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Nazmiyal Antique Rugs
 
JBOC's Notes on Oriental Rugs

Antique Sarouk/Sarough Rugs and Carpets Guide
 
Hagop Manoyan Antique RugsNazmiyal Antique Rugs

Rugs of Arak Province, Iran: American Sarouk Rugs - Feraghan Sarouk Rugs - Mahal Rugs - Sultanabad Rugs - Ziegler-Mahal Carpets - Vist Rugs

Of all Persian rugs and carpets perhaps the most beloved in the United States are the Sarouk carpets. Between the World Wars this was the quintessential Persian rug for the American market. It is popular to condemn the American Sarouk as a travesty but in my opinion it is just a commercial response to the American market.

Trade names for Sarouks include: Feraghan, Viss, Mohajaran Sarouk or Sarough, Sarouk, Mahal, Mushkabad.

One of the things that made the Sarouk Rug so popular is that they were thick durable rugs with very good wool. In the stated we tend to wear shoes in the home so a thicker rug tends to hold up wll.

Persian Rugs: 1920's Painted Sarouk Carpet

1920's Sarouk Carpet

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43436 with a salmon background and floral motif

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43439 with brilliant red design

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43341 with an amazing blue border

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43238 with red and brown floral motif

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43597 with dark peach background

Antique Sarouk Persian Rugs 44151 with gold tones and burnt red design

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43583 beautiful floral design with vines

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug # 43600 rich red and blue background

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43329 with vines and huge medallion

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug #43774 with leaf pattern

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43593 center medallion with red floral design

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43527 with a copper red background

Antique Sarouk Persian Carpets 43587 huge center medallion with blue and red

Antique Sarouk Persian Rugs 43524 a very brilliant red background and floral motif

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43594 with vivid red background

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43559 beautiful center medallion

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43585 with stunning black background

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43512 with vibrant red background and floral border

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 44031 with floral design and rich colors

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43515 with large center medallion

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43842 very rich red background with floral motif

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43306 with tiny floral design

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43301 beautiful medallions

Antique Sarouk Persian Rug 43269 Beautiful green background with floral design

Sarouk Rugs: Medallion Sarouk/Sarough Carpet

 

Persian Rugs: 3 1/2 by 5 foot Painted Sarouk rug

3 1/2 by 5 foot Painted Sarouk

Style and Quality in Sarouk Rugs

Sarouk rugs are made in a rather narrow range of styles and qualities. Rarely do you see poor quality rugs  they are also rarely any better that good quality. It is unheard of to see Sarouk/Sarough rugs in the same grades as the best Isfahan Rugs or Kerman rugs and carpets. I can not remember a workshop grade Sarouk and there is no sign of the fine cartoon designers that we see in other cities. The Sarouk from the 1900 at least seems to have been designed by Westerners.

The American Sarouk

With the loss of the European market in W.W.I the market shifted to a rug called The American Sarouk . As Cecil Edwards told us in The Persian Carpet The American Sarouk had certain distinctive characteristics that made it popular: P. R. J. Ford  suggests that the American Sarouk was originally produced by Mr. S. Tyriakian the Arak representative of K. S. Taushandjian of New York in the early 1920s1.

  1. 11 millimeter pile (.44 inches) deep pile. This was long enough to stand up to a double alkali bleaching after which it was painted.
  2. Knot density from 9 by 10 to 10 by 12 knots to the square inch.
  3. Mill spun cotton warps and the second thinner weft is mill spun the straight weft was hand spun.
  4. Rose field with floral sprays framed by a blue border.

The first European to set up a carpet business in the Sarouk area was very likely Hotz and Son. In a reference to Hotz and Ziegler Reinhard Hubel attributes the pastel shades to Ziegler which suggests that Hotz was using natural dyes.

A.P.H. Hotz (1855-1930)

At the age of 19 Albertus Hotz went to Persia to engage in commercial activities like oil prospecting, coal mining, banking and the carpet weaving industry. In 1884 he moved the seat of his company to London. In 1895 his business failed, but he remained in London until 1902. After a four-year stay in the Netherlands Hotz accepted the post of consul of the Netherlands in Beirut, which he held intermittently until his retirement in 1921. He died in Switzerland in 1930.

Hotz was an avid collector of books and maps. In 1925 he donated part of his collection, mainly maps and atlases, to the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a fellow. After his death his widow Lucy Woods donated his collection of 15,000 books together with a great number of papers, pamphlets and photographs to Leiden University Library. Well represented in the book collection are Middle Eastern travelogues and diaries. A printed catalogue of the books appeared in 1935-1936: Catalogus A. Hotz, 2 vols., Leiden (Bibliotheca Academiae Lugduno-Batavae, Catalogus, vols. 27, 34). The Hotz Collection / Oosterse collecties

Late Twentieth Century Sarouk

Sarouk rugs are still thick but they are no longer painted. In the second half of the twentieth cream field Sarouks are becoming more popular.

Persian Rugs: Late 20th Century Sarouk Rug

Late 20th Century Sarouk Rug

 
 

Late 19th Century Feraghan

Late 19th Century Antique Feraghan Rug

Feraghan Sarouks

Prior to the introduction of the American Sarouk these carpets represented the best of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Feraghan but were likely made in a number of villages.

Once the American Sarouk took off these began to disappear. These pieces are highly desirable in today's market and this one sold for just over 500 dollar per square foot ($74,000) at  Sotheby's New York, when it went up for auction in 1998.

These pieces are very similar to the Mohtashem Kashan rugs in handle and structure. An attribution clue is that that Mohtashem Kashan carpets have lavender silk selvages.

Antique Mahal Persian Rugs: 

Mahal Carpet

From the collection of the Mosque of the Imam Reza:

This is a  Mahal Carpet. Mahal is a grade of Sarouk that is thinner than an American Sarouk. This is one of the rugs deaccessioned from the collection of the Mosque of the Imam Reza when the Mosque sold off pieces of it's collection to raise funds.

Mosque of the Imam Reza Collection Mahal

Mosque of the Imam Reza Collection Mahal

 

Sarouk Rug, Arak Area, Iran.

Size: All sizes made. carpet sizes are more common.

Structure: Asymmetrical knot open to the left.  Ranges from 60 to 300 knots per square inch with  the American Sarouk averaging 90 to 120 knots per square inch.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Cotton

Weft: 2 shots cotton. First shot is thicker and straight and the second is thinner and sinuous. Deeply depressed knots with a warp offset of 85 to 90 degrees.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Overhand knots with warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 cord plain wool.

Handle: Medium. American Sarouks have a heavier handle while Feraghan Sarouks and Mahal rugs have a thinner suppler handle.

Further Notes:


Similar Rugs

  • Feraghan Sarouks are very similar to the Mohtashem Kashan rugs in handle and structure. An attribution clue is that that Mohtashem Kashan rugs have lavender silk selvages.

Related examples:

Sarouk Rugs: Zand or early Qajar Sarouk carpet mid 18th-early 19th C. W&W lot 265

Books & Articles - Sources on Sarouk Rugs:

Sarouk Videos

Persian Rug Wool Wrapped Selvages

Warps, Fringe, and Beater Bar Vacuums

A close-up look at the fringe of a Sarouk Rug that has lost knots due to over vacuuming.

Sarouk Links:

No set of rules is absolute. I am building these guides as an attribution guide to help when I am working with rugs.

  1. Ford, P. R. J. Oriental Carpet Design. London: Thames and Hudson, 1981, paperback 1993. Page 281


Thanks and best wishes,

J. Barry O'Connell Jr.


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