Freud's Study and consulting room as arranged in both Vienna and London display an opulence which is quite remarkable, even extraordinary. The decor is quite unlike the utilitarian furnishings of most present-day doctors' or even psychoanalysts' offices. This opulence is created largely by the glowing colours and rich textures of the Oriental rugs on the floors, draped on the couch and over the furniture.
Freud's collection is of very fine quality and it is possible that he may have obtained at least part of his collection from his brother-in-law, Moritz Freud, an importer of carpets who was married to his sister Mitzi. Vienna, so close to the westernmost boundary of the Ottoman Empire, has always been a flourishing centre for the trade in Oriental carpets. This trade, and the nineteenth century taste for Oriental decor, developed the fashion for the lavish use of oriental carpets and rugs.
Perhaps the best-known rug in the collection covers the famous psychoanalytic couch. With a thick pile coloured in deep red and blues, it transforms the plain and simple couch into a fitting landscape for the retelling of dreams. It was woven by one of the tribes of the Qashqa'i Confederacy whose territories range through the west of Iran. The rug is decorated with traditional patterns; bold geometric shapes are filled with stylised plants, deer and peacocks.
At the foot of the couch is a table covered with a rug of a deep russet red. Regarded as the finest piece in the collection, it is an asmalyk woven by a Turkoman tribe, the Tekke nomads who range from the Caspian Sea as far as Afghanistan. The word asmalyk describes a five-sided rug which was one of a pair intended to cover both sides of the lead camel in a wedding procession. The wool has a fine silky texture, and the pattern constructed from the shapes of stylised birds occurs only rarely. While Freud's collection of antiquities attracts most interest from scholars and the public, the rugs which enrich the study demonstrate that Freud also had an eye for quality and beauty in textiles.
Turkoman Hatchlu rug
Turkoman tent decoration