Archive for December, 2012

Persian Rugs: Heris, Gorevan, Serapi

Authentic Persian Heris Rug

Authentic Persian Heris Rug

Heris rugs are woven in the villages of the slopes of mount Sabalan in the Northwestern province of Azerbaijan. Traditionally, some of the best of nomadic Persian rugs, in geometric patterns, have been made in this area. Some well-known rug producers of the region include villages of Ahar, Sarab, Gorevan, Mehravan, and Bakhshayesh, only to name a few. Rugs woven within the Heris region have always been under considerable influence of Western markets and therefore made accordingly. With the exception of antique pieces, Persian rugs of Heris group have cotton foundation of relatively heavy material with two shots of weft inserted between each row of knots. The region is sitting on a major deposit of copper which affects the quality of the water consumed by the sheep, thereby resulting in highest quality of the wool found on the face of planet. As Heris rugs began to be manufactured for commercial purposes, they naturally deteriorated in quality. A new title for the native products of Heris would have to be chosen and the neighboring village of Gorevan was the best candidate, although it had no strong status as a producer of rugs.

The carpets sold under the name of Gorevan were, at first, the traditional Heris products, closely following their patterns and color combinations. The center medallion, as well as the boundaries defining the corner spaces are more in rectilinears rather than formal curves. The corners are set off by jagged lines, somewhat like the arches of prayer rugs. The color scheme is more uniform, and the dyes are all of a peculiar tone which distinguishes the genuine Heris rugs at once from other types of Persian rugs. The color of the field, outside the central medallion, and enclosed by the serrated lines across the corners, is a rich red or a brilliant blue, which while bright is soft and of a specially pleasing quality. The corner areas are of a reddish brown, often with small motifs to break the space. The borders are in entire harmony with the rest of the design with patterns clearly defined. Gorevan rugs are generally made by female weavers who work only in their leisure. Having escaped from the control of the big contracting firms, individual weavers of Heris rugs lacked money to carry on their work. The fact that these high quality rugs have regained good standing in spite of all disadvantages is an encouraging sign of the survival of native ability. With gradual improvements, the name of Gorevan came to be applied exclusively to a new breed of rugs which aimed at perfection in weaving, solidity, and pronunciation. Heris rugs resumed their rightful place in the catalogue.

A Persian Gorevan Rug

A Persian Gorevan Rug

Encouraged by the success of the new Gorevans, the Heris weavers went a step further and took from Persian Tabriz rugs some designs which, while preserving the medallion forms, added floral elements in the field. These rugs were, in quality, almost if not quite as admirable as the high-class Gorevans. The general purpose of Serapi rugs was to make the whole piece light and bright, and to offer clear ground for the display of the elaborate vine and floral designs, drawn in a half impressionistic fashion and in colors strong but dull. All this light in the central part of the rug is balanced by generous use of similar values in the borders. The foundation is cotton and Turkish knots are tied in the highest possible quality of wool. The Serapi is in nearly all respects a praiseworthy and desirable piece of art. These rugs were named after the village of “Sarab”, and Western dealers and collectors have converted the Persian form into Serapi. Today, some antique pieces of Serapi rugs fetch unbelievably high prices at auction houses around the world.

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