Specific Rug Types

  • The Afshar tribes are located in Kirman Province, in Southeast Iran. They weave mostly smaller rugs ( 3’ x 5’ to 5’ x 7’) in a wide range of semi-geometric to fully floral styles, the latter influenced by Kirman city carpets. They are eclectic both in weave and design, the result of both tribal heterogeneity, proximity to urban patterns and a long history of weaving for the market. A few carpets up to 20’ long are found. The pile of Afshar rugs is short and the colors are vibrant. The best pieces are of 19th century date. A variety of other tribal pieces are woven: mostly saddlebags, but also animal trappings. Prayer rugs are avoided.

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  • Located in the north-central India about 120 miles south of Delhi, rugs have been woven in this city since about 1600, but it is still controversial whether any of the carpets attributed to Isfahan more actually Agra products. The 19th century situation is clearer: carpets employing the same overall pattern of palmettes and curving vines on ruby red grounds in large, square sizes, are the iconic type. In later 19th century work, the design becomes smaller and denser, the weave heavier, and the red approaches cranberry. Other designs include copies or interpretations of classical Persian patterns, especially after 1890. many very large pieces were woven by inmates of the Agra City Jail on contract to western importers. Good Agras are always in demand and can bring six-figure prices at auction.

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  • A subtype of Agra production in which the pile is all cotton instead of wool. The color palette is lighter and narrower: often only 3 or 4 tones are used. This tonal minimalism works well with modern décor. The rugs are cool to the touch and are particularly delightful in the summer. Cotton does not have the weaving quality of wool, but many examples are found in excellent condition. Sizes range up to 25’ and a limited production continues to the present day.

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  • This north Indian city is the religious seat of the Sikhs. In the late 19th century a weaving industry catering to export demand through British dealers was created. Before that no rugs were woven in Amritsar. Production is almost all carpet sizes, many quite square and often in medallion and corners layouts on open fields. The ornament is simplified, thus allowing for rapid production and moderate prices. The weave is generally quite coarse and the rugs are lighter in handle than Agras.

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  • Probably the heaviest and longest wearing of any handmade carpet, with a very firm and almost board like handle, they are produced in the town of Bijar and in lesser qualities in the surrounding villages in Persian Kurdistan. The best feature all wool construction with a compact and dense pile of high quality wool which takes dyes well, including an excellent dark blue and a warm copper red, along with green, lighter blues, and a natural ivory. Patterns maybe overall or medallion, the fields full decorated or open. The weave varies from medium to very fine in the Halvai quality. Prices and sizes range widely.

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