying points to count. Membership forms and Show Application Equitation forms may be downloaded at – or contact Ryegate Show Services, 717-867-5643 -

RULES & REGULATIONS (new for 2005): Riders must be members of the WIHS Equitation to earn points in the standings.

The WIHS Equitation and Washington Pony Equitation are open to USEF and CEF member shows that request an application to hold an equitation qualifier class.

Shows must apply 30 days prior to the start of the show in order to offer the equitation class(es). Upon receipt of the application, the show contact will be mailed all pertinent forms.

Completed results forms and payment ($7.00 fee per rider in each class) must be returned to the Ryegate office within 10 days from the conclusion of the recognized horse show.

Qualifying period: shows starting on or after September 1st through shows starting on or before August 31st. The top 30 riders in the WIHS Equitation and the top 25 riders in the Washington Pony Equitation will be invited to compete in the Finals at the Washington International Horse Show.

Multi-day horse shows are permitted to hold either a one or two phase WIHS equitation qualifier. One-day horse shows are only allowed to hold a one-phase event. Washington Pony Equitation Classes may only be held as one phase.

The WIHS Equitation classes are open to junior members of USEF or CEF. Three riders must complete the course for the class to be included in the National Ranking.

· The same horse must be used in all phases of the event...No Exceptions.

· One rider per horse, unless the judge requests a change.

· Classes to be judged in accordance with the current USEF standards for equitation.

· Riders may only compete in one WIHS Equitation class at a show.

· Splitting of classes must be in accordance with USEF Article 2203.3.1.

As a service to our visitors and international sports organizations, Sports Features Communications™ is posting recent press releases at no charge to the viewer or organization. "

Friday, October 14, 2005

BCNG Portals Page: Local carpet company finds a niche Steve Roberts and the Rug Badger

BCNG Portals Page: "

Local carpet company finds a niche

By BrennanCLARKE

Victoria News
Oct 14 2005 In more ways than one, Steve Roberts is cleaning up in the world of business.

But his services have never been in higher demand than they were last week in Louisiana.

Roberts, co-owner of Luv-a-Rug carpet cleaning in Saanich, spent a day in New Orleans late last month salvaging waterlogged Persian carpets that had been damaged in the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"It was really quite extraordinary. We were driving down the streets in a carpet cleaning van with a U-Haul trailer and people were literally chasing down the van saying 'can you help?'" Roberts said.

"The lesser quality carpets were all junk because the colours had all run, but many of the good ones were salvageable."

Roberts drove the van and trailer through the ritzy Metairie district in suburban New Orleans, where homeowners were piling their flood damaged belongings on lawns and in driveways. Within three blocks, he found himself overloaded with high-quality carpets.

"People would go to the heap, pull a rug out of the pile and I would discover it was a $20,000 Isfahan, or a $10,000 Tabriz, or even a $40,000 Beshir rug, all completely restorable," he said.

Roberts travelled to the Gulf Coast at the invitation of fellow carpet cleaner George Bell of Jackson, Miss., who called Roberts away from a Las Vegas trade show, saying that thousands of expensive rugs were rotting away amid continuing hurricane clean-up efforts.

As it turned out, Roberts had been marketing a new carpet cleaning invention called the Rug Badger.

Roberts said the Rug Badger uses high-speed vibrations to remove tiny particles of sediment, heavy metals and other contaminants from carpets.

"It's something we developed right here in Victoria. We were cleaning carpets and people would call us to say they're still dirty," Roberts said via a cell phone from an Alabama factory where the units are being assembled. "Now we're taking orders from all over the world - Australia, we sold six in the UK, all over the United States."

The Rug Badger retails for about $3,500. Roberts said he's sold about 60 of them so far and orders continue to pile up."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Iran Daily - Arthur Upham Pope's Narenjestan-e Qavam

Iran Daily - Panorama - 10/12/05: "Narenjestan-e Qavam

Narenjestan-e Qavam is a fascinating and pleasant garden, the fragrant trees and flowers of which have given it a beautiful and poetical atmosphere. Inside the garden which is known as “Narenjestan“ because of its bitter orange trees, we come across an old building complex whose exquisite architecture is admired by all viewers.
The structure of this building is one of the outstanding artistic masterpieces of Shiraz artists, and dates back to the 19th century. All the graceful and unique decorations were completed in about five years.
These constructions were designed by Ebrahim Khan-e-Qavam (prime minister during the reigns of the two Qajar kings, Aqa Mohammad Khan and Fath Ali Shah) and carry the symbols of that era’s architecture. A walk through the garden proves to be a pleasing experience so much that leaving the scenes of nature’s beauty, enhanced by admirable works of art is difficult to do.
This building was used as the Birooni building (to receive people out of the family circle). The complex was the domicile of governor’s court of Fars during the Qajar period. It also includes Zinat-al-Mulk house, designed and used as Andarooni (the home for only the close family). The two buildings are examples of traditional residential architecture in Iran.
These buildings were granted to Shiraz University in 1966.
Narenjestan was used by the Asian Institute under famous archeologist, Professor Arthur Upham Pope, between 1969 and 1979. The complex is part of the faculty of Art and Architecture of Shiraz University since 1998.
The other parts of the complex were: private bathhouse; public bathhouse; Hosseiniyeh (building for religious ceremonies); detention house; and stable. The detention house and stable no longer exist."

Editorials - The Ithaca Journal - Pakistan: Old friend helps many - JAKCISS Oriental Rugs

Editorials - The Ithaca Journal - "Pakistan: Old friend helps many


Thanks to the ever-rotating spotlight of world catastrophe, many in this area are rediscovering the small villages of India and Pakistan and joining the world in aiding the earthquake stricken nations. These efforts are desperately needed, and those who answer this call are saving lives.

Worth noting, especially as the shadow of this crisis lingers, is that both nations have struggled for decades with deep poverty and religious tension. While the earthquake has brought many new friends, one old friend has been helping improve lives in the villages of Pakistan for years - and this community has played an important role in that effort.

The non-profit business Ten Thousand Villages has been spreading its fair-trade message for almost 60 years, now through more than 160 stores in North America, including its operation on The Commons in downtown Ithaca. Collectively, these stores spread throughout the United States and Canada generated $22.8 million in sales last year, sending more than $7.7 million to artisans and workers from Asia to Central America. The company, a program of the North American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches, has as its mission the goal of providing a needed and fair income to Third World people.

Well more than $1 million of those payments went to Pakistan, where Ten Thousand Villages works with an artisan group known as JAKCISS Oriental Rugs. Through them, the company works with 700 families in more than 100 Pakistani villages. JAKCISS even supports two schools, and work on the hand-knotted rugs is often done indoors so women in more conservative Muslim areas can join other Muslim and Christian adults in earning a fair wage.

Since most Ten Thousand Villages stores are too small to stock these rugs, the company sends them on tour around the country, introducing local people to the craft and the purpose of the fair trade relationship at these “rug events.” A few weeks ago the rug event stopped in Ithaca, with 300 rugs taking up residence in donated space at St. Catherine of Siena Church. Mike Westlund, manager of the Ithaca Ten Thousand Villages, said the events was a success, generating enough in sales in this community to supply one year's worth of income to 20 families in Pakistan. After the event, Westlund heaped praise on the church and the community, but he may not have been surprised by the good results. Of all the Ten Thousand Villages stores, Ithaca has the highest per-capita rate of fair trade purchases.

Like the rest of the world, Ten Thousand Villages has stepped up its efforts in Pakistan since last week's earthquake. Its rug program Web site ( reports some damage to the schools but, so far, no word of serious damage or loss of life among artisans. But before catastrophe demanded it, the non-profit chain - with the strong support of Ithaca and Tompkins County - was saving and improving lives in Pakistan as it does in many regions of the world. New friends are always needed in tough times, but old friends deserve thanks. For helping lives in the Third World, and for teaching consumers in the First World how to make a difference, Ten Thousand Villages deserves special thanks from us all.

Originally published October 13, 2005"

Hundreds of Priceless Oriental Rugs Rescued From Hurricane Flood Damage by Canadian Business Owner - Press Release And News Distribution - Hundreds of Priceless Oriental Rugs Rescued From Hurricane Flood Damage by Canadian Business Owner: "Steve Roberts, owner of Luv-A-Rug, a Victoria, B.C., based area rug cleaning company, never imagined being directly involved with any rescue efforts in New Orleans. But a telephone call from Jackson, Mississippi, changed all that.

(I-Newswire) - "I was an exhibitor at a Carpet Cleaning Trade Show in Las Vegas when I got a frantic call from George Bell, who owns a rug cleaning company in Mississippi," remembers Roberts. "He desperately needed one of my new rug cleaning machines that I recently unveiled to the industry, so after the show, I flew down and personally delivered one to him."

When Roberts arrived in Jackson, George Bell lamented to him how he and all his best people were so busy restoring flood damaged rugs from New Orleans that he didn't have anyone else that could go back down and pick up other rugs that needed to be saved. "There are thousands of rugs rotting away down there that still can be saved," explained Bell.

Roberts immediately volunteered to go and help rescue these rugs. Even with all the TV coverage, Roberts was not prepared for the devastation he witnessed. "Trees, roofs and even buildings were all blown down. I needed to use a GPS to figure out where I was because there weren’t any street signs left standing," Roberts remarked.

It was while driving through the older upscale district of Metairie that Steve Roberts saw all the front yards piled high with the damaged contents of the houses. "Anything left in the homes during the flood was ruined," Roberts said. "People were dragging out furniture, TV's, kitchen cabinets, washers, dryers, electronics, you name it, it was out there."

Even with all this clean-up going on, people would notice the area rug cleaning van that Roberts was driving and they would chase him down to get him to look at their rugs. "People were so happy to hear their rugs could be saved," recalls Roberts.

Whenever Roberts drove by a house with a rug on a garbage pile, he would stop and ask the owners about it. Many people said, "Oh, you can't save it," but Roberts would reply, "You know what, if it's a good rug, it's worth taking a look at." He was often surprised at what was thrown away. "People would go to the heap, pull the rug out of the pile and I would discover it was a $20,000 Isfahan, or a $10,000 Tabriz, or even a $40,000 Beshir rug, all completely restorable!"

According to Roberts, the only salvageable personal item many people had in their flooded home was their oriental rug. Often it was a family heirloom. “In one trip alone, I was able to save over 80 waterlogged rugs that were covered in filth, slime and unimaginable stink,” said Roberts. “Good quality handmade rugs are extremely resilient and can be easily restored because their dyes will not run nor will they fall apart like many glued synthetic rugs even under severe conditions like what happened in New Orleans.”

To see dramatic images of flooded homes and rugs visit:"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The sacred, profane world of Islamic art : Arts Weekend : Features : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

The sacred, profane world of Islamic art : Arts Weekend : Features : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri): "The sacred, profane world of Islamic art
Robert Reed / Special to The Daily Yomiuri

"The Middle East has played a pivotal role in human civilization for thousands of years, and during its long and fascinating history it has repeatedly produced art that still has the power to engage us today." So begins Palace and Mosque, published by the Victoria and Albert Museum of London.

Written by Tim Stanley, this book offers a concise illustrated history of Islamic art while also serving as the catalogue for an exhibition of the same name composed of works from the V&A collection. Having toured to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and another U.S. venue, the exhibition is now on at the Setagaya Museum of Art in Tokyo until Dec. 4.

It is an interesting story how the V&A came to have one of the best collections of Islamic art in the world. Part of the reason for the founding of the museum--which opened in 1852 as the Museum of Ornamental Art and later the South Kensington Museum--was the tremendous success of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations held in London in 1851. This exhibition, which can be considered the first World Exposition, drew some 6 million visitors to its extensive displays of decorative art and industrial design from around the world.

From a historical standpoint, the exhibition was held at a time when there was serious concern about improving the artistic quality of British industrial design. And one of the results of the exhibition was a rediscovery of the beauty and sophistication of Islamic art. The success of the Great Exhibition prompted the British government to establish a Department of Practical Art in 1852, and creating a museum of outstanding decorative art from around the world was one of the Department's first moves.

This marked the start of today's V&A collection. In the following decades the collection grew thanks to ambitious archeological and collecting work by British Middle East experts like Sir Robert Murdoch Smith.

One of the first commentary panels viewers encounter at the current Setagaya show--Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum--offers a definition of "Islamic Art" as consisting of two separate traditions.

One is firmly based in the Islamic religion and manifested primarily in the mosques of the Islamic world. The other is secular art produced for the rulers of the Islamic world and manifest mainly in their palaces and later in the commercial industries like ceramics and textiles that they patronized.

As with early Buddhism and Christianity, Islam strictly forbade the appearance of any figures, including humans and animals, in decorative arts for places of worship or in the illustration of the religious texts of the Koran.

This was to prevent such images from becoming the object of idol worship. And, whereas images of the Buddha and Christ and other religious figures eventually found their way into Buddhist and Christian art, true Islamic art in the religious context remained free of any figures. This makes it easy to distinguish between the secular and religious art of the Islamic world.

The spread of the Islamic faith after the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632 is one of the most dramatic events in the history of human civilization. Only slightly more than a century later, the first Islamic empire extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indus valley on the subcontinent and the Chinese empire in central Asia. The Middle East was the hub of trade between the East and West and all goods traveling along the system of land trade routes known as the Silk Road and the sea routes to the East passed through the Middle East and ports like Basra in Iraq and Suez in Egypt.

The first exhibits we see in the Setagaya show aim to show how the geography of Islam influenced its arts and science. Five times a day, Muslims are expected to pray facing toward the sacred Ka'bah in Mecca. This led to the development of the astrolabe, a device to determine both the direction to Mecca and the irregular hours of prayer. Unlike a mechanical clock or a magnetic compass, the astrolabe was based on astronomy and mathematics and contributed to a rapid development of these sciences in the Islamic world.

The geography of Islam also defined the decoration of mosques, where the most important feature of the basically unfurnished architectural space of the mosque is the mihrab alcove on one wall indicating the direction to Mecca. The arched shape of the mihrab alcove became one of the few motifs allowed in Islamic art and in this show we see how its shape is used on intricately woven prayer mats and decorative wall tiles.

The only other substantial furnishing of a mosque is the minbar, the Islamic equivalent of the Christian church pulpit, which stands beside the mihrab and from which sermons are delivered at Friday prayer services. One of the highlights of this exhibition is the seven-meter tall minbar for Sultan Qa'itbay, (15th-century Egypt), which the V&A has allowed to leave its halls for the first time for this touring exhibition. The wooden minbar is ornately decorated in carved geometric patterns and ivory inlay.

With the extremely limited subject matter and motifs available for use in Islamic religious art, the written word of the Koran itself became the most important element of artistic design. Some of the most beautiful works on view in this show are glass and metal vessels decorated with stylized Arabic calligraphy and the calligraphy of hand-written copies of the Koran. Although a number of strict rules governed calligraphy style when copying the Koran, we see a very high level of calligraphic art in the copies on display in this exhibition.

The show also features many examples of the famous blue and white fritware pottery for which the Middle East is famous. Fritware is in fact the product of a long history of Middle East craftsmen trying to imitate exquisite Chinese porcelain by grinding stone and sand into an extremely fine powder in lieu of porcelain clay.

Of course, no exhibition of Islamic art would be complete without Persian carpets, and another highlight of this show is the V&A's famous Chelsea Carpet from early 16th-century Persia (now Iran). Its intricate motifs of lions in the hunt are unequalled in today's carpets.

In all, there are 105 works in the Setagaya show, including ceramics, glassware, metal ware, woodwork, ivory carving, fabrics and rugs, costumes, manuscripts and paintings. Most of the works are from the 13th to 17th centuries and are grouped for this exhibition into five sections: Mosques, Shrines and Churches: Places of Prayer; The Written Word; Courts and Courtiers: Art and Power; Ottoman Patronage; and Artistic Exchange.

The exhibits are arranged with plenty of space for each work, although the galleries were not crowded on the second Saturday of the show. One thing that detracted from the exhibits was the darkness of the galleries, even in rooms where there were no works on paper that would demand such low lighting. Still, this exhibition is sure to be an educational experience, with informative description panels in English and Japanese throughout.


Palace and Mosque--Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum

Through Dec. 4, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (entry until 5:30 p.m.). Closed Mondays.

Setagaya Art Museum in Kinuta Park, a 17-minute walk from Yoga Station on the Tokyu Denenchofu Line.

Admission: 1,200 yen for adults; 900 yen for university and high school students and seniors aged 65 and over; or 400 yen for middle and primary school students. Information: visit or call (03) 3415-6011.

(Oct. 13, 2005)"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

AP Wire | 10/11/2005 | U.S. apologizes in WWII 'Gold Train' case

AP Wire | 10/11/2005 | U.S. apologizes in WWII 'Gold Train' "Posted on Tue, Oct. 11, 2005

U.S. apologizes in WWII 'Gold Train' case

Associated Press
MIAMI - The U.S. government issued a statement of regret Tuesday for the actions of soldiers who took valuables belonging to Hungarian Jews that had been seized on a Nazi "Gold Train" during the chaotic end of World War II.

The statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department said that the government "regrets the improper conduct of certain of its military personnel" who took items that had been on the train, which was carrying jewelry, gold, artwork, Oriental rugs, china, cutlery, linens and other items.

"The United States has concluded that, although the conduct of its personnel was appropriate in most respects, it was contrary to U.S. policy and the standards expected of its soldiers" in some actions, the Justice Department statement said.

The apology was required as part of a settlement approved Sept. 26 by a federal judge in Miami between the U.S. government and about 62,000 Hungarian survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. The settlement calls for $25.5 million to be distributed to needy Jews through social service agencies around the world, with the bulk going to those in Israel, Hungary, the United States and Canada.

The "Gold Train" was captured by U.S. soldiers from pro-Nazi Hungarian forces in May 1945. A U.S. investigation found in 1999 that some Army soldiers failed to return items initially "requisitioned" from the train and used in postwar offices, such as rugs, cutlery and even typewriters.

The investigation also concluded that some property was stolen from a warehouse by soldiers. Although some personnel were caught and prosecuted, little of the property was recovered.

The government did hold an auction of remaining items in 1948 to benefit Jewish relief victims after determining that it would be impossible to identify the owners of the Gold Train property and that Hungary's then-communist government would be unlikely to cooperate.

"The United States expresses its sympathy and solidarity with these victims and hopes that the settlement approved by the district court will provide meaningful assistance to those survivors," the Justice Department statement said.

The Bush administration was under bipartisan pressure to settle what was seen as a black mark on the U.S. record in World War II. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., were among 17 senators who urged a resolution in a letter last year."

Monday, October 10, 2005

At Home In the World: Paulette Cole - ABC Home

"At Home In the World: Paulette Cole
Your partner wants to focus on growth. You want to follow a passion more than a strategy. Could you walk away? Paulette Cole recently did that with ABC Home, and she recently made a joyous return.

From: Inc. Magazine, October 2005 | Page 132 By: Lora Kolodny
In 2000, more than a decade after co-founding the New York City emporium ABC Home--the store that gave jumble a good name--Paulette Cole reluctantly left it. She and her husband and partner, Evan Cole, had separated. And they were increasingly at odds over whether to emphasize rapid growth (his choice) or socially responsible sourcing (her passion). She left control of ABC in Evan's hands and returned to the travel that had inspired much of her approach to the store.

Three years later, it was Evan who wanted a change. He went to Los Angeles and opened H.D. Buttercup, a furniture store that leases space to manufacturers and lets them sell directly to the public. Paulette moved back in--literally; she has an apartment on the top floor of the flagship store--as ABC's CEO and creative director.

Today, Paulette Cole wants to transform ABC into a 100% socially responsible world market. The trick, she acknowledges, will be to do it without sacrificing the company's $80 million in annual revenue, its 350 employees, or what more than one New Yorker

My father ran this New York institution, the ABC Carpet Store on 19th and Broadway. It looked exactly the same for 20 years, all broadloom.

When I was young, I really believed the worst was to go work for my family. So I started as a waitress at age 14 and never went without a job from that point on. Instead of going to college, I assisted an established designer in New York for two years. Finally my father convinced me--for a supposed trial period--to see how I liked working at ABC.

He wanted me to understand each aspect of the business: buying, sales, the warehouse. Everything. Right away I went to Europe to visit international markets and a factory in Spain that we worked with. I didn't even speak Spanish, but I could oversee design, and make sure this big order for wool carpet we had placed came through on time.

In the middle of that, the factory workers went on strike. It was like a coup; they were locking out the owner. They wanted to make it into a cooperative. We were determined to make our order happen and keep the factory running--we couldn't lose the business and have them lose their business. It worked. The owners and workers went through mediation and the workers got partial ownership. We placed orders for years for both the workers' looms and the owner's.

I'd witnessed firsthand how you could advance a community and its economics just by doing business.

Traveling also taught me new things about design. In the States, as a people, we're too young to know how to create a home the way they do in Italy, Turkey, or Spain. But cultures of indigenous people who have done design and craft through the generations have made it a part of their whole being. They have incredible ways to create a feeling of home, and I wanted to do this in my own life.

That was my first instinct to begin importing some of this knowledge, and to take back to New York a little piece of each place I fell in love with.

Actually, I met my husband in New York when I sold him carpet! Evan Cole, when I met him, was an agent at William Morris. His side project was an eccentric little Christmas store on 52nd Street. We really hit it off, and after the sale he invited me to visit his store. Once we were married, he came to work at the family business.

Evan was a gambler with a brilliance all his own. He was a perfect balance to my father, who taught me how to be frugal, how to stay grounded, how to make a commitment about things like real estate. Evan was passionate but operational about it all. Working with him, I learned to invest in what I was feeling.

We didn't have a business plan. But around the mid-'80s, the trend of Oriental rugs, as they were called, began. Demand in the States was so strong! We started importing.

We'd be in Europe and Asia buying rugs, and we'd fall in love with other things. That's how we started with ABC Home, just bringing back antiques. If I loved it, Evan and I trusted our customer would love it. We just started to buy things. It wasn't about a plan. Eclectic was the whole thing.

Later, just like with the Oriental rugs, I realized there were no high-thread-count linens, no beautiful jacquard sateens like I found abroad. I brought some back. At first it was like, Linens have nothing to do with anything! Where are you going to put that?

This wrinkle on my forehead--I call it the linens wrinkle because that whole phase really wasn't easy. But when people started buying and kept on buying sheets, Evan and I were fully focused on ABC Home. We incorporated early on and were always separate, financially and creatively, from my father's business.

We went from rugs to antiques to linens, accessories, gifts, furniture, and lighting. The day we moved rugs from the main floor to the upstairs floors, I felt like we had arrived. We weren't a store organized by manufacturer, or pillows in aisle 5. It was a visual experience that told a story. It was more like a museum than a store.

Seeing how you could mix any colors that appeared in nature together in the home, seeing how you could mix things from Uganda, France, and Tibet in one room--that freed people who visited us to be creative, to make their homes a collection, over time, and stop worrying about "decorating," which is all about one pretty moment. The business results were that all those items sold together. It's known as cross-merchandising today, but we were breaking a lot of rules of retail. We brought the company from zero to $80 million in under a decade breaking rules.

I realized ABC's influence when I went to big mills and said, Do you have these organic fabrics? They said no, so I suggested they get informed. All of a sudden, all the mills--and then the department stores--had the fabrics. There would be a ripple effect every time we announced we were doing something. So I wanted to start trends that could make a social impact.

Evan would say, we need to be profitable, we need to grow. Growth was his agenda; it was our agenda at first. I think that's where our visions began to diverge.

"I believe that you cannot replicate the multilayered museum experience of ABC. That's the whole point." I was all about cultural awakening, and Evan wanted to open outlet stores and create a formula to duplicate ABC elsewhere. I believe that you cannot replicate the multilayered museum experience of ABC. That's the whole point. Still, I knew that our staff needed to be led by one vision, and there were things in the world I wanted to learn and do.

We had our difficulties out of the workplace too, and separated. It was wrenching, but I left ABC Home in Evan's hands in 2000. I was sad about the diffusion of the brand. I wanted to spend a lot of time with our daughter, and to get back to travel.

During that time I joined the Social Ventures Network. They basically exist to teach entrepreneurs to address the social issues--poverty, the environment, and tolerance--through business.

By 2003 I realized that the store and its outlets were not growing in the way Evan had wanted. He had a business idea, called "manutailing," that he wanted to go and start separately. I bought his shares in 2004. I really felt it was my calling to move back to New York and take ABC on to the next level, as I see it.

Today, ABC Home has 350 employees. It isn't like I can just divest from the things that do not align with my vision, like the outlets, or some products that we now carry, overnight. There's the global community, and there's your community at work. You want to keep anyone who wants to stay, and you need to be fiscally responsible.

Nineteen percent of our volume is socially responsible. I'd love to see us at 50% in five years, 100% in a decade. But I don't know how realistic it is. A huge amount of product development needs to be done.

I look at the organic food market, at what's happened with Whole Foods. That's what we're going to bring to the home. In 10 years, you'll be able to buy a desk or a bed made by a women's cooperative in Uganda from salvaged wood as easily as you can buy an organically grown tomato today. If I can start that, and model a way that the industry can be socially responsible, then I think, I'll feel like I've really made this my own."

AP Wire | The Wertime "Silk & Leather," Show at the Textile Museum

AP Wire | 10/10/2005 | Exhibits offer ideas on Asia garments: "Exhibits offer ideas on Asia garments

Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Anyone who thinks Western fashion houses need new colors and designs might get some useful ideas from three sumptuous shows of traditional Asian dress at Washington museums this autumn.

Already on view at the Textile Museum are clothes developed over millennia by the hard-riding people of central Asia - hat, boots, sash, tunic, trousers and caftan - the last a long, loose, long-sleeved garment, worn by both men and women.

John T. Wertime, guest curator of the show called "Silk & Leather," described the ancient warriors of central Asia who sometimes spent days in the saddle, fighting or checking out new pastures for their herds. They needed clothes that would both protect them from the cold and keep their legs from chafing against their horses' flanks. Their coats had to give them room for driving a war chariot and for wielding bow, arrow or heavy bronze sword while mounted.

This "steppe style," Wertime pointed out in an interview, also had the advantage that it needed no clasps or buttons to keep on. In ancient Europe garments like the Roman toga were usually made of a single piece of cloth draped around the body. They needed constant adjustment or a clasp to hold them in place. One solution was the fibula, something like a giant safety pin.

"You know the Venus de Milo," said Wertime, referring to the ancient Greek statue, nude to the hips. "The arms are broken off, so you don't know what she was doing with them. Some people think she was wearing a single piece of cloth that just slipped from her shoulders."

That wouldn't have happened to a central Asian woman, wearing a basic shift-like gown put on over her head.

The steppe style came into contact with the clothes of more settled peoples, like the Chinese. More than 2,000 years ago the central Asian nomads developed a taste for Chinese silks. In the same period, the skills of embroidery spread into central Asia.

These features made the garments more elegant and colorful without changing essential forms, Wertime said. The elaborate caftans are the stars of the show, along with embroidered boots to be worn indoors and hats that range from little embroidered beanies to tall cones, one adorned with feathers.

"Silk & Leather" will be on view through Feb. 26, 2006.

On Wednesday, the Textile Museum will open a show of Japanese rozome. It's a kind of batik, with wax applied to parts of the fabric that the maker wants to keep unaffected when it's soaked in dye. The rozome artist applies both wax and color to the fabric with a brush, enabling more subtlety in the tints and making the result into a single artist's work rather than a team job. It's a technique more than 1,400 years old, revived early in the 20th century. The work of 15 Japanese artists will be on view.

The exhibit, organized by the Massachusetts College of Art, was hailed as the first of its kind in North America by Masuo Nishibayashi, Japan's consul general in Boston.

Why don't the rozome artists just brush pigments on canvas as other artists do? asked Betsy Sterling Benjamin, who joined in organizing the show.

She answered her own question:

"It's the love of deep color, when water-soluble dye penetrates to the root of the fiber, changing its nature forever, the chemical action that allows the striking glow of dyed fabric. Rozome artists are painters addicted to the meditative stroke of hot wax on thirsty cloth, luminous color and a quiet solitary studio."

"Rozome Masters of Japan" will close Feb. 12, 2006.

Admission to the Textile Museum is free, with a "suggested contribution" of $5.

On Oct. 29 the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will show the big, bold designs of robes favored by Turkish sultans of 300 to 400 years ago, There will be 68 of them borrowed from the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul - velvet, brocade and cloth made of gold and silver thread.

Among the exhibits is a plain silk satin robe worn by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent - a contemporary of Elizabeth I of England, whose empire stretched from Morocco to Iraq. The sultans, leaders of the Islamic faithful, nevertheless tolerated the export of luxurious silks for ceremonial robes of the Russian Orthodox church, including Christian images made by Turkish weavers.

Some robes were lent to the show by the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Like other Smithsonian museums, the Sackler does not charge admission.

"Style and Status," as the Turkish show is called, will close on Jan. 22, 2006.


Textile Museum:

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery:"

Iran News - Iran's Kish FTZ as center of foreign investments

Iran News - Iran's Kish FTZ as center of foreign investments " Iran's Kish FTZ as center of foreign investments

Monday, October 10, 2005 - ©2005

LONDON, October 10 (IranMania) - Iran's southern Kish Island can serve as the center for attraction of foreign investment, said a top business official, said IRNA.

Acting head and member of the Board of Directors of Kish Free Trade Zone Organization Abdolrahman Bushehri told Kenyan Ambassador to Tehran Ali Abbas Ali that Kenyan public and private sectors by effectively making investment in the zone can get a foothold in the big regional and Central Asian markets.

Bushehri referred to lack of any restrictions on industrial investment, a 15-year tax exemption, duty free import of machinery and raw material and free transportation both inside and outside Iran as some of advantages of investment in the zone.

He said there are plans to expand air, port and marine transport facilities, improve the water, electricity, sewage, internet and telecommunication services in the area for this purpose.

He added that location of the Bank of Iran and Europe and Standard Chartered Bank in Kish as well as imminent inauguration of an oil, gas and petrochemical stock market there will give boost to foreign investments.

The Kenyan diplomat said that his country is willing to make investment in the zone, adding that this is why he and his companions are visiting the area to get first hand information on advantages of investment in Kish FTZ.

Ali said Middle East is a lucrative market for Kenyan tea and Kenya eyes markets in the region and Central Asia, hoping that Kish FTZ can play a constructive role in that connection.

He said a top-ranking delegation would shortly visit Kish for the same purpose.

During his stay in Kish FTZ, the Kenyan ambassador visited the industrial units, infrastructural projects and tourist attractions there."