The History Behind Probably The Most Famous Carpet In The World

Red carpet

You don't have any idea what is this all about, right?

It was just a silly question that just popped up in my head. And it all started with a TV show presenting celebrities on the red carpet from last year's Oscar ceremony. So "the red carpet"... I dug a little bit and found not one, but several facts behind this popular byword.

First, I would like to tell that I'm not really sure that the Red Carpet is the most famous carpet of them all. If you think about it, there are many carpets that have somehow come under the spotlight or received attention for their unique histories.

Carpet Aladin

Let's take the Magic Carpet for example. Although    this is a fictional object there are so many stories and tales with the presence or appearance of a magic or flying carpet. We just have to admit that it has become popular among more than one generation. Only the story of Aladdin (and his adventures) has been issued hundreds of times (as a part of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights /"The Arabian Nights") and brought to the big screen as well. Personally peaking, Carpet, from the 1992 Disney movie “Aladdin”, is one of my favourite characters.

 

Turning back to the real life, we can mention the Ardabil carpet (which can now be seen in Victoria and Albert museum, London) and the Portland International Airport carpet.

The first is considered one of the most important pieces of carpeting in the world for its history, craftsmanship and preservation. It was woven around 1539-1540 in one of the royal factories of Safavid dynasty (Persia). That was a time when the royal court was searching and recruiting skilled artisans for the factories, so all Persian rugs woven during these years are considered to be a form of art.

the Ardabil carpet

The second one got a cult following. I'm not exactly sure what is the main reason for that, but it somehow happened. The carpet has its own hashtag and thousands of photos on Istagram. The only fact that's interesting to me is that the shapes in the carpet pattern were designed as a an abstract depiction of runways. The runways which air traffic controllers had been seeing at night from the tower.

Portland International Airport carpet

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested you can see the new design of PDX airpotr carpet explained here - >

 

 

So … there are many famous carpets, but in my opinion the first place still goes to the red one. And here are some facts about it:

  • The first known mention of a red carpet was in a play written in 458 BC - Agamemnon by Aeschylus. The scene: The wife of the main character greets her husband when he returns from Troy with offering him a a red path to walk upon.
  • Very often in Renaissance painting the carpets laid on the steps of a throne or at other places connected to important figures are red or with a dominant red background colour.
  • However, the origins of the phrase "red-carpet treatment" are believed to be in the new world, or with other words – the USA. It's all about trains. There was a time when railway transport had its golden ages and the competition between the companies in that field could be easily called a war. In 1902, the New York Central Railroad inaugurated 20th Century Limited or "The Most Famous Train in the World". The first passengers of the train were directed by plush crimson carpets to board the train in New York and Chicago. The company used the red carpet as a one more way to make the event look more luxurious and the passengers to feel valued and important.
  • Once it became a byword for an upper class, respect and importance, the Red Carpet was used for the arrivals of many monarchs, presidents, popes, celebrities, etc.

the Red CArpet

 

Nowadays the Red Carpet can be seen in different shades of red, in different designs and patterns and made of different materials. Pictures of it can be seen in the fashion and celebrity magazines. Hours of TV time are dedicated to the events where the Red Carpet is the gorgeous background of the occasion.

But when the event ends and the people of high importance have walked their way, the famous carpet stays there, alone … and dirty. As a high traffic area, for its colour and texture to be preserved for the next glamorous event, it need to be taken care of. So in the end it is the carpet cleaning experts (ordinary people) who help the legend to be what it is. One more proof that small things matter even when its all about a carpet.

cleaning the red carpet

 

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