Essays by James Opie


Nabi

I met Nabi, a nine-year-old street urchin, in Afghanistan’s northwestern capital, Herat, in 1975. By day Nabi kept company with anyone who would pay or feed him, but especially visiting foreigners, including rug dealers like me. Read more....

Good
Driver

I sat in an aisle seat a few rows from the front of the plane and through the pilot's open cockpit door saw a vast, inviting view of an orange-tinted Central Asian dawn. I approached the cockpit and said to the pilot, “You must see many spectacular sunrises.” Read more....

Working with a Master Dealer:
A. W. Noor Sher

Abdul Wassi (A. W.) Noor Sher was the most successful rug dealer in all of Central Asia when we first met. In contrast, I was one of the smallest of dealers. Moreover, I was a dealer in a serious jam. Read more....

How I Entered the Oriental Rug Business

The man most responsible for my entry into the rug business was Hajji Gholamreza Rahimpour, a Shiraz dealer with a very small shop and, from my perspective, a huge heart.  We met during my first visit to Iran in 1970, when my wife at that time, Patricia, and I bought a few things from him. Read more....

Working Shoulder to Shoulder with Hajji Rahimpour

You cannot earn good money from a bad transaction.”

I returned annually to Iran and Afghanistan during the 1970s, and until the 1979 Islamic revolution intervened, Hajji and I conducted steady business, grounding my career-long specialty in tribal rugs. Throughout this period a unique friendship grew. Read more....

Krikor Diradourian, Survivor/Dealer

My retail shop in Portland had been opened five or six weeks in 1975 when an immaculately dressed man, about age seventy, entered and walked directly to a room-sized Kashan in the center of the room. He deftly inspected the rug by turning over a corner with the toe of a shoe and I thought, “Surely a dealer.” Only dealers manage these toe flipping gestures so adroitly.Read more....