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Hadi Maktabi Rare Carpets and Antiques Gallery – a cabinet of fine curiosities
For over a hundred years the name Maktabi has guaranteed fine, quality carpets. Dr Hadi Maktabi, whose great-grandfather founded the carpet empire in Beirut, took the family tradition to new heights in 2014 by opening his specialized Rare Carpets and Antiques Gallery.
The stylish gallery, situated at Tabaris, specializing in Asian Art by and large also referred to as Islamic or Middle Eastern Art, boasts an eclectic and highly exclusive array of primarily fine antique Persian carpets. However, Maktabi’s stock includes a rich selection of Armenian, Caucasian, Azerbaijani, and a few Central Asian artifacts, notably from the former Soviet Union’s Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Maktabi sometimes stocks carpets from Mogul India and also has a selection of antique textiles such as gowns, caftans, dresses, bed spreads, mostly made as dowry elements for a young girl to take to her bridal home, etc. old prayer rugs, purses, “jehaz” (trousseau), and mirror cases.
The gallery furthermore has precious objects of Asian Art, Islamic, Indian, Chinese, metal work, wood work, some Roman antiquities, porcelain, ceramics, all to a large extent showcasing the mastery of Islamic Art.
Set in an elegant, enticing modern space, conceived by Batimat in collaboration with Maktabi, the wooden floors and lava stone walls, pair well with the spectacular, large carpets on display, allowing the rich colors of the rugs showcased to come out.
Maktabi, who holds a PhD in Islamic Art and specialized in the field of Persian rugs at Oxford University and lectures at AUB, is passionate about the objects his gallery holds and knows the background history, religious and political history of each carpet, the social, human, and ethnographic specificities, as well as the chemical components, dye materials, materials, cotton, fiber, wool, silk, the knots, etc.
To the gallery owner, each carpet effectively is like a poem, a text in a language the gallery owner masters.
The concept or idea behind the Hadi Maktabi Gallery is that of an art gallery rather than a commercial showroom that specializes in rare finds – a novel concept for Beirut and a heaven not only for carpet collectors.