Live Online Talk: Planes, Trains and Instagram: 100 Years of Carpet Dealing
Dr Hadi Maktabi (DPhil, 2007) is a well-published art historian and an avid Instagrammer. He also runs a carpet-dealing family firm that goes back three generations: the Maktabi business was established in Isfahan 1911 and moved to Beirut in 1920. This illustrated lecture tells the Maktabi story, how this vibrant business sources, restores and manages historic carpets from Iran and across the Middle East, and how the Beirut port explosions impacted the family in August 2020.
Born into the 4th generation of the Middle East’s oldest dealership of Oriental & antique carpets, Hadi Maktabi initially specialised in Mathematics at Oxford University before completing his PhD in Islamic Art with a focus on Carpet Studies under the tutelage of the late Jon Thompson. He has been an advisor to a number of museums including the V&A, Louvre, the Carpet Museum of Iran and the Imam Reza Shrine Museum of Mashhad. He assisted the latter in investigating and cataloging their substantial collections during which he discovered a hitherto unknown carpet signed by the elusive weaver Mohtasham and also rediscovered the famous Safavid silk garden carpet. A regular contributor to Hali and other academic journals, Hadi taught Art History at the American University of Beirut for ten years before founding his own gallery for antique carpets & textiles in Beirut. His main focus is the period of 150 years linking (or separating?) the Safavid Age to the Revival era, which formed the topic of his doctoral thesis and subsequently was developed for his book The Persian Carpet: The Forgotten Years (2019). In 2018 Hadi was the recipient of the inaugural Carpet Star Award for Exemplary Antique Carpet Retailer, presented by Carpet Collector Magazine (Hamburg) and Domotex Trade Fair (Hanover). That same year he curated the carpet section of the landmark exhibition of Qajar Arts at the Louvre, “L’Empire Des Roses”, towards which he lent the museum four royal Qajar carpets from his collection.