The largest silk carpet in the world is on show at the Carpet Oasis in Dubai this year.
It costs one million dollars and is the most expensive carpet at the exhibition.
"Every now and then, the most expensive carpet is sold, so that title passes on to the carpet next in line," says Khalid Ahmed Al Muadhin, member of the organizing committee of the show.
As part of the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Customs Authority annually organises Carpet Oasis, an exhibition where carpet dealers and buyers from all over the world come together to share their interest in the handmade wear. "Only handmade carpets are exhibited," says Khalid.
This year held at the Dubai Airport Expo next to Deira, about a 170.000 carpets are displayed over an area of 12000 m2. Compared to 40 carpet dealers last year, this year there are 70 carpet sellers presenting their silk, woolen or covered with jewelry handmade carpets.
Bijan A. Saadi has been there since the beginning. "I came to buy, when I visited the Carpet Oasis in 1996," says the Iranian carpet dealer from Shiraz, "but since then I have been here almost every year displaying my own carpets."
Selling carpets was destiny for Bijan. "My father was in the carpet selling business, and I learned from him. I tried to study a subject, but could not imagine myself having a salary-based job. I decided I want to follow my fathers' footsteps and sell carpets."
Originally located in Japan, the exhibition is an opportunity for the Iranian carpet dealer, as business is not going as well as it used to, explains Bijan. "Due to the tsunami of last year, people reserve their money for primary needs."
But at the Oasis things are going well. "There are carpets I couldn't sell in Japan, and I sold them here."
Although Iran is known for its carpet production, dealers come from all over Asia. "We have people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China. But Iran is known to produce the best qualitative carpets," says Khalid and many sellers deal in carpets coming from Iran, regardless their nationality.
"Customers have their own preferences," explains Khalid. "Europeans often opt for the dark-colored carpets from Afghanistan, whereas Arab customers prefer the silk carpets from Iran."
Besides individual customers, many carpet dealers visit the exhibition to purchase new ware and carpets are even sold among the exhibitors from the stands themselves.
"Since January 5, when the Carpet Oasis started, we have sold 3000 carpets, valuing 10 million dirham all together. Compared to the same period last year, that is a 25 per cent increase," Khalid adds.
With the carpet sale, the Oasis makes a considerable contribution to the Dubai Shopping Festival.
"The prices that are paid for a carpet are quite high, you see. The cheapest carpet would be around 400 dirham."
At the stand of Bijan, the most expensive carpet costs a rough Dh400,000 . "It is a piece of silk, decorated with 1000 pieces of jewellery."