Even before the time of this seductive scene, these almost magical objects played a significant role in numerous cultures around the world. And judging from their appearance in tales of magic and myth, as well their status as symbols of sophistication, it is obvious that these works of textile art have charmed people for ages.
So, have you figured out to what I am so coyly alluding? If you guessed carpets and rugs, you got it! That's right, if you believe the story, a carpet was instrumental in Cleopatra's enchantment of a Roman leader.
And carpets have an even more impressive legacy in the myths and folklore of the Middle East. Just imagine the magical flying carpets described in the Arabian Nights if you want to understand how important the weaver's art was to storytellers and dreamers alike. In fact, I cannot think of a better example to explain the nearly mystical power accorded to these objects in the Middle East than the flying carpet.
While the idea of carpets that fly may be fanciful, the allure of Oriental carpets and rugs is obvious - they are gorgeous examples of craftsmanship and design. The ornate patterns and rich colors dazzle the senses, inviting us for a moment to leave the realities of the world behind and imagine a realm of magic and wonder. In is therefore no surprise that carpets play such a significant role in stories like those in the Arabian Nights.
In the West, no less magical of an enchantment was cast upon art connoisseurs by the lavish carpets of William Morris. And while Morris's carpets lacked the ability to soar through the air without assistance, they did adorn some of the most luxurious interiors of the Nineteenth Century. Morris even paid tribute to tradition, for the designs he and his firm created were in part inspired by the elegant patterns of Persian carpets. Indeed, because of their beauty and charm, the carpets and rugs designed by Morris have been, and continue to be, coveted by collectors and admirers.
Carpets and rugs still weave their spell of enchantment over us today. The beauty of carpets just seems somehow eternal - and there is much more than a touch of magic in a well worn Oriental rug. I think Cleopatra was definitely on to something.
This book is a splendid tribute to the life and work of important Nineteenth century artist and craftsman William Morris. Graced with both abundant color images and informative text, the book reveals why Morris is still admired as a brilliant and innovative designer.