The origin of carpet weaving in Europe is obscure, although some European countries did produce flat weaves and tapestries more than a thousand years before the introduction of pile carpets.
Evidence shows that Oriental carpets were first imported after 1000 AD, so the technique of pile-knotting would at least have been known if not immediately imitated.
The spread of pile carpets throughout Europe can be traced to the presence of the Moors in Spain, the Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), the travels of Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) and the embassies of Venice from the 13th century onwards. It was also helped by the colonial expansion of Portugal which began in the 14th century, with later settlements in the Persian Gulf (1509), Goa (1510) and Japan (1542) before the country was conquered by Philip II of Spain in 1580.
One of the oldest fragments of European pile carpets is preserved in the Schlosskirche at Quedlinburg in the Harz mountain region of what was formerly East Germany. This is a portion of a rug known to have been made in the time of the Abbess Agness (1186 - 1203) and which must have originally measured 24 feet by 20 feet. On it, we see rows representing scenes of Martianus Capella's Marriage of Mercury and Philology.
It was woven using the single knot like the one used in Spanish carpets, although no link with Spanish weavers has been determined.
In 1255 when Eleanor of Castile married Edward I of England, she brought with her many fine Spanish rugs, which are said to have come from Cordoba or Granada.
In most of England, however, rushes and hay were strewn as floor coverings, even in palaces and large houses up until the early 17th century. Some lords were even reported to have the hay rugs changed everyday. Paul Hentzer, a German traveler, wrote that he personally saw hay strewn on the floor of Queen Elizabeth's presence chamber at Greenwich Palace in 1598.
Gradually, the wealthier British started using pile rugs throughout their homes.
In old European paintings, all depicted floor coverings resemble Oriental carpets, which is not surprising since Europeans were importing Persian rugs long before they themselves learned the craft.
Many believe that Venice imported rugs from Asia Minor in the 15th century and that Europeans from all over preferred Oriental rugs. By the end of the 17th century, Persian and Turkish carpets were among the highest valued possessions in Europe. Kings and emperors would give silk Persian carpets to other political leaders as gifts to gain their ally or friendship.
By the mid 18th to 19th century almost all countries of Europe were weaving rugs of their own. The top producers were Spain, France, Poland, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland, Romania, as well as Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Today, handmade European rugs are rare as the industry cannot compete with the quality and cost of labor of Oriental rugs.
Instead, some European countries such as Belgium have developed significant machine-made rug industries, mainly after World War II.
Movie poster collecting has become popular in recent years. Before your start your collection, there are a few things you should be aware of.
In recent years, the hobby of movie poster collecting has become a worldwide passion. Posters that could have been purchased ten years ago for $15 are now going for about $160. Classic posters have become more appreciated as they are becoming harder to find. Over the next few years, they will become even more valuable. As with all collectibles, movie posters are collected for a variety of reasons. Some collectors love the artwork and images on the posters. Others collect for nostalgic reasons. Different categories are collected. One person may collect only classic posters such as Gone With The Wind, while another will add only classic Disney such as Bambi or Mickey Mouse.
Before you think of starting a movie poster collection, there are a few things you should be aware of. Before 1980, posters were made in a variety of sizes. A one-sheet poster measures 27" x 41" - the size of a regular movie poster. An insert is 14" x 36". The artwork depicted on these is usually the same as on the one-sheet poster. Three sheet posters are 41" x 81". This is approximately three times the size of a one-sheet. A half-sheet is printed with credits and artwork that run horizontally. This poster is longer than it is wide.
As with all collections, condition is a great factor when placing a value on posters. A mint poster is one that looks like it just came off the printing press. There should not be tears, stains, holes or bleed through on a mint poster. These posters are rare and the most valuable.
Near-Mint is a poster that is in excellent condition. It may have edge wear or a slight wrinkle. If a poster was made before 1990, you will see fold marks. This does not decrease the value. These posters were folded when delivered to theatres. The artwork of pre-1990 posters should not have any defects.
Very Good condition is a poster that may have slight stains, fading, small tears or minor bleed through. Though these defects may affect the outside area of the poster, the artwork must be in tip-top shape.
Posters in fair to poor condition may have tears, paper loss, fading and defects in the artwork. The rarity of the poster determines the value. Rare posters in poor condition can be restored.
Choose a category for your poster collection and research it extensively. This will give you self-confidence when you buy, sell, or trade items. Vintage posters must be handled with much care. Paper can tear easily if handed excessively. You should also wear white cotton or silk gloves. Skin oil will leave blemishes on the poster as it ages.
Posters should always be stored flat, never rolled or folded. Keep them in a cool, dry place out of reach of sunlight. UV rays will fade the color and images on the poster.
If you wish to display your poster collection, use a plastic sleeve that is acid-free. These cost between $9 and $15, buying the more expensive is well worth the preservation of your posters. Use care when you insert the poster. If possible, recruit an extra pair of hands to ensure the poster does not catch on the sleeve and tear. Be sure to insert an acid-free backboard into the sleeve with each poster. Backboards can be purchased at picture framing stores. This prevents the poster from sticking to the plastic sleeve.
Restoration of a poster is very expensive. Never attempt to do this yourself. If the poster is worth it, hire a professional restorer. Both market and sentimental value should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to have a poster restored.
If you wish to have a poster framed, take it to a professional framer who will recognize its worth. Framed posters should always be matted to prevent them from touching the glass. Backboard should always be acid-free. If your poster is worth more than $200 have it backed with linen and double mounted.
A linen backing makes posters more durable and helps to protect them. Professional restorers use this method to return posters to their original condition. Posters that are linen backed bring higher prices.
Now that you know the basics that apply to movie poster collecting, all you have to do is choose a category, research it and set out to find your first poster. Don't buy the first one you see. Take your time and make a good choice. Buy something that you especially like. Our first poster will always be dear to your heart and will have great sentimental value. It probably will remain in your collection forever.
Movie poster collecting can bring much pleasure to both the collector and those around him though don't expect friends and family to be as excited about your most recent addition as you are. After all, it is your collection.
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