Antique Caucasian Kuba Runner With Green Kufic Border
Outstanding Antique Mohtashem Kashan Rug From Great Family Collection
Contemporary Natural Dye Persian Kashkuli Rug With Modern Stripe Design
Fine Antique Heriz Serapi Carpet With All Over Design
Important Mohtashem Keshan Lattice Design Rug
Contemporary Persian Kashkuli Rug, Natural Dyes and Hand Spun Wool
Extremely Fine New Persian Bidjar, Natural Dyes
9.1 x 14.11 Antique Heriz Serapi Carpet, Mina Hani Design
Important Motashem Keshan Carpet, Garden Design
4.6 x 7 Antique Bidjar Rug, Arts and Crafts Aesthetic
5.2 x 6.1 Antique Serapi Heriz Rug Green Spandrels
Contemporary Genuine Persian Kashkuli Rug Landscape Design
3.9 x 19.8 Important Northwest Persian Runner Rug, Circa 1875 Or Earlier
9.4 x 11.10 Antique Northwest Persian Bakshaish Carpet
New Natural Dye Persian Bidjar Runner With Harshang Design
Antique Sultanabad Rug, Sky Blue Field With Herati Design
9.4 x 12.10 Antique Bidjar Carpet, Quatrefoil Design
Large Northwest Persian Kurdish Bag Face, Diamond Design
World Class Mohtashem Keshan Rug
3.5 x 5 New Natural Dye Persian Khamsehbaf Rug
4.10 x 9 Exceptional Antique Lattice and Shrub Bidjar
View Our Extensive ORIENTAL RUG GLOSSARY by scrolling down
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Quadrifoglio Gallery is a nationally regarded source for rare antique Oriental rugs and contemporary natural dye Persian carpets from what we feel is the world’s best current Oriental rug production.
Based in the Boston, MA area in historic South Natick, Quadrifoglio Gallery Oriental Rugs is located 15 miles west of Boston’s Back Bay and Beacon Hill neighborhoods; 5 minutes from Wellesley center, Sherborne and Dover; 15 to 30 minutes from Newton, Brookline, Lexington, Belmont, Concord and Weston; and less than an hour from North Shore towns including Marblehead and Manchester (MA); and South Shore towns including Hingham, Cohasset and Norwell.
Quadrifoglio Gallery Oriental Rugs offers shipping of antique and contemporary rugs to all fifty states and internationally.
Respected as scholars in the field of antique rugs, Quadrifoglio Gallery owners Helen and Douglas Stock are 25 year members of The Art and Antique Dealers League of America, A New York City based consortium of approximately 100 of the leading antiques dealers in North America; and of the international antiques organization CINOA. Douglas Stock is a long time member of the Antique Carpets Vetting Committee at The Winter Antiques Show in New York City and has served as committee chairman three times. The Stocks have spoken at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. on three occasions and have written numerous articles on antique rugs for magazines and trade publications.
Within the general field of antique Oriental rugs, Quadrifoglio Gallery specializes in antique Persian Fereghan Sarouk rugs and antique Mohtashem Kashan rugs, including important examples, from central Persia; antique Bidjar rugs and larger decorative carpets from northwest Persia’s Kurdistan Province; and antique Serapi rugs and room size carpets from the Heriz district in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan Province.. We offer a selection of antique Persian tribal rugs and bags woven by the south Persian QashQa’i, Bakhtiyari and Afshar tribes; and antique rugs and bags by Kurdish weavers from northwest Persia. Quadrifoglio Gallery also offers a selection of antique Caucasian rugs, including world class examples of antique Kuba rugs and runners; Shirvan rugs; Kazak rugs; and Shah Savan bags and bag faces.
Please call (781) 690-5710 to ask Douglas or Helen Stock questions regarding our Oriental rug selection, or to schedule an appointment at our shop or your home.
While Quadrifoglio Gallery’s primary market for both antique Oriental rugs and contemporary Persian carpets is the Boston to New York City to Washington DC. corridor, we have antique rug clients across the United States and internationally. We are delighted to work with clients from Boston; New York City; the Greenwich, CT and Westchester County areas; the Princeton and Philadelphia areas; Washington D.C. and Alexandria VA; to Los Angeles and San Francisco CA; to Cincinnati and other areas in the Midwest; to Florida; Toronto; London and other American and international cities. We offer shipping to all fifty U.S. states and internationally.
Quadrifoglio Gallery offers expert cleaning, restoration and appraisals of antique Oriental rugs and antique Persian carpets.
Please, view our Oriental Rug Glossary (below on this page) and Research Archives page for educational information regarding antique Persian rugs, antique Caucasian rugs and antique Turkish rugs.
Quadrifoglio Gallery exhibits at select antique shows and Oriental rug shows, including the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC).
In addition to dealing in antique and contemporary rugs, we have long been interested in antique English and Dutch Delft pottery from the 17th and 18th centuries and broker various forms of antique Delft ranging from chargers, plates and bowls to vases and other forms. We are especially interested in antique English Bristol Delft chargers. Please, call with antique Delft requests.
Thank you for your interest in Quadifoglio Gallery.
We look forward to helping you build your collection or furnish your home with these wonderful art forms.
Douglas and Helen Stock
ORIENTAL RUG GLOSSARY
ANTIQUE ORIENTAL RUGS / ANTIQUE PERSIAN CARPETS
INTRODUCTION TO ANTIQUE ORIENTAL RUGS:
The phrase “Oriental Rug” is a broad, generic category:
Antique Oriental rugs were woven in various Asian countries, including Persia, Turkey, The Caucasus Mountain region of southern Russia, Turkmenistan, India and China. The phrase “Persian Rugs” (or Persian Carpets) applies exclusively to weavings made in what was, in the 19th and early 20th century, still referred to as “Persia” (modern day Iran). This is an important distinction and you will see it reflected throughout the Quadrifoglio Gallery website. For example, Heriz is a village located in the province of Azerbaijan in northwest Persia. Hence, a 9 foot by 12 foot piece woven in Heriz would be referred to as an “Antique Heriz Carpet, Northwest Persian…”; where a 4 foot by 7 foot weaving from the Shirvan district in the Caucasus would be referred to as an “Antique Shirvan Rug, Northeast Caucasian”. The majority of our antique rugs and carpets are Persian, and Quadrifoglio Gallery primarily focuses on village rugs of the Serapi, Heriz, Bidjar, Senneh and Sarouk Fereghan types, and “Mohtashem” type rugs and carpets from the central Persian city of Keshan; but you will also find a fine selection of antique tribal and village rugs, saddle bags, bag faces and Yastiks from the Caucasus and Turkey. Please, feel free to visit our Oriental Rug Glossary page for more educational information.
People sometimes ask, “What is an ‘antique’ rug?”
Various definitions can be used but we prefer defining an “antique” Oriental, and especially Persian, rug or carpet as one woven prior to World War I. There are various reasons for this, and they are more thoroughly elucidated on our Frequently Asked Questions page, but, in essence, the reasoning for this definition is as follows: there is little, if any, difference between an Oriental rug woven in 1899 and a rug woven in 1901. No significant cultural shift occurred that specifically altered rug production in the narrow chronological window making the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. Similarly, the definition sometimes applied to antiques, of various types, being items that are 100 or more years old makes little sense when applied to Oriental or Persian rugs. In 2050, a rug woven in 1950 will be 100 years old; but the immediate post World War II period was a low aesthetic point for Persian rug production, and Oriental rug manufacture in general. The beauty of designs had deteriorated significantly compared to rugs woven in the late 19th century and synthetic dyes were almost exclusively used from the 1940s until production started to improve during a renaissance period that began around 1980 with the promulgation of the DOBAG project in Turkey and the commercial reintroduction of natural dye productions that followed. The World War I period did, however, alter the cultural landscape of some rug producing nations. Many Oriental rugs and carpets, especially Persian rugs, from the 1920s do reflect significant differences, aesthetic and often in the quality of dyes and wool used, from those woven in the late 19th century and the first ten or fifteen years of the 20th century.
ANTIQUE AFSHAR RUGS: Antique Afshar rugs were woven by the Afshar tribe who inhabited Kerman province in south central Persia. Afshar weavers tended to be very creative, often rendering bold, geometric designs that featured more open space than some of their south Persian counterparts from the Luri, Khamseh or QashQa’i tribes. Afshar rugs, and saddle bags, also tend to feature a heavier weave than some other types of antique south Persian tribal rugs.
Rugs and bags woven by Afshar weavers were woven on both cotton and wool foundations, with more nomadic style pieces generally woven on wool warp threads (the vertical foundation threads) and sometimes featuring red wool wefts (the horizontal foundation threads). Rugs woven by sedentary villagers in the Neiriz area generally are heavier and woven on cotton foundations. A variety of designs are used including multi medallion formats, the “Dragon and Phoenix” design, the highly prized “Lattice” Afshars featuring Tulips, and central medallion designs, sometimes with dramatic “open fields”. Navy blue, red, ivory and occasionally sky blue are all used as the main field color in antique Afshar rugs.
Afshar weavers also made saddle bags for their personal use, including miniature bags and larger bags, generally in pile techniques. The backs of Afshar bags generally feature the Kilim weave technique (flat woven) and often are plain or relatively unadorned red wool. The kilim backs of antique Afshar bags do not tend to be as elaborate or colorful as the kilim backs on QashQa’i bags. The bag faces themselves, however, often feature a beautiful range of colors and charming geometric designs.
ANTIQUE BAKHTIYARI RUGS: Antique Bakhtiyari rugs are from south central Persia, including the area known as the Chahar Mahal region. Antique rugs woven by members of the Bakhtiyari tribe span a wide aesthetic and quality range, from fairly coarsely woven nomadic rugs to fine workshop rugs that are occasionally signed and/or dated. Many designs are included in the weaving nomenclature of Bakhtiyari weavers with perhaps the most immediately recognizable style being the “Garden” panel designs. This format features various motifs enclosed in a patchwork of generally square panels reflecting alternating colors. This basic format is sometimes articulated with the panels being more rounded rather than the more typical squares. Antique Bakhtiyari rugs can be woven on either wool or cotton foundations, with the nomadic examples typically on wool warps and workshop rugs and carpets generally featuring cotton warps. The wool quality of old and antique Bakhtiyari rugs tends to be of medium to high quality and natural dyes were featured in Bakhtiyari rugs seemingly as late as the 1930s or even later. Certain rugs and carpets from by the Bakhtiyari people were commissioned for tribal leaders and reflect a very high level of craftsmanship and artistry; these pieces are often signed.
ANTIQUE BAKSHAISH RUGS: Antique Bakshaish rugs and carpets were woven in the Heriz district in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan Province. The village of Bakshaish seemed to produce rugs and carpets before some of the other villages from the district did, and carpet production seems to have ceased there around the time of the First World War. Bakshaish carpets are distinguished by their charming and sometimes archaic designs. They arguably have the most character of any pieces carpets produced in the Heriz district, sometimes featuring human figures or birds along the lines of what one might expect in tribal rugs. Bakshaish weavers tended to select earth tones including sky blue, salmon, brown and camel. The weave of Bakshaish carpets tends to be pliable, with some pieces even woven on wool foundations. A range of designs is seen, from the Herati design to graphic medallion designs and all-over designs that can almost resemble Sultanabad carpets. Since few room size carpets were produced further north in the Caucasus Mountain region of southern Russia, of all Persian carpets available in room size formats, Bakshaish carpets tend to most closely approximate the aesthetics of antique Caucasian rugs .
ANTIQUE BIDJAR RUGS: Antique Bidjar rugs were woven in the province of Kurdistan in northwest Persia. Often referred to as “The Iron Rug of Persia”, Bidjar rugs are notable for their densely packed construction which generally features two, three or even four weft (horizontal foundation) threads that are compressed during the weaving process. This results in a stacked (double knotted) weave that is dense, although not necessarily stiff, and results in a very durable textile. Bidjar rugs from the second half of the 19th century are typically woven utilizing wool warp (vertical foundation) threads and wool wefts. Finer examples from the early 20th century tend to be woven on cotton warps, though wool wefts are still sometimes used. More loosely woven pieces that reflect more of a cottage industry style, as opposed to the finer Bidjar workshop rugs and carpets, can feature wool warps and wefts well into the 20th century. The wool in Bidjar rugs tends to be of extremely high quality, a result of using wool from sheep raised in this mountainous area. Natural dyes are typically used through the 1930s, though synthetic reds and pinks can certainly be seen in pieces that appear to be as early as the 1880s. The Bidjar design nomenclature is very broad. The classically (Safavid Dynasty) derived “Herati” design of stylized diamonds, leaves or fish, and small flowers, is the most often seen design in Bidjar rugs, but weavers also used the “Harshang”, “Mina Hani” and “Afshan” designs, as well as dramatic “Open Field” formats. Bidjars rugs can be fairly coarsely woven and quite geometric, or very finely woven and elegant. Since Bidjar is a village, the designs are rarely, if ever, as truly floral and curvilinear as rugs from cities such as Tabriz, Keshan or Isphahan. Regardless of the type of antique rugs and carpets dealers might specialize in from the standpoint of commerce, virtually any dealer who truly appreciates rugs as an art form admires antique Bidjar rugs on a personal level.
ANTIQUE CAUCASIAN RUGS: The term “Caucasian Rugs” derives from the Caucasus Mountain region of southern Russia and is a broad, catch all category that would include antique Kazak, Karachoph, Bordjalou, Sewan, Lori Pambak, Karabagh, Genje, Lenkoran, Talish, Shirvan, Marasali, Kuba, Zeichur, Perepedil, Karagashli and Daghestan rugs, among others.
ANTIQUE ENJELAS RUGS: Enjelas is a village in west Persia’s Hamadan Province. With the exception of rugs woven in the village of Mishin near Melayer, the weavers from Enjelas wove perhaps the highest quality rugs in the entire province. The classical “Herati” design of stylized leaves (or fish), flowers and diamond shaped motifs is favored. Most Enjleas rugs feature salmon or brick red fields, though the occasional navy ground piece is seen. The pile tends to be thick, with dyes and wool of high quality. A few rugs from the very early 20th century seem to have been woven in Enjelas but the majority of rugs appear to have been woven in the 1920s and 1930s. Enjelas rugs tend to be very durable and suitable for high traffic areas. One way of identifying Enjelas rugs is their distinctive weave which features knots with a lot of twist to them and a granular feel, similar to Senneh rugs but with thicker pile and not as fine.
ANTIQUE FACHRALO KAZAK RUGS:
A sub-group of the general Kazak rug category. Antique Kazak rugs were woven in the southwest Cuacasus. Fachralo Kazak rugs tend to feature a medallion and “Mihrab”, suggesting a rug was woven as a “prayer rug”. Background colors can include sky blue, green and red. Fachralo Kazak rugs tend to be on the squarish size, often about 4 feet by 5 feet in size, though some larger examples are often seen. Pile depth is typically thick; the quality of the wool tend to be high and natural dyes are the norm. Antique Kazak rugs tend to feature multiple wool weft threads that are often red. Warps are typically beige or brown wool. Nearly all Kazak rugs are geometric in design and Fachralo Kazak rugs tend to feature ample open space between motifs.
Antique Fereghan rugs were woven in the central Persian province of Sultanabad. Generally thinner and more pliable than the rugs known as “Fereghan Sarouk” rugs, Fereghan rugs are finer than the other types of rugs and carpets from this region known as Sultanabads or Mahals. Antique Fereghan rugs typically come in smaller rug sizes and in long and wide runner sizes known as “gallery carpets” or “Kellehs” (typically about 5 feet by 10 feet or slightly larger). Antique Fereghan rugs most typically feature navy blue fields and are often decorated with the classical Safavid format known as the “Herati” design, or variants thereof. A distinguishing feature of both Fereghan and some Fereghan Sarouk rugs is the yellowish green color that often oxidizes and corrodes leaving a beautiful sculpted effect. Antique Fereghan rugs in the “Dozar” (approximately 4.6 x 6.9) size sometimes feature a semi-open field with Cypress trees or large, stylized floral forms. This classic format can be among the most beautiful of all the designs in the nomenclature of Fereghan weavers. Antique Fereghan rugs were known as “The English Gentleman’s Carpet”, as they often appeared in the homes of the British aristocracy in the late 19th century. Antique Fereghan rugs tend to feature high quality wool. Although Fereghan rugs can be quite finely woven, they are not packed as densely as the Sarouk rugs also from this province and, hence, are of medium durability. Large Fereghan carpets were woven but in limited numbers, the majority of larger decorative carpets from this area being of coarser weave and falling more into the Sultanabad or Mahal categories. Over time, I have seen very fine rugs from the Fereghan area that, on a visceral level, strike me as having been commissioned by the Anglo-Swiss firm Ziegler & Company for the British or other Western markets. I do not have any particular corroboration for this theory other than that the colors appear similar to larger Sultanabad carpets attributed to Ziegler but the weave is of much higher quality. This suggests the possibility of a stratified production, with both fine rugs of the Fereghan type and coarser carpets of the Sultanabad and Mahal types both produced by Ziegler.
ANTIQUE KARAJA RUGS: The village of Karaja is located in the Heriz district in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan province. Due perhaps to proximity to the Caucasus, where tribal weaving in geometric styles was prevalent for a long period, Heriz area rugs tend to feature geometric designs. Karaja rugs and carpets are immediately recognizable relative to other village weavings from the Heriz district since they are the only types of rugs to feature a “single knotted” construction, where all of the knots are tied on a flat plane. All other rug types from the Heriz area, including Heriz, Bakshaish, Ahar, Mehriban and Goravan rugs and carpets are woven utilizing “double knots”, where half of each knot is stacked, and often offset, over the lower half of the knot. This is referred to as an “alternate depressed warp”. Karaja weavings do not feature alternate depressed warps, therefore, and, hence, tend to have a lighter and more supple handle than most other Heriz area weavings.
Karaja did produce pieces in the late 19th century but the vast majority of Karajas from that period seem to be room size carpets, with relatively few scatter size rugs produced. Karaja carpets of the late 19th century period are often referred to as antique “Serapi” carpets. They feature spaciously arrayed geometric designs. The weavers appear prescient in anticipating the radical geometry of “modern” design that would appear in the west in the 20th century. Early Karaja weavings feature subtle but often magnificent colors, including ample use of sky blue, green, salmon, coral and ivory. The weave in these early pieces tended to be quite fine, with the back of the carpet often resembling a tapestry with very little foundation visible.
As Karaja weavings progressed into the 20th century, they tended to become coarser, though they still reflect the distinctive weave technique. The bulk of production seemed to shift from room size carpets to scatter rugs, with the latter generally featuring a triple medallion format. Antique Karaja rugs are very popular as furnishing pieces since they combine much of the geometry that makes tribal weavings popular. Unlike nomadic rugs, that tend to be woven on wool foundations, rugs from the village of Karaja generally feature cotton warp (vertical foundation) threads that make them heavier and more prone to lie flat on the floor, making them generally more suitable to high traffic than their nomadic rug counterparts.
ANTIQUE KAZAK RUGS: Antique Kazak rugs are tribal weavings that were produced in the the southwest Caucasus Mountain region. There are quite a number of Kazak sub-types, including Karachoph Kazaks, Fachralo Kazaks, Bordjalu Kazaks and Sewan Kazaks. Two of the most famous types of Kazak rugs are “Eagle Kazaks” and “Cloudband Kazaks” and, curiously, neither of these two are truly Kazak rugs but were woven further east in the Karabagh region.
Antique Kazak rugs are nearly universally thick and fluffy. They tend to be more coarsely woven than Shirvan, Kuba and Dagestan rugs, which were woven in the northeast Caucasus. A fair number of Kazak rugs were woven by Armenia weavers and these occasionally include a date or inscription.
Antique Kazak rugs woven prior to circa 1900 nearly always feature entirely natural dyes. Pieces made in the early 20th century start to include synthetic pinks and other colors. One way of distinguishing antique Kazak rugs from some of the other types of rugs woven in the south Caucasus, such as Geneje or Karabagh rugs, is that antique Kazak rugs tend to have multiple red woolen wefts (horizontal foundation threads), where some of the other types use beige or brown wefts.
The best antique Kazak rugs are highly collectable and can be among the most expensive Oriental rugs, on a per square foot basis, made in the 19th century. Their geometric designs and bold colors make them not only great textile art and suitable for display on a wall or table, but fantastic decorative pieces, equally suitable with 18th century furniture or modern art.
A type of southwest Caucasian tribal rug, representing a sub-group of the broader Kazak class. Antique Karachoph Kazak rugs tend to be among the most popular and valuable of all the various types of antique Kazak rugs. They are one of the few types of 19th century rugs to consistently feature green fields. The pile tends to be thick and Karachoph Kazak rugs are nearly universally woven on wool foundations. The warp (vertical foundation) threads tend to be beige or brown wool, while the wefts (horizontal foundation) threads can sometimes be red wool. One of the most recognizable Karachoph formats consists of a large, central medallion with a row or two of smaller medallions in the field at each end of the medallion.
Many antique Caucasian rugs are now sent overseas to Turkey or Pakistan for restoration, sometimes extensive, so the originality of the condition in Karachoph and other types of antique Kazak rugs is of paramount importance in terms of value. While one would expect a certain, moderate amount of restoration in most antique rugs, many Kazak rugs in the marketplace now are heavily restored, if not entirely redone. Be very cautious if purchasing antique Caucasian rugs in auctions, since the condition is often times not thoroughly disclosed. A reputable dealer should be willing to review the condition of this (or any) type of rug you are considering purchasing from them.
Lori Pambak Kazak rugs were woven in the southwest Caucasus Mountain region of southern Russia. They are among the most finely woven of all Kazak rugs and tend to feature more closely cropped pile than some other types such as Bordjalou or Karachoph Kazaks. The fields are typically red and generally feature a large medallion that is often ivory and contains stylized Tulip motifs. Unlike some other types of antique Kazak rugs, such as Fachralo or Bordjalou, that can be found in smaller sizes approximately 4′ x 5′, antique Lori Pambak Kazak rugs tend to be large, more in the 5′ – 6′ wide and 7′ – 8′ long range. Later examples can be somewhat mechanical in articulation but earlier, great examples can be very graphic and beautifully colored.
Antique Kuba rugs fall into the broader category of antique Caucasian rugs. They were woven in the Kuba district in the Northeast Caucasus Mountain region, south of Dagestan, North of Shirvan and to the west of the Caspian Sea. There are various types of antique Kuba rugs, some of the most famous being Zeichur, Alpan, Bidjov, Perepedil, Konagend and Karagashli.
I acknowledge a personal partiality for antique Karagashli rugs. Some Karagashli rugs seemingly were woven as early as the early to mid 19th century. Unlike Kazak rugs, which were woven in the southwest Caucasus, Karagashli rugs and the other weavings from the Kuba, Shirvan and Daghesgtan regions in the northeast Caucasus are more finely woven, with lower cropped pile. Karagashli rugs are typically small and somewhat narrow, often about 3 – 4 feet in width and 5 to 7 feet in length. They usually have navy blue fields, though some of the best examples feature sky blue fields.
Antique Karagashli rugs usually feature “Harshang” design like palmettes and snowflake motifs, sometimes with a leaf and chalice border. True Karagashli rugs were woven in the Kuba district and, hence, tend to feature blue selvedges and braided wool warp end finishing. The major border is generally either yellow or ivory.
A number of rugs were woven in the Shirvan district, south of the Kuba region, that use similar designs, though typically absent the snowflake motifs and using white cotton or wool for the selvedges. Although this is not always the case, Kuba rugs tend to be somewhat heavier and more densely woven than Shirvan rugs, and the weight and handle of a true Karagashli will typically be heavier than Shirvan rugs with a similar appearance.
Antique Bidjov rugs were woven in the Kuba district in the northeast Caucasus region of southern Russia. Typically seen with navy blue backgrounds, antique Bidjov Kuba rugs seem to have their design antecedents in the Caucasian “Dragon Carpets” of the 18th century (or earlier). Bidjov rugs tend to feature a fine and dense (by the standards of antique Caucasian rugs) weave, with blue selvedges and braided warps at the ends. Early examples tend to feature natural dyes and, as is typical for Caucasian rugs, synthetic dyes began to appear more regularly in weavings post 1900 or 1910. Bidjov rugs are comparatively rare and are both collectable and very decorative in a setting that calls for a dramatic artistic presence on the floor or displayed on a wall.
ANTIQUE MOHTASHEM KESHAN (MOTASHAM KASHAN) RUGS:
Finely woven city rugs from Keshan (sometimes spelled Kashan) in central Persia. Keshan has a weaving tradition dating back to the classical Safavid Dynasty period (circa 1501 – 1722). Antique Keshan rugs from the 19th century are invariably woven using cotton or silk warps and cotton or silk wefts. Wool is never used in the foundation. Pile is generally wool, though a reasonable number of silk pile rugs were also woven.
The earlier type of commercial Keshan rugs; i.e., circa 1870 to 1910, are often attributed to the “Mohtashem” workshop (please, see the section on Mohtashem Keshan rugs). As a rule, the older and finer a Keshan is, the thinner the pile was cropped and the more stylized and geometric the articulation of the floral motifs is. For example, a Keshan woven circa 1875 would typically be finer, more supple and more spacious in design than a Keshan from circa 1890 – 1900 which would be, in turn, thinner and finer than a piece from 1910. As is the case with Fereghan Sarouk rugs, as well, as Keshan weavings moved away from the 3rd quarter of the 19th century and into the late 19th / early 20th century, the designs became denser and more curvilinear and the weight became heavier.
Keshan rugs from the 1920s and 1930s (and later) are completely different to the earlier examples. Although still finely woven, the designs became very busy and floral. Ivory fields were often seen in 19th century examples, where 1920s and 1930s vintage carpets tend to feature navy blue or red fields.
In addition to the early “Mohtashem” type Keshan rugs, finely woven pieces called “Debir” Keshans were woven in the first quarter of the 20th century. These tend to be heavier than the Mohtashem types, which seemed to phase out around 1910.
There are also early 20th century Keshan carpets referred to as “Manchester” Keshans, due to the soft wool that was processed in Manchester, England.
Some Keshan carpets from the first few decades of the 20th century were sometimes “washed and painted”, though that practice was far more prevalent with Sarouk carpets from that era.
Mohtashem Keshan rugs and carpets are perhaps the most highly prized and valued of all Persian rugs from the late 19th century, rivaled perhaps only by the occasional Tabriz. Condition is, needless to say, a critical part of the valuation.
ANTIQUE SAROUK RUGS – Click to view examples:
As is the case with many types of Persian rugs, Sarouk rugs went through a clear evolutionary (arguably devolutionary) progression from the fine, beautifully drawn examples from the last quarter of the 19th century to the mass produced rugs and carpets from the1940s and onward. Late 19th century Sarouk rugs are often referred to as “Fereghan Sarouk” or, occasionally “Melayer Sarouk”.
Fereghan Sarouk rugs tended to be of very high quality with pile often cropped low to allow the clear delineation of the motifs to show through. Allow synthetic dyes were introduced into Persian rug manufacture as early as the 1870s, the majority of Fereghan Sarouk rugs had all natural dyes. In the cases where synthetic colors were present, it was often restricted to an early synthetic red. So called “Melayer Sarouk” rugs from this period tended to be somewhat coarser and more rectilinear in the articulation of the design elements; though even the Fereghan type Sarouk rugs tended to have a more rectilinear composition than later pieces.
Around 1910, one starts to see the metamorphosis of Sarouk rugs into the “Mahajaran” style. Unlike the Fereghan period of Sarouk manufacture, where small rugs were often made, as well as larger carpets, it seems there was a shift in priorities during the Mahajaran period that spanned roughly 1910 to 1925. While small rugs, and occasionally runners, are seen, the emphasis seemed to be on larger carpets, typically in the approximately 9 foot x 12 foot size. Mahajaran Sarouk rugs often featured deeply saturated and beautiful navy blue fields and the design trend away from the central medallion format characteristic of many Fereghan style Sarouk rugs moved toward detached floral clusters. Mahajaran Sarouk rugs are almost invariably thick in terms of pile depth and feature high quality wool. Generally, rugs with a more spacious layout of the design are now more highly prized and valuable. This period also saw the trend of “washed and painted” rugs take root, with Sarouks leading the way. Rugs were imported to the United States where they were washed and the original, generally lighter red shades were hand painted with a deeper dye to suit the prevailing tastes (or lack thereof) of the time. Over time, some of the dye tends to fade and these carpets are often “stripped” to remove the applied color. Mahajran Sarouk rugs and carpets have been very popular in Europe during the recent decades and many of the pieces originally produced for the United States market have been exported to countries such as Germany, Austria and Italy. Most Mahajran Sarouk rugs were of very high quality and many have survived in very good or even excellent condition. On a subjective level, I believe outstanding examples represent one of the best values in the antique rug market. Another type of rug put into the Sarouk category are rugs called Jozan Sarouks. The village of Jozan is not actually located in Sultanabad Province but rather further to the west in the eastern part of Hamadan Province. As such, the application of the term Sarouk is somewhat of a misnomer, but the weave of Jozan rugs is an anomaly relative to other Hamadan region rugs due to the double-knotted (depressed warp) construction that is more similar to regular Sarouk rugs. Other types of rugs from Hamadan Province have a single-knotted construction, with the warp threads on a flat plane. Jozan rugs are almost invariably small in size, typically 2 foot x 3 foot mats or 3 foot x 5 foot in size (called “Zaronim” size), with the occasional 4 foot x 7 foot (Dozar size) rug. Very few room size carpets were woven in Jozan.Jozan rugs are generally of very good to excellent quality and typically feature a central medallion with stylized floral decoration on either a navy blue or red ground. On rare occasions, an ivory or sky blue field might be seen. The majority of Jozan rugs appear to have been woven between about 1910 and the 1930s, though we have had a small number that appear somewhat earlier. The wool is typically of high quality and natural dyes were generally used through the 1920s or perhaps even 1930s.
ANTIQUE SERAB RUGS:
The village of Serab is located east of Heriz in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan Province. Serab rugs are nearly universally woven utilizing some shade of camel color for the field. Small, narrow rugs and runners seemed to have been produced in abundance but relatively few room size antique Serab carpets were woven.
Small Serab rugs and some runners feature a distinctive design of diagonal stripes, sometimes in a zig zag pattern and sometimes in more of a lattice format.
Early; i.e., 19th century, Serab rugs were often woven on wool foundations, whereas pieces from the 1920s and later sometimes feature cotton foundations. Serab rugs and runners tend to be durable and make excellent furnishing rugs. They incorporate much of the geometry that makes Heriz rugs popular, while offering a different tonality by way of their camel color fields and general earth tones.
ANTIQUE SHRIVAN RUGS – Click to view examples:
Akstafa rugs are fairly finely woven village rugs from the Shirvan district in the northeast Caucasus mountain area of southern Russia. Generally woven with navy blue fields and featuring large, stylized birds, Akstafa rugs also are seen in small narrow formats featuring ivory fields and occasionally in sky blue.
ANTIQUE TABRIZ RUGS:
The northwest Persian city of Tabriz played a vital role in the rejunenation of Persian carpet weaving in the last quarter of the 19th century. While Tabriz rugs and carpets come in a broad range of qualities, they tend to be among the most finely woven types of antique rugs from Persia. With a weaving history that dates back to the Safavid Dynasty period of the early 16th century through the early 18th century, Tabriz carpets often follow classical models, with the “Vase” and “Herati” designs seen frequently. The finest Tabriz rugs from the late 19th century, often colloquially referred to as “Hadji Jalili” Tabriz rugs, are prized for their high quality and elegant designs. Tabriz weavers were among the first Persian weavers to adopt synthetic dyes; and Tabriz carpets often have what are referred to as “fugitive” dyes, meaning they tend to lose their intensity over time and especially with exposure to light. Curiously, and counter to many other types of Persian rugs, Tabriz rugs with softer, often faded, colors do not necessarily lose a lot of their value. In fact, given their popularity with interior designers seeking softer palettes, the faded examples can sometimes bring very high prices. Larger antique Tabriz carpets can be among the most expensive of all antique Persian carpets, with world class examples easily getting into the $ 100,000 plus category. Many Tabriz carpets from the 1920s and later are now “antique washed” to lighten the colors and make them appear more like the earlier Tabriz examples. We tend to not like this practice but it has become a major factor in the general market. Be cautious and ask any dealer or auction house, as the latter frequently do not disclose such information and sell items “as is”, you are dealing with if the carpet has been recently antique washed to lighten the color. This practice can damage the foundation.
ANTIQUE DELFT POTTERY:
DELFT POTTERY: Named after the Dutch city of Delft, antique pottery in the Delft style was also produced in England, France and Germany in the 17th and 18th centuries. Delft is tin glazed pottery or earthenware, much of it being produced in traditional blue and white color schemes but with a limited selection of polychromatic pieces. Figural pieces are occasionally seen, especially in English Delft, but the majority of Delft (including non-Dutch examples) pottery pieces, which include dishes, chargers, vases, bowls, candlesticks, garniture sets and other forms, feature stylized floral decoration.
ENGLISH DELFT POTTERY: English Delft was produced in the 17th and 18th centuries in cities including London, Bristol and Liverpool. Rare pieces feature scenes including kings and queens and scenes commemorating historical events. Other examples feature stylized floral decoration in either blue and white or polychromatic color schemes. Among the rarest and most beautiful examples are the “Tulip Chargers” made in the late 17th century until the mid-point of the 18th century. The early Tulip Chargers feature a “blue dash” decorative scheme around the perimeter of the charger (large plate).