Persian Rugs: Heris

Old Persian Heris

Old Persian Heris

Heris is one of the centers producing some of the most beautiful and highest quality Persian rugs. Heris rugs are woven in the villages of the slopes of mount Sabalan of Azerbaijan province, and benefit from the superior wool that is produced in the region and very suitable for carpet weaving. The region is sitting on a major deposit of copper which affects the quality of the water drunk by the sheep, thereby resulting in highest possible quality of the wool. The weaving of fine quality and delicate silk carpets has been practiced since the old times both in Heris and nearby cities and villages, and durable, good quality rugs with geometric patterns and typical colors of the region are still being woven with no use of modern technology whatever. The most distinguishing characteristic features of Heris rugs are the shape of medallions, the four matching corners, and floral motifs covering the background or the field of the rug. Colors, consisting of crimson red, light pink (obtained from madder roots), light blue, dark green, and a golden cream, make these carpets very unique. In Heris rugs, borders are often patterned with palmette flowers and lanceolate leaves, but designs known as “Tosbagheh” and “Samavari” as often seen in rugs of Kurdistan are also common.

Other rug producers of the region include Ahar, Bilverdi, Sarab, Gorevan, Mehravan, Bakhshaish, Karaja, and Sharabian, just to name a few. In many cases, rug weaving is the family’s main source of income. The pile of these rugs is thick, lustrous wool, with strong cotton as the material of choice for the foundation. Heris rugs have always been under great influence of Western markets and made according to the taste of these markets. Medium and large rugs, as well as runners in all measurements, are common in this area. Except for antique pieces, rugs of Heris group have cotton foundation of heavy material with two shots of weft passing over each row of symmetrical (Turkish) knots. Threads of weft are of different thickness and tension, causing pairs of warp to lie in two levels. Only Karaja and Sharabian rugs have a single weft with the pair of warps positioned on the same level. There is a group of very fine Heris rugs known as “Serapi” and it is believed that they have been woven in the city of Sarab, although there is no factual evidence supporting this assumption. Some also believe that a Dr. Sohrabi started collecting these fine pieces of Heris rugs many years ago, and as a result these high quality pieces were given the name “Serapi”. In most cases, hand-spun and naturally-dyed wool is used in Heris rugs; the pattern is highly geometric with almost always a center medallion. Heris rugs are very desirable in Western markets, very decorative, and come in various grades with an average knot density of around 120-130 KPSI (knots per square inch).

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