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Go Back   Turkotek Discussion Forums > Virtual Show and Tell > Estate find--Khorasan w/ Herati Boarder (?)

Virtual Show and Tell Just what the title says it is.

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April 15th, 2017 01:11 PM
Steve Price Hi Nils

No problem. It happens fairly often with newcomers and doesn't get anyone too agitated.

Steve Price
April 15th, 2017 12:46 PM
Nils Persson Steve,

I apologize, I wasn't aware of the rule. I'll be sure to keep this in mind for future posts.

Thanks again,

April 13th, 2017 12:25 PM
Steve Price Hi All

I've deleted the links to the rug because it is currently for sale.

Nils - I'm sure your error was unintentional, but we don't discuss or present any pieces that are for sale. Please note the paragraph atop this page.


Steve Price
April 13th, 2017 03:29 AM
Steve Price Hi Chuck

Which rug is the one on the market? If you let me know the number of the post it's in I can delete the image.


Steve Price
April 13th, 2017 12:50 AM
Chuck Wagner This rug is currently offered for sale in the marketplace.

I suggest we refrain from any further discussion.
April 11th, 2017 01:07 AM
Chuck Wagner Hi Rich,

I don't have any firm information about the time frames associated with carpet weaving in Tehran, only a general sense from reading various materials in print and on the web. My resultant impression is that carpet weaving activities in Tehran took hold in the 19th century and flourished up until just before WWII - roughly corresponding to the Qadjar dynasty- with various disruptions affecting things from then on.

Certainly, historical court carpets of the Safavid dynasty were not coming out of Tehran in meaningful number. Tabriz, Kerman, and Kashan were the centers in that period - even after the establishment of the state supported ateliers.

I have one book on Persian rugs from that period, "Rugs Oriental and Occidental" by Rosa Bell Holt, published in 1937. She makes no mention of Tehran carpets. Still, reading the book, one senses that a bunch of well-to-do owners got together with her and contributed example pieces - so if they didn't have Tehran rugs, that may be a reason for their absence.

On the Bijars, seen more generally, the back looks like quite a few Bijars I've handled from the early 1900's (only one of which that I could afford); the radically pounded down knots are not an absolute characteristic.

Chuck Wagner
April 10th, 2017 01:29 PM
Rich Larkin Hi Patrick,

...Malayer, is probably not correct because Malayer rugs are single wefted.
Well, I disagree. Malayer lies in the buffer between the Hamadan weaving area (single wefts) and the Sultanabad weaving area (double wefts). Influence and weaving practices in Malayer reflect both traditions, including the occurrence of double wefted rugs. At least, that's so if the rugs I was taught to call Malayer actually came from there.

I do agree the single-wefted rugs are more common.

I see that Edwards mentions this dichotomy. Apparently, the town is divided into these two 'camps,' the northwesterly section looking to Hamadan (and marketing through there), and the southeasterly looking towards Sultanabad (Arak).

April 10th, 2017 04:45 AM
Patrick Weiler I will be little help with this rug, but one suggestion, Malayer, is probably not correct because Malayer rugs are single wefted.
Patrick Weiler
April 8th, 2017 05:15 PM
Rich Larkin Hi Chuck,

Not the least impressive of your last couple of posts is the clarity of the photo of the knots in the last image! Bravo! (Them's tiny collars in there!)

There is a certain look Bijars give from the back, even allowing for the considerable variation they show over decades of changed weaving choices. It doesn't translate all that well to the screen, and in a couple of earlier posts, I mentioned that I didn't think Nils' piece looked 'Bijar' from the back, but that I might change my mind if I had it handy. Your Bijar examples illustrate the point well. The first one looks 'Bijar' from the front, with that chunky character and the somewhat distorted design (a feature I attribute in part to the very intense internal structure). It doesn't look so 'Bijar' from your detail of the back, but I suspect it does in the hand.

Your second example looks very different from the first one, both front and back, yet it also has that 'Bijar' look about it. I am sure that notion is enhanced when one is handling the rug. My whole point in this speech is to urge relatively inexperienced aficionados to handle in person as many different kinds of rugs as possible, however that can be managed (after several visits, most dealers become a tad impatient, unless a sale is involved ).

Chuck, on another issue: You mentioned Teheran rugs earlier. Looking in A. Cecil Edwards (The Persian Carpet) (1953), I see that he said rug weaving in Teheran, which had never been especially prolific, had ceased about 1930. Do you know whether there was a later revival of the industry? As I mentioned, I saw a reasonable number of them during my visit in 1967, considering that I hadn't known there were any before my arrival.

BTW, Edwards also says the modern rug industry in Isfahan (which he spells 'Isfahan' ...I knew I got it someplace!), i. e., post 1722, started in the early 1920s.

April 8th, 2017 03:09 PM
Chuck Wagner Hi again,

Another thing I failed to point out earlier, is that Nils' piece appears to be relatively thin and easy to fold. Bijar rugs are not thin, and they are very difficult to fold without breaking the foundation structure.

Here are a couple Bijar pieces, one probably from the early 1900's and the other later, maybe 1940-1950.

The earlier one is a more rustic piece:

Looking closely at the back, we can see a trademark Bijar characteristic; one wool weft (red arrow) and one thicker cotton weft (blue arrow), pounded down quite tightly. But in this case, inconsistently, so the wefts show in some places and not in others:

In the later piece, dye variability is much less pronounced, an indicator of commercial dyeing:

And the back shows the far more consistent and more significant knot compression; the heavy pounding of the knots leaves almost no weft exposed:

Both are tied with symetrical knots:

Chuck Wagner
April 8th, 2017 03:24 AM
Chuck Wagner Hi Nils, Rich,

Here is an image of the Saruq I had in mind when I made my comment; this is from Aschenbrenner's Oriental Rugs, Vol.2, on Persian rugs. His technical description fits with what we see on Nils' piece as well.

Certainly, these motifs can be found elsewhere, but I think we all agree that Nils' piece is not a Bijar so this is as good a guess as any. For what it's worth, Eric notes that the best Saruqs come from Arak.

We don't discuss city rugs here as often as we probably should, but I like them a lot (as does the wife), so I'm happy to share a view of our Esfahan. It's not as old a piece as Rich's; probably mid 20th century, I think. Nicely drawn, and finely knotted as described earlier:

Chuck Wagner
April 7th, 2017 01:56 PM
Rich Larkin Hi Nils,

Since we got into the subject, here are a few angles of my tapped-out old Isfahan (Esfahan), probably from the earlier part of the 20th century.

The product made there in the latter half of the 20th is a much more refined thing, as has been discussed. Chuck mentioned Serafian in that regard, a well-known producer and leader in the field from that city.

In addition, as Chuck also pointed out, the appearance of the weft lines on the back is different from your rug, with the knot rows pressed more closely together.

I acquired it in Riyadh about fifty years ago (for not much more than the comparative coin ! ) from an elderly gentleman whose inventory was always compromised, but whose dignity and genial manner were always impeccable.

April 7th, 2017 12:38 PM
Rich Larkin Hi Nils,

On the other hand... ...

Those two colors in Malayers often bleed. It doesn't seem that your rug has suffered that experience.

April 7th, 2017 06:22 AM
Nils Persson Yeah, I think you're right, Rich; it fits nicely into that group.

April 7th, 2017 12:53 AM
Rich Larkin Hi Nils,

Thanks for the pics. Very helpful.

Greater Malayer area, which is close to the Sultanabad area, is a distinct possibility with that palette, specifically the orange and tomato red.

April 7th, 2017 12:05 AM
Nils Persson Thanks, everyone. I feel guilty that I'm unable to really contribute anything to the discussion...so I've uploaded a few more pictures that may help:

(Deleted - Steve Price)

thanks again,
April 6th, 2017 09:43 PM
Rich Larkin Hi Marvin and Chuck,

I was in Iran in 1967, and considered myself a minor expert, as I had a copy of the Preben Liebtrau booklet.

I was determined in particular to get a grip on the degree of fineness of Isfahan and Nain rugs, as I had encountered one of each in the suq in Riyadh. The finer grades of Isfahan were in the neighborhood of 600 kpsi, which I considered (and still do!) ultra high. That would seem to be in line with what you chaps are reporting.


(A) I agree the spacing between rows of knots along the wefts in Nils' rug is wider than I would expect to see in the older type of Isfahan. I also agree it doesn't look much like a Bijar on the back for the reason you stated, though I was thinking I might have a different view of the question if the thing were in hand.

(B) I considered Teheran, as the weave would be more in line with that type, and it (i. e., Teheran) is a prominent member of the Obscure Urban Persian Rug Club. However, my only experience with that group was on the aforementioned trip, and all of the Teherans I saw had a recognizable palette that was different from Nils' piece. A lot of beiges with many accent colors. Also, if memory serves, they didn't feature the degree of abrash (which Persian dealers did not admire, as I saw it) exhibited in Nils' rug. But I don't doubt you may be right. As a matter of fact, I was noting the repeating minor border on white in Nils' rug and trying to recall where I had seen the effect. "Teheran" came to mind, but I dismissed it for the palette reasons. Mostly, too much orange. But if I am wrong on that score, it might be the best guess.

(C) (I prefer Sultanabad to Saruq for the group, as the latter town is pretty small.) It is a usual suspect for any urban Persian work that doesn't fit easily into a niche one understands. In this case, it wouldn't be high on my list in that palette, but maybe I haven't been frequenting the right markets.

April 6th, 2017 03:38 PM
Chuck Wagner Hi all,

Late to the party, I know, but...

I wouldn't discount Saruq or Teheran as an origin for this piece. The knot density (roughly 225 kpsi) is typical and similar motifs are seen on pieces from both areas.

The weft lines seem a bit wide for a normal Esfahan to me, and the knots are not pounded down very much at all, so I doubt this is a Bijar piece.

And, as an aside, we have an Esfahan rug that averages 528 kpsi. I have always wondered if Serafian marketed unsigned pieces; this one looks a lot like the work from that shop.

Chuck Wagner
April 6th, 2017 02:21 PM
Marvin Amstey 'morning Rich,
I have spoken directly with Mr, Serafian, and knot counts in at least one of his grandfather's rugs from the early 20th c. which the Oriental Rug Mart (Victor, NY) had in stock had >500 kpsi. How do you define "ultra" high knot counts? We do have some Serafian rugs in inventory made about 30 years ago with knot counts of >900 kpsi.
April 6th, 2017 02:46 AM
Rich Larkin Hi Nils,

Without much confidence, I will suggest your rug is an Isfahan (Esfahan) of the type they produced in the early 20th Century before they went to the ultra-high knot count product of the second half of the 20th Century. The general appearance of the back is in line with that type (though I am having trouble getting the scale of the weave from the shot of the back). The somewhat baroque style of drawing also fits. I don't know that they employed that palette, but I don't know that they didn't, either.

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