In Middle Eastern societies, carpets are commonly used in house interiors. Present even in the most humble habitations, they are simultaneously used as decorative and domestic useful objects. Calouste Gulbenkian had a deep knowledge and interest in oriental carpets, perhaps due to his Armenian origin and his family roots. In fact, this interest grew and became apparent quite early in his life. In 1890, Gulbenkian published a book about a journey that he had made across the Transcaucasia region, in which he included an extensive and detailed chapter on the topic. Later on his life, he managed to add to his art collection, a set of rare and precious rugs and carpets from Persia, Caucasus region and Turkey.
It is therefore not surprising that Calouste Gulbenkianís Personal Library holds key books on the history and description of the main types of oriental rugs and carpets. In reality, however, these books are part of a larger library section concerning the history, art and culture of the people and civilizations that flourished in the Near and Middle Eastern regions. Due to professional and sentimental reasons, Calouste Gulbenkian had a special relationship with those specific global regions, therefore regarding this section as something rather precious. The main works by American Professor Arthur Upham Pope, one of the greatest experts in Persian civilization and its art, can be found amongst this section. Arthur Pope was president of the American Institute of Persian Art and Archeology and one of Calouste Gulbenkianís Islamic art advisers. Indeed, by regularly corresponding with each other, Arthur Pope often expressed his expert opinion on numerous occasions, one of which relates to the purchase, in 1939, of a silk Persian carpet dating back to the XVI century. Actually, some of the artworks that are part of Calouste Gulbenkianís Islamic art collection are reproduced in the ten-volume publication that Pope edited: Survey of persian art from pre-historic times to present.
Persian textiles and their technique from the sixth to the eighteenth centuries including a system for general textile classification / by Nancy Andrews reath and Eleanor B. Sachs. - New Haven : Yale University Press, 1937.
Rare eastern carpets of the XVI and XVII centuries : a magnificent royal persian animal carpet, the marquand imperial persian rug, polonaise gold and silver woven court rugs..., a rare Louis XIV Savonneri Carpet, a XVI century veneto-perse velvet fragment, also spanish renaissance examples / foreword Leslie A. Hyam. - New York : William Bradford Press, 1932.