If you say “Tiger Rug” in a world of carpets and rugs, the first thing that comes to mind should be the Tibetan Tiger Rugs. Tibet has developed many of the most amazing, original, and vivacious versions of the design in the majestic and rich history of tigers as inspirations for the rugs, not because of any promotional domain over the theme – which there most probably was not.
As a result, the focus of this article will not be on the details of vintage Tibetan Tiger Rugs, but rather on the product as a highly significant benchmark and source of inspiration for the fairly recent and concurrent making of Decorative Tiger Rugs.
Tibetan Tiger Rugs of the ancient and old kind can be classified into one of three classifications, however some academics further sub-categorize such designs for technical reasons already indicated; something we believe is a touch excessive. The first category is what we believe to be the archetypal tiger rug: the ‘flayed’ artwork displays a pelt complete with a tiger’s arms, claws, and head attached, as its name implies. Second, there is the ‘abstract’ design, which depicts a tiger’s stripes in a more representational and conceptual fashion, and to which the phrase “apparent modernism of their patterns” refers. The third category is a ‘paired’ style, which depicts tigers wandering in pairs, which is an obvious and direct manifestation of Chinese influence and represents the Yin and Yang. If sub-categories are mentioned, they usually only add description to the major categories, such as double-headed, realistic pelts, or wavy stripes, and so on.
Odekard’s ‘Takri 6’ is a manifestation of abstraction with the idea of modernity previously mentioned. Furthermore, if one wanted to be pedantic, the rug could be defined as an “abstract double-flayed tiger rug,” with the tiger heads clearly visible and endless-knot patterns delightfully replacing the opposite front paws. To add to the abstraction, the rug’s design is condensed to a two-color palette that is well-suited to the ornamental market’s demands, rather than a strictly aesthetic interpretation. Tom DeMarco continues to abstract the tiger’s unchanging stripes in Kooches’ “Takri,” with an incredibly simple design whose roots may be all but unknown when studied out of context.
Tamarian’s ‘Tigris’ is an excellent example of what we termed second iteration adaption. Ornamental demands and Western influences on coloration and design are immediately reflected in the change in style. Its all-over patterning is highly accommodating to furniture arrangements, the color palette – while modifiable – is given in an approachable palette, and it is a good-looking carpet that will work with most carpets. It lacks the captivating ‘wow’ of previous Tiger Rugs for other purists, but then again, a good majority of buyers are not amongst these purists, and namely lies the mass appeal.
With this comes a strikingly distinct and completely modern version of the tiger, one that rejects the limits of the past in favor of something fully contemporary; a ‘global’ iteration. ‘Tiger’ is a beautifully woven, 100 percent silk masterpiece handcrafted in India, and is part of the Wildlife Collection. Erbil Tezcan’s son, Anka, created the rug, which was inspired by love for adventure and animal wildlife. Anka transformed a photograph of a tiger into a classic Mamluk Artwork. The delicate picture of the Tiger springing out of the medallion represents “rebirth” and a sense of freedom people experience when we are out and one with nature.
Of course, whether you find Tiger Rugs appealing is a question of personal preference. Nevertheless, there is a remarkable and persistent allure to animal patterns that puts them back into vogue on a cyclical and regular basis, and a Tiger Rug can win hands down.