In 2009, the astronauts on the International Space Station carried out a series of experiments based on suggestions from the public. One of them, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, arguably became the first person to actually fly on a magic carpet, floating in space on top of a small piece of carpet he brought with him.
From the One Thousand And One Nights to Russian folk tales and now the ISS, the myth of the flying carpet has captured imaginations across continents, perhaps the inspiration and foundation for humanity’s yearning to take flight.
CCC might be the most well-stocked rug store in Melbourne, but even we can’t provide flying carpets. We can, however, offer a window into this most enchanting of myths. The urge to defy gravity, time and distance is a constant in human history and a powerful tale to spin in literature.
Whether weaving through heaven in Mark Twain’s ‘Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven’, or transporting King Solomon to lunch in Medina after breakfasting in Damascus, this most magical of transportation devices occurs in the literary weft of numerous cultures. For example, in Russian literature, the flying carpet is one of several magical gifts the magician Baba Yaga bestows on the likeable but simple Ivan The Fool to enable him to travel between kingdoms and win the heart of his true love.
For many, the flying carpet is most associated images of Arabian Nights, Aladdin and the exotic oriental trading routes of the medieval and Early Modern period. Numerous legends exist of the use of flying carpets in battles between great Persian kingdoms and even to aid eager readers at the library of Alexandria to access the dustiest tomes on the highest shelves.
Perhaps the pervasiveness of this myth is tied in to the enduring appeal of oriental carpets, particularly those made in modern-day Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. These lands were once the heart of the Silk Road, key to international trade and full of thriving cities populated by artisans. As well as trading in raw goods like spices, precious stones and minerals, money could be made by crafting transportable items from these raw materials. Hence, artisans selling carpets crafted from silk transported from the Orient to wealthy merchants and traders from Europe and beyond.
Even today, the staggering attention to detail and quality of these handcrafted rugs is hard to surpass. Good-quality antique rugs, carefully cleaned and cared for by generations of owners, regularly trade for tens of thousands of dollars. The pure silk Isfahan rug, made in central Persia, was last bought in 2008 for the staggering sum of US $4.45 million, making it the most expensive rug ever.
Thankfully, at CCC’s carpet and rug store, we can offer you a huge choice of carpets and rugs to create the look and feel of a magical carpet at down-to-earth prices. Call in to either our Blackburn or Bayswater store to see our current stock.