I chanced upon an excerpt from the book Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski, that expresses my own views on Carpets. I am publishing it here on my blog for you to enjoy.
When I want to cheer myself up, I head for Ferdousi Street, where Mr. Ferdousi sells Persian carpets. Mr. Ferdousi, who has passed all his life in the familiar intercourse of art and beauty, looks upon the surrounding reality as if it were a B-film in a cheap, unswept cinema. It is all a question of taste, he tells me: The most important thing, sir, is to have taste. The world would look far different if a few more people had a drop of taste. In all horrors (for he does call them horrors), like lying, treachery, theft, and informing, he distinguishes a common denominator – such things are done by people with no taste. He believes that the nation will survive anything and that beauty is indestructible. You must remember, he tells me as he unfolds another carpet (he knows I am not going to buy it, but he would like me to enjoy the sight of it), that what has made it possible for the Persians to remain themselves over two and a half millennia, what has made it possible for us to remain ourselves in spite of so many wars, invasions, and occupations, is our spiritual, not our material, strength – our poetry, and not our technology; our religion, and not our factories. What have we given the world? We have given poetry, the miniature, and carpets. As you can see, these are useless things from the productive viewpoint. But it is through such things that we have expressed our true selves. We have given the world this miraculous, unique uselessness. What we have given the world has not made life any easier, only adorned it – if such a distinction makes any sense.
To us a carpet, for example, is a vital necessity. You spread a carpet on a wretched, parched desert, lie down on it, and feel you are lying in a green meadow. Yes, our carpets remind us of meadows in flower. You see before you flowers, you see a garden, a pool, a fountain. Peacocks are sauntering among the shrubs. And carpets are things that last – a good carpet will retain its color for centuries.
In this way, living in a bare, monotonous desert, you seem to be living in an eternal garden from which neither color nor freshness ever fades. Then you can continue imagining the fragrance of the garden, you can listen to the murmur of the stream and the song of the birds. And then you feel whole, you feel eminent, you are near paradise, you are a poet.