Decaso Celebrates Visionary Rug Dealer Peter Pap















Recognized globally as one of the most forward thinking rug dealers, Peter Pap has shared centuries of history with the San Francisco design community through his expertiese in antique rugs, carpets and tribal weavings. His collections have graced many of the country’s top antiques shows including the New York Winter Antiques Show, the Philadelphia Antiques Show and the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.  

Now Pap has released an exclusive collection of Nomadic Rugs with DECASO, the new online decorative arts society for the world’s top modernism and antique dealers. This weeked he will launch ‘Artful Weavings’ an exhibit of a rare collection of rugs that have not been on the market in many years, at the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Art, February 9-12, the leading tribal art fair showcasing arts of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Polynesia, the Middle East and Africa. This collection has been vetted multiple times so that each piece has the highest quality of design and craftsmanship.  We sat down with Peter to gain insights on how the rug industry has changed and the message behind his exhibit.  


How has the rug industry changed over time? The industry has gone through several changes since I started my business on my own in 1975. At that time there was a big appreciation for antique rugs. Collectors, mainly from Europe, were collecting through private collections or estates. There was a much deeper appreciation for antique rugs in Europe because they have been buying them since the 1500s. Whereas enthusiasts in the United States started much later in the 1800s. Antique rugs became very popular in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.  

As we entered the 2000s, a big shift began with a majority of the design world when designers started to move away from designing with colorful rugs.  Traditionally the design of a room would start with the selected rug but this approach began to shift and the rug often became the last purchase and therefore the demand for more neutral shades grew. Due to this shift, some rug dealers began altering antique rugs by washing them with hydrochloric acid and failed to disclose they were altered. Even today, much of what we see are the acid washed rugs.

Today, many rug dealers and collectors want to see more of the beauty in interior design coming from the rugs.  I have stayed true to the art form and continue to work with designers on using more antique rugs as the focus of their work. Thanks to Decasso, who has made a commitment to quality and correct representation, I feel confident an new wave or appreciation will return.

Dazkiri yastik rug, circa 1800, Turkey, from the Swan collection

How does the California rug aesthetic differ from the rest of the world? California designers tend to use the neutral and acid treated rugs. Many lean more towards Asian and contemporary pieces. The demand for rugs that go well with the Americana aesthetic is for the primitive styles like the Serapi and Heriz Rugs.

Afshar Rug, circa mid 19th century, Persia, from the Corwin collection-a focus of the exhibit.

Luri gabbeh, circa late 19th century, Southwest Persia, from the Cook collection

 –What is the focus of the exhibition?  It was important in this show to feature rugs that display the weaver’s work versus the person who designed the rugs. I have always stayed away from the pieces made in big workshops. While the workshop pieces are supreme examples of craftsmanship, I prefer the weaver to speak to me through a rug. By looking at a rug you can see where the process began and ended and the different formats that were formulaic.

With this show I want to reflect the high level of criteria and taste that I have applied to my work for over 40 years. The collections I pulled from for this show are from collectors who posses this same level of passion and have set the bar high for both beauty and authenticity. The show features over 150 pieces from five collectors. It’s a culmination of their work that will tell a great story about each collector and a story about the tribes where the pieces came from. 

Follow our Instagram today as Peter takes over, sharing a view inside his exclusive show. Click HERE to view the entire collection on DECASO.  


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