in this post, I want to talk about Farahan rugs and the history of the area of Farahan region, Saruk, Soltanabad, etc.
Geographically, the territory of Ferahan does not belong entirely to either western or central Persia. Some carpet experts define the same large area between Kum, Kashan, and Sultanabad as the territory of Arak (Arak is the new name of Sultanabad), others still as the territory of Mahallat.
Although the three knotting zones are always mentioned together, their products have one thing in common: the quality is generally very high. For the rest, these careful knotting works are completely autonomous products for structure, design, wool, and shaving.
For example, we bring two specific representatives of this group: Ferahan and Saruk. Both come from this triangle, both belong to the superior quality of the art of an anodized Persian rug, but they have completely different characters. The classic Ferahan, knotted very fine in hard wool and shaved very low, elegantly composed, is almost a gothic filigree, if you can compare it to a European style. The Saruk, on the other hand, is a very expressive carpet for shapes and colors, very thick and finely knotted in very soft wool. It expresses a great joy of life and could be considered as “baroque”, especially as regards the pieces produced for the American market.
The Ferahan acquired importance in the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, giving an impulse to the region of Ferahan, the Shah Nadir extended his influence on the activity of carpet-making and promoted the exportation of these specimens, which even then became much appreciated. But only when Herat’s immigrant designers and knotters imported the motif Mahi-to-hos (fish in the water), also called Herati, Ferahan acquired the importance that still retains.
England was in first place in the importation of these elegant and composed rugs that were called “gentleman’s carpet”. The so-called American Saruk, on the other hand, were very large, often measuring up to 60 m2, had medium-high or high fleece and a red-hot and damp blue-red hue. They were the heaviest carpets ever that left the country until the beginning of the twentieth century.
The carpets of Ferahan, Li-lian, Mahallat, Mushkabad, Saruk, Saruk-Mir come from this triangle between western and central Persia, together with the products of several other small knotting locations. Serabend-Mir, Sultanabad (today known as Arak).
in the following I’ll explain about this regions more:
The specimens of this origin are distinguished by elegance, Sobriety, and confidentiality. This aspect of the rugs gives the Herati design, elaborated in many variations, and the particular chromatic.
Size: all traditional Kelley formats are knotted. Runners, lanes and large hall carpets at 20 rd.
Colors: the dominant colors are indigo. Dark green and in other shades (among which a light green obtained from copper oxide is characteristic, which corrodes the wool and is found only in the borders of the ancient specimens Md C.). Yellow and orange rose, Black and indigo dark are the outline colors used in refined combinations. In some rare motifs, white and light brown are also found.
Drawing: the design of the Ferahan is much more common than commonly thought. The motif -Mahi-to-hos “(fish in the pond) is considered peculiar of this carpet. This multi-pattern design, usually knotted in continuous compositions according to the personal mood of the craftsman or The arrangement of the carpet, now presents itself as a lattice and as a geometric rhombus motif separated by round or oval shapes, both in old and in the new one we find medallion or medallion rugs.
It is also known in the technical language as a ray-like design, and finally, the Gali-Henna motif is a favorite from Ferahan. The harmonious and intangible borders contribute to underlining the expressive power of these carpets. There are also motifs of leaves, flowers, and branches.
framework: warp and weft are made of strong, thick twisted cotton fabric.
Knotting: generally and from medium-fine to fine. 1,000 – 2,500 knots per dm2, mainly executed in Persian knots, but also Turks. In the antique pieces, there is sometimes even the finest knotting, up to 4,000 knots per dm2. Such specimens are sometimes mistakenly called Senneh-Ferahan.
Fleece: the excellent, robust and hard wool is low and, in very fine knotted carpets, also very low.
Quality: the new and semi-old Ferahans, offered on the market with a certain abundance, belong to the upper class: the old and ancient specimens stand at the top of Persian origins. The prices of the Ferahans are adapted to the quaint.
Ferahan, 20th century
Only the good connoisseurs of this group can judge a carpet like this at first sight, because it is very similar to the Saruk. The design with flowers and shoots a little stiff and the dark blue field of this stylized vases carpet are typical of the Ferahan. The border with rosettes on the red background, meticulously elaborated and flanked by secondary frames with clear bush and in strong contrast with the floral field both for the color and for the composition. 190 x 130 cm.
Arak is located at the apex of the Mahallat triangle. Old Sultanabad is the center of many villages and settlements where life takes place around the looms.
Here, at the end of the nineteenth century, American, German and English, establishing some manufacturers that had a more or less positive influence on the quality of the carpets. The Americans went along the desire of the customers and the taste for fashion, the Germans and the English tried to preserve the traditional characteristics of the products.
The export quota was high, especially to America for the high-haired Saruk.
The Mohajeran, once produced in the vicinity of Arak as “Sultanabad”, a finely knotted “Saruk American”, with a long hair and with a floral design, is today reimported from America to Europe and occasionally put on sale. These old pieces, mostly still in good condition, date back to the export boom of the beginning of the century.
the antique floral design of Mohajeran-Sarouk
when the Persian firms took the place of the western companies in the management of these manufacturers, they became, from originally artisanal companies, large manufacturers with an industrial and rational organization. The production program includes all the carpets of the Arak-Ferahan-Mahallat area, so much so that the peculiar qualitative characteristics cannot be specified.
The new production puts on the market standard quality, from good to excellent, in all the usual sizes up to 25 m2 and even more. The old and ancient Arak are offered by good stores specialized with the name of Sultanabad and occasionally they are also found at auctions.
stunning antique Soltanabad with a shining red background and navy blue border
The products of a small locality in the territory of Mahal or Arak are called Lilian. The Lilian mainly traded in the bazaars of Arak, are similar to the Mahals, which are also geographically associated, despite the fact that the experts include them among the Hamadan.
Ethnically, these carpets do not belong to either of the two territories: they are the work of knotters whose progenitors were deported in the seventeenth century by order of the Shah Abbas from the Caucasia to the territory south-east of Arak, in the Mahal region. It is surprising that the grandiose and floral designs do not in any way suppose the origin of Caucasia (unlike other tribes emigrated from the Caucasus, e.g. the Qashqai’s, whose Caucasian heredity is clearly revealed in their carpets).
Size: Lilian is offered in all sizes, from cushions to 16 m2 lounge mats.
Colors: red, blue and green dominate in the most varied shades, as well as a white motto, ivory and black as the color for the contours. Chromaticism dominated by bright colors.
Drawing: a large number of flowers and leaves come together to form fan-shaped drawings, the rosettes in the most varied forms fill the field or a central medal in the large specimens.
Framework: chain and weft are made of very twisted cotton. The threads of the weft are usually colored red. As for the
structure they are similar to the Hamadan.
Knotting: the sturdy, bright, but relatively soft wool is bored with around 1,000 knots per dm2.
Fleece: these carpets generally have a medium-high or high shaving.
Quality: a good carpet of upper-middle-class furniture; in individual cases, especially among the old and ancient Lilian, we find excellent specimens of the superior class. Because of its soft wool, Lilian requires careful maintenance.
Beautiful antique Lilian with floral design and shining colors
In some villages of Arak and in the region of Mahallat, located further to the east. we produce a group of less evolved Farahan rugs knotted mainly with the motif / Herati. They are marketed under the name of Mahal. Those finely knotted are the Mahal-Sarouk, which enjoy a better reputation and are ranked at the top of the qualitative scale of the Mahals, while the Mushkabad occupies a lower step.
Size: we produce rugs measuring up to 1.50 x 2.20 m and room rugs.
Colors: in chromaticism, it is very similar to Farahan.
Design: here are the Herati motif all over the field and other drawings by Farahan, but also the mirror motif. a floral medallion on a light field, and Sarouk drawings. However, modern carpets very rarely reach the perfection of the ancients.
Framework: for the warp and the weft we use little-twisted cotton which in the weave is often colored blue.
knotting: rough Persian knots are used. 500 – 1,000 knots per dm ‘.
Fleece: in relation to the different qualities of wool, the fleece is shaved medium-high or high.
Quality: these carpets are manufactured almost exclusively for export and must be attributed to the lower class. If you sometimes offer carpets of better quality, they are always “carpets of common use”. The rare old and ancient specimens are well kept in the hands of collectors.
The area of production of these carpets that are often found on the market is a locality near Arak.
Size: the sizes produced are small rugs up to 1.50 X 2.20 m and room rugs.
Colors: red and blue dominate. In the old and ancient specimens, there are beautiful and fresh shades of green and blue.
Design: with a clearly floral design, the carpet has as its characteristic motif the combinations of flowers and shoots also in the borders.
Framework: warp and weft are predominantly made of cotton.
Knotting: the carpets generally coarse, at most medium-ends. They are knotted with Persian knots. 500 – 1,500 knots per M2 ‘.
Fleece: sheep wool of lower quality with medium-high shave prevails.
Quality: brightly colored antique specimens are densely knotted in bright wool. Even the most recent carpets are close to antique products, but without reaching the style and the chromaticism. We must pay attention to the different qualities of this origin. Old and antique pieces can be found in good specialized shops and auctions.
“The best and most beautiful Sarouk come from Arak”: this opinion of good connoisseurs probably fits the export carpets; however it is not only the name Sarouk that has great importance in the carpet market. But also the city of Sarouk, located about 50 km north of Arak.
From here, after a short period of decline in quality they went to the whole world, but above all to Europe and America, exemplary of the first order and excellent quality. In truth, the importance of Sarouk has only developed since the beginning of the 19th century, as it was. According to the opinion of scholars, the production of carpets in this city does not have deep roots in history but dates back to the early eighteenth century.
Size: all the usual formats, even large ones, are made.
Colors: in general, these rugs with a beige, blue or red field produce a harmoniously matching effect with contrasting colors in different shades of yellow, green and pink.
Design: the designs of the new Sarouk are manifold, traditional or borrowed from other origins. Herati and Miri-Boteh motifs, vines and medallions, flowers and large plants, lozenges, and hexagons are used in the same way. Often the many main and secondary borders with floral ornamental designs emphasize the rather small central field.
Framework: warp and weft are made of cotton.
Knotting: in Persian knots from medium-fine to extremely fine. That is, up to 5,000 knots per dm`. The same knotting also applies to the oldest specimens.
Fleece: the new Sarouk is made of fine wool and medium-high or high-level shaved; the old ones, instead, often compact and rigid like cardboard, having been knotted in the same way in shiny wool of the best quality (kurk wool) but shaved some or very short.
Quality: the carpets of this origin are generally at the peak of the Persian production and also the new manufacturing articles for export have a high value due to their excellent resistance to hardship. Old and antique Sarouk can be found in good specialist shops and auctions at fairly high prices. Connoisseurs can discover some good examples at an affordable price in less pretentious shops
soulful handmade antique Sarouk
The motif Mir-i-Boteh, repeated continuously in thousands of forms and variations in all Persian art, gave its name to this rug, but perhaps the name derives from the city of Mirabad. Scholars are not entirely in agreement and the problem can never be clarified. It is absolutely certain, however, that Mir carpets are as good as they cannot be found on the market. An example proposed as Mir is usually a Sarouk-Mir or a Serabend-Mir.
we limit ourselves to considering the new Sarouk-Mir, which is also very carefully knotted in the territory of Arak, especially in the manufactures of the city.
Size; all formats are offered up to the oversized ones.
Colors: shades of blue, red and beige prevail, often as colors of the field. Coordinated very harmoniously. Green and yellow are used sparingly as contrasting tints and black occasionally for contraction lines.
Drawing: generally the field is sprinkled with small Mirs-Boteh arranged so that the design takes on a slightly diagonal appearance. The field is framed by one or two main borders, mainly with shoots, and by many frames and secondary borders. Often the set of borders takes up most of the surface of the carpet.
framwork: warp and weft are made of cotton; the plot is usually dyed blue.
Knotting; the excellent wool is robust and the medium-fine knotting is performed in Persian knots, up to 2,000 knots per
Wool; shaving Sarouk-Mir is medium-high or high.
Quality: framework, knotting, and wool quality allow the carpet to stay well stretched and make it very resistant to straps. Old and antique Saruk-Mirs are found in good stores and occasionally at auctions, but the original Mir is very rare.
The main motif that repeats itself in an all-around composition consists of parallel and staggered rows of Boteh-i-Miri.
Alternately facing right and left. The botehs are drawn in red and green on a dark background dominated by a yellow lozenge, containing the Shekeri motif similar to the following specimens. This motif is repeated also in the border with a light background. 205×141 cm.
In the middle of a plateau between Hamadan and Arak there is the city of Borujird with about 50,000 inhabitants, mainly devoted to agriculture. Here and in the surrounding areas we have the homeland of the Serabend, a carpet that, above all for the great use of the Mir-i-Boteh, but also for the chromatic. The structure and character are very similar to Sarouk-Mir and of course, it is traded both in the Arak bazaars and in Borujird. The Serabend are not part of the
best-known products of the Oriental carpet crafts. But they owe their fame to their great resistance to use.
Size : all the usual formats are knitted.
Colors: bright blue and red, beige and ivory are the most used shades. Of a usually calm chromaticism. The shades of green are very rare. In part, natural colors are still used today to dye wool e.g. the red madder.
Drawing: on a field usually red madder or bright blue, the Mir-i-Boteh, arranged in parallel and staggered rows, are
knotted in continuous modular composition. The size of the motif is varied but rarely exceeds ten centimeters in height. In alternate rows, the tips of the batches are bent to the right or left. Serabend and Sarouk-Mir are very similar in the composition of the borders. Both use the Shekeri motif. Edge of sugar, a wavy branch. a little geometrically stylized.
Framework: the material of the warp and weft is cotton. The yarn for the weft is usually dyed gray or light blue.
Knotting: depending on the type, the carpets are knotted differently, from medium-fine to fine, 1,000 – 2,000 knots per dm2, mainly with Turkish knots. The old and ancient specimens are more valuable than the new manufactured goods and feature a fine to fine knotting, that is, up to 2,500 knots per dm2.
Wool: the fleece in good wool is shaved medium-high or high. The old and antique carpets of very shiny wool, they were shaved low or medium-high.
Quality: these carpets are among the best of Persian manufacture and lie their reputation of being very resistant to hardships. Occasionally the Serabend are also imitated. These pieces are distinguished by the softer and dyed wool and the slower knotting with less than 1,000 knots per dm; they are usually knotted in Turkish workshops (but also in India.91.
Retrieved from Tappeti oriental’s book (author : Alberto Boralevi)