Glendale News-Press: White House will display Armenian Orphan Rug next month

Mark Kellam of The Glendale News-Press reports on the Armenian Orphan Rug:

The White House will be displaying the Armenian Orphan Rug, also known as the Ghazir Rug, as part of an exhibit at the White House Visitors Center from Nov. 18 to 23, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced on Wednesday.

The exhibit – titled “Thank You to the United States: Three Gifts to Presidents in Gratitude for American Generosity Abroad” - will showcase the rug, as well as the Sèvres vase, given to President Herbert Hoover in appreciation for feeding children in post-World War I France, and the Flowering Branches in Lucite, given to President Barack Obama in recognition of American support of the people of Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2010.

The Armenian Orphan Rug was woven by orphans of the Armenian genocide in 1920, and presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 as a symbol of gratitude for American aid and generosity for U.S. assistance during the genocide.

The rug, which measures 11 feet, 7 inches by 18 feet, 5 inches, has more than 4 million hand-tied knots and took the Armenian girls in the Ghazir Orphanage of the Near East Relief Society 10 months to weave.

At the time, President Coolidge noted that, "The rug has a place of honor in the White House where it will be a daily symbol of goodwill on earth.”

The rug has been in storage at the White House for decades. Schiff and the Armenian community have worked with the White House to find a way for the Ghazir rug to be sensitively and appropriately displayed.

“The Armenian Orphan Rug embodies the resilience of the Armenian people through their darkest days and serves as a poignant reminder of 1.5 million Armenians who were murdered in the first genocide of the 20th century,” Schiff said in a statement. "It also reminds Americans that our government was a central player in efforts to call attention to the plight of the Armenian people and provide relief to survivors.”

“Since first raising this issue with the White House, we have worked to find a dignified way to display the Rug so that Americans can come to see this important artifact, and learn about an important chapter of the shared history of the Armenian and American peoples,” he added.

Schiff and Rep. David Valadao, who represents the 21st Congressional District, sent a letter along with 31 other members to President Obama last year urging the Administration to allow exhibition of the rug.

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By:  Mark Kellam
Source: Glendale News-Press