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-   -   Estate find--Khorasan w/ Herati Boarder (?) (http://www.turkotek.com/VB37/showthread.php?t=3846)

Nils Persson March 21st, 2017 07:45 PM

Estate find--Khorasan w/ Herati Boarder (?)
I've been trying to identify this rug for the past week; I'm still at a loss. Any help would be much appreciated.

n.b. I'm new to the rug-game--go easy on me.

(Deleted - Steve Price)

Egbert Vennema March 21st, 2017 10:02 PM

Virtual Show and Tell
Hi there npptz3, ( btw, got a name ? ) warp of cotton or wool ? best,Egbert.

Nils Persson March 21st, 2017 10:10 PM


The warp is cotton, methinks.


Steve Price March 21st, 2017 10:10 PM


Please note (paragraph atop this page) that we don't permit posting anonymously or under a pseudonym. If you'll send me (sprice@vcu.edu) your full name, I'll edit your user name to make it your full name.


Steve Price

Rich Larkin March 22nd, 2017 12:57 PM

Hi Nils,

Can you identify the knot type, symmetrical or asymmetrical?


Nils Persson March 23rd, 2017 01:59 AM


I believe they're asymmetrical knots.


Rich Larkin March 23rd, 2017 01:35 PM

Hi Nils,

Well, no one is stepping forward to ease your pain. It seems likely to be from an urban Persian venue, but no particular one of them stands out to me as the likely source. I make the knot count to be around 210-220 kpsi, which is fairly fine, but there are aspects of the rug that are less refined than many urban workshop types. There is also a slightly uneven quality to the weave for a rug of this type. There is considerable abrash, particularly in the blue, a feature I always love, but which many Persian connoisseurs deem a defect. (Don't get me wrong. I wish they would bring me all their old abrashed rugs. I would take good care of them.)

Then, there are the colors. At first look, one suspects the somewhat lavishly used orange, as we are trained to do that. But my guess is, it is a good color here. Look carefully at the visible areas of warp and weft from the back: do you see evidence of color having leaked from pile yarn into those areas? The red and orange would be the primary risk colors for that phenomenon.

The design is ambitious, and could have come from a number of areas. All in all, I canít resolve your quandary. Khorassan is as good a stab as any, though I wouldn't be making it my first choice. The best I can do is suggest that it is a type not so well-known in the market, and consequently, not readily identifiable. In that context, it could be a familiar name but of a somewhat different sort than what we have come to associate with that venue. For example, workshop rugs from Isfahan (Esfahan) from the early 20th century are somewhat different from the rugs produced after, say, 1950, which have become the recognizable standard. Another example would be Tabriz, which has been associated with a great many quality levels (high and low) over the past century and a half (though a Tabriz rug would likely be symmetrically knotted).

Interesting rug. You can't say it's been boring! :)


Nils Persson March 24th, 2017 02:39 AM

Thank you for the response, Rich--much appreciated.

Being that I'm new to this, could you expound on the "urban Persian workshop" distinction?

Isfahan, good. I had compiled a short list of structurally consistent rugs, and Isfahan was near the top.

I don't recall all of why I settled on Khorasan over Isfahan, but it was partly on grounds of composition, or rather--to be precise-- on the conjunction of certain stylistic elements; namely, the Herati pattern and the trellis of (forked-tendril) whiplash scrolls . The former element seems more prevalent among Khorasans, the latter element more prevalent in Isfahans, and a coincidence of the two seemingly more prevalent in Khorasan rugs.

Maybe a futile exercise in discrimination ,seeing that--as you've suggested--its origin is likely obscure.

"Then, there are the colors. At first look, one suspects the somewhat lavishly used orange, as we are trained to do that. But my guess is, it is a good color here. Look carefully at the visible areas of warp and weft from the back: do you see evidence of color having leaked from pile yarn into those areas?"

I couldn't agree more; and it's funny, indoors the red and orange are a good deal more modest, complementing the field perfectly. And to answer your question: no, I don't see any leaked color in those areas.


Rich Larkin March 24th, 2017 03:08 AM

Hi Nils,


...could you expound on the "urban Persian workshop" distinction?
Do you have a few decades to spare? :sherlock:

Not really. By "urban Persian workshop [work]," I am talking about rugs from such sources as Tabriz, Kashan, Kerman, Meshhed (a Khorassan type), Qum, Esfahan, Nain, others. Typically, they are relative fine of weave with warps fully depressed, or nearly so, and usually with cotton warps and wefts. (Some would use the term, "commercial," but I think it was the great Murray Eiland, Jr., M. D., who said, "All rugs are commercial.") They tend to employ classical design layouts or ones derived from classical models. Very often, they are woven from cartoons, i. e., graph paper with the principal design elements colored into the squares according to the proper sequence of the knots. The weavers follow the cartoons the way a musician follows a musical score. The result is often relatively precise execution of designs.

I hope that description is adequate in light of your present experience and knowledge. Contrasted with "urban Persian" might be more rural or rustic production from village venues, or among nomadic breeders of sheep and goats...the notion of "tribal" comes to mind. Such rugs often have a more casual approach to precision of execution and final design.

These are generalizations, of course.


Nils Persson March 24th, 2017 04:13 AM

Thanks again, Rich. Most helpful!


Steve Price March 24th, 2017 12:21 PM

Hi Nils

I'd add two distinguishing features of workshop rugs.
1. They're almost always symmetric in both directions. This comes from the fact that the cartoons from which they're woven are only of one quadrant, which is copied four times in different orientations.
2. The corners are resolved with the borders turning neatly rather than sort of butting against each other where their directions change.

Rugs woven freehand don't have these characteristics.


Steve Price

Nils Persson March 27th, 2017 10:00 PM

Thanks, Steve.

So, you don't think it's a workshop rug?


Steve Price March 27th, 2017 11:16 PM

Hi Nils

No, I do think it's a workshop rug. Although the corners aren't as cleanly resolved as they are on most workshop rugs, they appear to be identical in all four corners. The borders look to be mirror images of each other, and all look like they are symmetric in their respective long dimensions.

It would be nearly impossible to weave a piece that elaborate without it becoming wonky if it was woven freehand. It also looks to me like it's probably 8 or 9 feet wide, which would require two weavers sitting side by side. That's not likely to end up even approximately symmetrical if woven without a cartoon.


Steve Price

George Herteg March 28th, 2017 11:28 AM

Hi everyone,

Sorry to "barge" in as I'm just a novice, but I found the small border design familiar.. I must have seen it in a book plate somewhere while reading about bidjars and hamadan rugs. So after a few searches I found it - Plate F, Fig. 8, Page 159 from Oriental Rugs -Antique and Modern by Walter A. Hawley.

"A very common form of a vine with pendant is shown in Plate F, Fig. 8. This pattern is seen in a large number of Persian rugs, such as Mosuls, Bijars, Kurdistans, and Hamadans. Each flexure of the vine is enlarged to almost the form of a leaf, and between them is a branching pendant."

This is the link to the image:

I also think there are two things consistent with bidjar rugs, the warped weft lines at the back and the colors. If it is a bidjar, with cotton foundation, then it must be from 20th cent.

I'm sorry, I didn't want to disregard any previous, much more experienced, opinions in any way, just wanted to point out the border design similarity I noticed. Maybe it will help somehow with attribution.

Steve Price March 28th, 2017 11:44 AM

Hi George

The link puts up a message, not the image.


Syrve Price

Filiberto Boncompagni March 28th, 2017 12:11 PM

Never mind, there we go:


Rich Larkin March 28th, 2017 01:31 PM

Hi George,

I thought about Bijar as a site for Nils' rug for several reasons, but I have a hard time putting it there on account of the appearance of the weave. Also, it does not look to me like the kind of Bijar you might find from the period after they went to cotton foundations. I might think otherwise if I had it in hand. Close-up photos can be misleading, as they often give a different impression from the more global one you can get in person.

Nils, what can you say about the handling qualities of the rug? Stiff? Supple? Also, Steve suggested that it might be 8 or 9 feet wide. But it looks to me like it might be more like 4.5 feet X 6.5 feet (approx. 1.4 meters X 2.0 meters). Is that so?


George Herteg March 28th, 2017 01:32 PM

Hi Steve,

Sorry, I didn't verify the actual link accuracy.
Thank you Filiberto for the solution :)

George Herteg March 28th, 2017 01:44 PM

Hi Rich,

I was about to ask the same questions regarding the "feel" of the rug. I'm also a bit sceptical on the bidjar attribution because of the higher KPSI and fluid design.. but you never know. I was expecting a more garus type of design if it were a bidjar. The search continues :)

Nils Persson March 29th, 2017 09:38 PM

"(...) it looks to me like it might be more like 4.5 feet X 6.5 feet (approx. 1.4 meters X 2.0 meters)."

- Quite right-- exactly right, in fact.

"what can you say about the handling qualities of the rug?"

- Quite supple. Here, hopefully this helps:

(Deleted - Steve Price)

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