Ask The Readers — Oriental Rug and Mystery Vintage Photo

by Katy on March 30, 2012 · 47 comments

Today is a day when I need answers from you, the readership. Because although I may seem all knowing, it turns out that I’m not. (This is an example of self-deprecation humor, as I actually know pretty much next to nothing.)

Question #1

I bought a rather wonderful hand knotted oriental wool rug at Goodwill for the fantabulous price of $12.99. And to make things more impressive, it still had its oval store tag on it. However, at 4-1/2 by 2-1/2 feet, it’s a slightly awkward size. I’ve tried it in the entry way, (too cluttery looking) in front of the sink, (too likely to get ruined from water) and next to my side of the bed, (too pretty to be hidden.) Which brings me to the question:

Should I sell this rug and set the money aside to buy a large bedroom rug, which is what I really want? Or, should I keep this rug in the hopes that the perfect spot for it will finally occur to me? And also, how much should I sell it for?

The problem is that I’ve kind of bonded with the rug, as it’s in perfect condition and the colors and pattern are just gorgeous. Here, take a look for yourself:

Should I stay or should I go?


Question #2

I recently hit up the Salvation Army thrift store on a 50%-off day and was drawn to an 8″ X 10″ vintage photograph that at $3.75 was too good to pass up. Why? Because the photo is of a military unit encamped in front of a snow capped mountain that at first I thought was an un-exploded Mt. St. Helens. However, an astute clerk pointed out that the trees were all wrong, (should be huge Douglas Fir trees) which only deepened my interest.

Here, see for yourself:

Where am I? Click on me to enlarge the photo.

Is this photo from  WWII or the Korean War, or maybe even not during wartime at all? Do you see the military vehicle to the far right of the photo? And most importantly, which mountain is in the background?

Thousands of you read The Non-Consumer Advocate on a daily basis, so I’m hoping that someone, (or someones) can help solve this mystery.

I thank you in advance, and am looking forward to your always sage and informative answers.


My friend Lori found this old photo, which is of Mt. Fuji in Japan. You can see that it’s the exact same angle of the mountain, with the bump on the right side. So, that’s one mystery solved!


Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim March 30, 2012 at 11:13 am

If you really cannot find a suitable spot in your home for the rug then I’d sell it. No matter how much you like it, if it can’t be used and ends up as clutter then it isn’t worth the money you paid for it.

Just a thought…is there any way it could work as a wall-hanging??

I have absolutely no idea about the picture. It reminds me of the pics in Conde Naste where people have to guess its location 🙂

Kim from Philadelphia


Katy March 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

Wall hanging? That hadn’t even occurred to me, now I have something else to ponder.




Laure March 30, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I was just going to post the same idea – wall hanging. I have seen such rugs used as wall hangings in several people’s homes. They tend to work best when centered over a piece of furniture – bed, sofa, entry table… My understanding is that some small rugs were actually designed to be used as wall hangings.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi March 30, 2012 at 11:21 am

My guess is that the rug is a Muslim prayer rug. It seems like the right shape/colors/size. We used to be Muslims and had something similar, so just by best guess 🙂

As for the photo, I’m now curious too! Can’t wait to hear what others think!


lisa March 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

Keep the rug, at least for now. It’s a nice, well-woven piece. You’ll rearrange your home over time, and it will find a place. Wall-hanging is a great idea.

The picture looks like Mt. Ranier to me.


Michele March 30, 2012 at 11:46 am

I was going to suggest hanging it up, too!


Sharon March 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

Re: photo – could it possibly be Mount Fuji? Something about the shape of the mountain made me think that right away. Interesting!


Laura March 30, 2012 at 11:48 am

I thought of Mt. Fuji too for some reason. As for the rug, I’d try it in a few more spots, and if it doesn’t work out anywhere- sell it. Good luck on your quests!


Leanne March 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

I vote Mt. Fugi as well.


Liz March 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Do you have a fireplace with a screen, so that you could put the rug in front of it? Failing that, I vote with Kim on turning it into a wall hanging.

No clue on the photo whatsoever.


Trish March 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Rug: sell it and get what you want, why keep something that does not fit? Someone else may love it, have the perfect place for it, and you get the funds to find your perfect rug.
Photo: I also think it is Mt. Fuji, perhaps during the post WWII occupation of the Japanese islands? Of course, it is only a guess, but fun to speculate.


Gerard Kiernan March 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Growing up, my parents always had persian rugs hanging on the walls. Some were wool, some silk. Hand-knotted ones with zillions of knots per square inch for some. They usually had some type of pointing motif so the rug could point to mecca. They ranged in price from $1000 up to $25000, believe it or not. If you like the rug in your house, keep. If not, there is someone who’ll like it.


Katy March 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm

It is pointing, so that would make sense.



Jenn H March 31, 2012 at 3:20 am

But doesn’t it seem to be pointing in 2 directions? The inner larger peaks go up (in the picture) and the 2 outer, thinner arrow looking strips seem to be pointing down (relative to the picture). That might get confusing!


mary martha March 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Another vote for using it as a wall hanging.

Also another vote for Mt. Fuji. I would guess during the occupation, but I can’t expand it enough to get a good look at the uniforms.


Katy March 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I had also wondered if it was Mt Fuji. At first I had thought no, but I looked at photos and am leaning towards that.



Hannah March 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I have this inspiration pic pinned on pinterest for my own apartment:

I like how they have more than one smallish rug in the same room. As soon as I saw your rug that’s what I thought of. Now I’m dying to see if I can find anything like that in one of my local goodwills.


Stephanie March 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I emailed my husband in Afghanistan. He’s a huge military history buff, so between him and the other guys, surely someone will know!


Stephanie March 31, 2012 at 7:59 am

The consensus is that it is American servicemen at Mt. Fuji post WWII.


Lisa C March 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I immediately thought that was Mount Fuji too & after a quick Google Images search, it looks likely. I’d guess those are American servicemen post WWII, though it’s hard to tell without being able to zoom in more.


connie March 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Just found one on ebay and its for $390 and is 3×5….so if you can get even half tis much I would go for it just to see and meanwhile ponder more ideas. Selling it could bring you enough for your dream master bedroom.×5-Gabbeh-gabeh-Rug-gold-rust-green-High-Pile-Wool-hand-knotted-in-India-30-60-/330672222766?pt=US_Contemporary_Rugs_Carpets&hash=item4cfd99b22e


Karen March 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I think much would depend on the quality etc as far as how much you could get for your rug. My husband brought home several of these Muslim prayer rugs from his travels in Kuwait, spending maybe 20 bucks apiece on them. They are gorgeous in color and design. My son then converted to Islam, so they’ve even come in handy. You never know!


Laura March 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

It’s Mt. Fuji, from the distinctive slope on the right and the trees. There were many bases around Japan after WWII and during the Korean war, but it seems too close to the mountain for any of the U.S. bases that are active in Japan today (we lived on a base in Japan for 3.5 years and had a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from our upstairs window!).


Reuth March 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

If you like the rug, then why not put it on your side of the bed? YOU will see it even if nobody else does. I know you say it’s too pretty to hide, but if you sell it, you won’t see it at all. If it makes you happy, put it there.

That said, my grandmother made 4 small rugs (like the one you show, not from the latch-hook kits) and while she put them on the floor, her kids wanted them preserved after she passed, so they hung them on the wall. They make great wall hangings.


Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry March 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Agreed. If you really love it, enjoy seeing it every day on your side of the bed! Also, you know it won’t get water damage or heavy dirty-shoe traffic, so it will wear more slowly. Allowing you to enjoy it longer, or keep it in great condition for if you decide to sell it later!


Marianne March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

i try to remember only to buy things i will use now, that fit now, on me and in my life. so if it doesnt fit right on the floor (either in your mind or true to space) you should set it free to a home where it will be loved.


Leanne Opaskar March 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Have you considered using it as a table runner?


AnnW March 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I agree with Mt. Fuji. It is definitely an encampment, see the tents, for field maneuvers. The problem is, I don’t think there were any Army bases around there. They could be Air Force personnel, because after the war, three bases were built close to MT Fuji. Tachikawa, Johnson, and Yokota. If you could get one of those photo viewers, you could ascertain if the troops were Army or not. It could be troops right after the occupation, in late 1945 or 1946. I think you have something here. Don’t take it with you to Japan, in case it was right after the end of the war. When I lived there in 1955, they were used to us more.


Anne Cross March 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm

It looks like Japan to me, too. Some of the boys look so young — could they be boy scouts and not soldiers?


Sam March 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm

The soldiers look like they could be Japanese Katy. I don’t know what mountains are in Japan, but YOU might 🙂


Bauunny March 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I vote to sell it and wait for the perfect rug to find you. I don’t know about the pic. It loos more Korean War than WWII to me (but that is a “wag” at best). 🙂


Kira March 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm

If it is authentic really awesome hand tufted nice wool it could cost over a thousand or so. Are the knots hand tied? If it’s just a nice rug, but looks more factory made that you could get at home depot or penney’s or kohl’s or tj maxx they sell them for maybe 90 to 120 dollars. You’d get more back than what you bought it for. If it’s clutter get rid of it.


Katy March 30, 2012 at 6:13 pm

It is hand knotted.



Bonnie March 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Another vote for hanging it on the wall if you have a suitable spot. That would keep it undamaged so that it’s still salable if you decide later that you don’t love it. The store tag doesn’t even have to come off.


Ellen March 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

The top of Fuji looks more conical than the volcano in your picture. I think it might be Yotei (on Hokkaido) which is similar to Fuji. Check out this picture: If you take a mirror image of this picture the little bumps on the right side of your picture match pretty well. Love your blog and I’d sell the rug before you get any more attached (it is beautiful).


pat March 31, 2012 at 3:37 am

Sell it. You think you have bonded with it it is because you are attracted to this style. You really want something larger so now you know exactly what to look for in a larger rug. Sell it and save the money for that newer, more appropriately sized rug.


Cindy March 31, 2012 at 5:44 am

I have seen pictures with a small rug draped over a trunk, table or other piece of furniture.


Yvette March 31, 2012 at 7:51 am

I’m with the wall hanging group for the rug. It’s always been hard for me to walk on some of the beautiful rugs I’ve seen. Find or make a version of a quilt wall hanger.
The Mountain looks like Mt. Fuji to me.


Lucia March 31, 2012 at 8:17 am

I’d sell the rug, perhaps to an antique shop if you can find one, just to get the maximum value or at least an idea of its value, and then save the money for the rug you really want. I find when I keep stuff to find the right place for it the stuff turns into junk im selling at my next yard sale. I’m digging myself out of that hole right now.

As to the pic, It looks a little World War II, but it almost looks earlier to me. But heck, what do I know. Do they have trees that are that type in japan? I’m going to do some looking around. Is there nothing on the back of the pic to help identify it?


Linda March 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

SELL the rug, get what you really want.


Rebekka March 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Just a guess but as an alternative to Mt Fuji could it be Mt Shasta? Tule Lake japanese internment camp was nearby…
I am so curious now. Good mystery!


PinonCoffee March 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

If you love it, I vote you keep it, at least for a while. The perfect place might occur to you. I mean, you can always get rid of it later.


Barb M March 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I’m for hanging that rug! I have seen a few hung in friend’s houses in the past, especially the hand knotted silk ones. They looked great on the wall.
I’d like to think that is Mt. Fugi in the background, too. Maybe if you took it to a military museum or sent the image to one of the Smithsonian’s, you might be able to find out for sure.


Madeline March 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Sell it. You’re not sure where to use it-
get some bucks.find a more “perfect” fit!
later on–that’s the fun of it!


Ann Seago April 2, 2012 at 4:51 am

Good morning Katy:
you should sell it and use the money to buy a fabulous rug that’s the right size for your house. can’t help with the photo — maybe it’s WWII vintage and the volcano is the famous Japanese one…


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