The Nomadic Rug Traders Collection at Auction

Since 1975, Ross and Irene Langlands have shared their passion for oriental rugs at Nomadic Rug Traders in Sydney – offering carefully curated exhibitions of exquisite rugs from across the globe. Now moving into a new era, the couple are delighted to offer their trading stock of finely crafted and antique oriental rugs at auction.

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Irene & Ross Langlands, Suzani Enigma, Uzbekistan, exhibition for TAASA and The Oriental Rug Society, 11.7.23Sparking a Passion for the Unique & Exquisite

Unique and rare Oriental rugs from Turkey to Persia to Turkmenistan have seduced keen collectors for hundreds of years. Woven into carpets are the stories of people and places, intriguingly revealed through motif, pattern and fabric.

Ross Langlands recalls the moment that he discovered his passion for oriental rugs, their history and creation.

Both Irene and I were working in Switzerland in the 1960’s. I was a teacher and a friend of mine, who was a jazz musician, introduced me to the wholesale rug markets in the freeport where I worked for the next five years.

“We travelled a lot to the countries of origin – Turkey, central Asia, India and later Iran – before deciding to start our business in Australia showcasing exceptional oriental rugs.”

Pictured: Irene & Ross Langlands of Nomadic Rug Traders in the Sydney gallery

A yurt in the back gallery, Nomadic Rug Traders SydneyCurators of Woven Stories

When Ross and Irene Langland’s Nomadic Rug Traders opened in 1975, rug dealers generally sat and waited for customers to come through the door.

Inspired by dealers like David Black and Clive Loveless in London, the Langlands brought beautiful old rugs to Sydney audiences by operating like an art gallery. Their curated, themed exhibitions featured unique and exquisite pieces, offered well-researched information and featured opening nights to welcome gallery guests.

This was the modus operandi when Ross and Irene opened their modest ‘hole in the wall’ in Rose Bay. They inspired, educated and entertained connoisseurs and collectors.

Following the move to larger premises in Surry Hills, the exhibitions became more ambitious. There were thematic shows featuring rugs of a certain type or with common motifs. “These exhibitions were great drawcards” explains Ross, “and they were an important way of informing our clients about the people – mainly women – who created these beautiful objects.”

Pictured: A yurt in the back gallery, Nomadic Rug Traders

Ross, Irene, Tom and Ahmet Solak dring the Coptic Textile Exhibition at NRT, in conjunction with Clive Rogers, UK, in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, ca 1981

Beyond Rugs: Textiles, Tents and Animal Trappings

Ancient Coptic Textiles was one of Nomadic Rug Traders’ first high profile exhibitions, held in collaboration with friend and English dealer Clive Rogers.

Included in the exhibition were rare items including complete tunics, textile fragments with roundels from the 2nd CE of the Roman period, and later examples of looped pile weave from the Islamic era.

Under the banner of Rare Oriental Rugs, over 50 curated exhibitions were held, many accompanied by a colour catalogue which also provided customers with valuable research.

Ross states: “Opening nights were always loads of fun, and with proper presentation and information, rugs strangely tend to sell themselves… we prefer it that way!

Birds Beasts and Botehs (A very fine early Saruk rug from central Persia featuring a unique overall pattern of exotic animals including lions, goats and dragons, surprisingly of the Welsh variety. Maybe the inspiration for such an extraordinary design came from a European textile. Mid 19th century. Size: 147 x 108 cm)Other exhibition highlights included a spectacular showing of 19th century Persian medallion carpets in 1990 – “Central medallions are a common feature of Persian carpets, but these were truly beautiful weavings from the villages of Persia that were imposing and dynamic” – and an exhibition featuring the nomadic Turkmen tribes of the Central Asian steppes.

That exhibition introduced gallery goers to the traditions of tribal weaving, featuring not only rugs but also tent and animal trappings.

The motifs and symbols featured in old oriental rugs are of endless fascination to anyone engaging with them,” says Ross. “Their origins may be lost but universal motifs exist, and the stylisation and arrangement of motifs in the field tell us much about the circumstances of the people who made the rug. The recurring use of motifs or dyes can also teach us a lot about tribal alliances, trade routes, or migration.”

Ross cites a very fine mid 19th century Saruk rug from central Persia (pictured) featuring a unique overall pattern of exotic animals including lions, goats and dragons, surprisingly of the Welsh variety.


"Perhaps the inspiration for such an extraordinary design came from a European textile," he adds. "Where else did the Welsh dragons come from 150 years ago in rural Persia?"

Bakshaish carpet and Melas prayer rug, Nomadic Rug TradersThe Nomadic Rug Traders Auction

After 50 years of trading in antique rugs, Nomadic Rug Traders are closing their gallery doors and offering their trading stock for auction through Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers.

This exquisite collection of over 200 lots provides a wonderful opportunity to discover the world of antique oriental rugs, and acquire the rare, the beautiful and the collectable.

Nomadic Rug Traders 
Sunday 2 June | 2pm
Time Online Auction

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