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Bijan’s Oriental Rugs
Hand-made Oriental Rugs, selected with care and sold with Integrity.

Oriental Rugs - A buyer’s Guide

Oriental Rugs Weaving Groups

  • Kashmir
    Country: India
    Category:  Workshop
    Price range: Low/medium to medium/high
  • General details:
    Made in a number of workshop throughout the Kashmir province of northern India, Kashmirs are generally regarded as the finest rugs made on the Indian subcontinent.  Kashmir is equally renowned for both its wool and silk rugs, and the best quality examples are as good as, and sometimes better than all but the contemporary Persian and Anatolian workshop rugs.  Knotting can be very fine, with 322 Persian knots per square inch as an average on the better rugs, and even higher knot counts on silk and part silk rugs. The materials are generally of reasonably good quality. Unfortunately, A number of inferior rugs, employing the Langri knot (which literally means “lame woman”, and is the Indian equivalent of the Persian Jufti knot), are also produced, either in Kashmir itself or the neighboring states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, and it is therefore extremely important to check each rug carefully.
    The weaving tradition in the region dates back to the 16th century and possibly earlier, but contemporary Kashmirs are made almost exclusively in Persian inspired medallion and corner, vase, paradise, prayer rug, hunting, paneled garden, Zel-i-Sultan, allover floral and Shah Abbas Designs. In addition, a number of (frequently good quality) copies of famous carpets are produced.
    Srinagar, the capital, is noted for its high quality silk rugs, which can normally be distinguished from other silk rugs by their rather stiff handle. As inferior pieces are sometimes passed off as silk Srinagars, always check the knotting and the general “feel” (which should not be too floppy or soft). All Kashmirs are woven o either cotton or silk foundations, and the pile, whether wool or silk, is usually clipped fairly low.  The palette is less pastel than that of other Indian and Pakistani weavers, but the shades are still paler and more contrasting than those in most Persian rugs.  Silk Srinagars are mainly made in small rug sizes, But Kashmirs, whether silk or wool, come in a wide range of sizes, including quite large room size carpets.
  • Resale value:
    Kashmirs are usually very good buys, but they lack the mystique of Persian rugs, and are consequently not viewed as potentially collectable.  However, the better quality rugs have probably the best chance of Indian rugs of holding their value over the longer term.
  • Kayseria
    Country: Anatolia (Turkey)
    Category:  Workshop
    Price range: Low medium/high
  • General details:
    Made in a number of village around the towns of Kayseriaa and Sivas, central Anatolia, and noted for the variety and inventiveness of their designs.  Both silk and wool rugs are produced, and the quality of materials and standard of craftsmanship are generally high.  Woollen pile rugs are normally woven on cotton foundations, with 80 to 240 Turkish knots per square inch, and silk pie foundations, with up to 450 knots per square inch. The Kayseria weavers also produce rugs with a mercerized cotton pile, usually marketed as “art”, or artificial, silk.
    Kayseria designs are based on a number of traditional Anatolian (primarily Ghoirdes) and Persian (mainly Tabriz and Isphahan) compositions and contain both intricate curvilinear and simple geometric schemes. Rich reds, blues, greens, yellow and gold ochres, as well as ivory, are the dominant colors.
    Kayserias are generally regarded as being second in quality to Hereke, amongst Anatolian rugs, and the finest silk rugs are sometimes passed off as Herekes by less scrupulous members of the trade.  They are normally made in a wide range of sizes, but silk and mercerized cotton rugs tend to be more common in smaller dimensions.
  • Resale value:
    Kayserias can vary in quality, but the finer rugs, particularly silk rugs, should hold their value reasonably well.  Only the very finest examples should be considered as investment pieces.
  • Kerman
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Workshop and masterworkshop
    Price range: Low/medium to wealth
  • General details:
    The city of Kerman in southern Persia produces some of the most refined and elegant rugs made. They are usually woven on cotton foundations, with between 196 and 400 Persian knots per square inch, and the pile wool is generally extremely food.  However, their quality is not as consistent as that of some other Persian  workshopgroups, and some very poor caliber rugs are also produced.  Silk is rarely used.
    Kerman is generally considered to be the main source of the most beautiful and inventive Persian designs; even today, their repertoire is unrivaled.  Kerman design can be separated into two broad stylistic types; the first group may be described as “traditional” and includes mainly floral inspired interpretations of medallion, vase, paneled garden, tree-of-life, pictorial, hunting and boteh designs; the second style is often referred to as American” because it was developed for American market during the late 19th century.  American Kermans produced almost always have either an Aubusson or Koran medallion and corner arrangement set against an open field. Their colors are both lighter and more vibrant than those employed by most other Persian workshops (with reds, blues, greens, champagne and turquoise being predominant field hues), and the woollen pile, which is normally left quite long, is frequently subjected to a glossy chemical wash.  These are generally the poorest Kermans currently produced (known as “bazaar quality” in the trade, and it is not uncommon for the monochrome areas of open field to have been woven by looping, rather than knotting the pile yarn, which detracts from the rug’s durability.
    the more traditionally designed Keramns, particularly those from the small town of Ravar (or Laver, as it is often called) are normally of a much higher standard; a good Ravar may be as fine as anything made in the country. Traditional rugs tend to have a shorter pile and are justifiably at the top end of the Persian workshop range; some individual rugs may be of masterworkshop caliber, in particular those made by Arjemand.  All Kermans are made in a variety os sizes, but American Kermans are made more common in large room size carpets.
  • Resale value:
    The investment potential of a top quality Kerman rug is as high as that of any other major Persian weaving group. Traditional designs should hold their value better than American Schemes.
  • Malayer
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Village
    Price range: Medium/high to high
  • General details:
    Contemporary rugs from the Malayer region of west central Persia should not be confused with the old Malayer Farahans, which are no longer made.  They encompass the works of a number of village weaving groups in and around the small market town of Malayer, and are generally very well made, using top quality pile wool and mainly vegetable dyes. Although they are not among the most finely knotted Persian rugs, they are soundly constructed and durable.
    Malayer designs are similar to the more traditional Sarough schemes, but slightly coarser and more geometric; some villages in the region produce rugs closer in appearance to those of Borujird or Borchalu. The most common ground color is dark blue, but rust red and cream are also used, and a number of paler blues, reds yellow ochres and burnt orange are introduced as secondary shades.
    The town asts as a collection center for the surrounding villages and although some rugs are marketed under their village names, the vast majority are simply referred to as Malayers. They are rarely larger than 7x4 feet.
  • Resale value:
    Good quality Malayers keep their value reasonably well.
  • Meshed
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Workshop and occasionally masterworkshop
    Price range: Low/medium to medium/high and occasionally high to wealth
  • General details:
    Meshed is the capital of the Khorassan province of north east Persia and until the mid 20th century was noted for producing some of the finest carpets in the world.  n recent years, the standard of Meshed weaving has declined. The vast majority of Mesheds produced are of medium quality, with only 100 to 200 Turkish or Persian knots per square inch in not particularly hard wearing wool, and their designs often lack the skillful articulation of form and tonal balance that is the essence of all good Persian workshop rugs.
    The repertoire is dominated by medallion and corner schemes in dark reds and blues, although lighter shades are sometimes used. They are similar to a classic Kashan, but the sahpe of the medallion may be circular or oval, with similarly contoured spandrels; the field is nearly always decorated with Shah Abbas motifs, although Herati patterns are sometimes used, and the colors are normally darker.
    Meshed produces some small rugs, but most of their output is confined to larger room size carpets. Some Mesheds which employ Herati decorations may be marketed under the more general heading of Khorassan.  Indian weavers produces copies of Meshed schemes.
    Emoghli is the most famous name in Meshed weaving. There are no contemporary weavers of his caliber. but sheshkalani produces some very fine rugs.
  • Resale value:
    The investment potential of an average Meshed is rather less than that of the other major Persian workshop groups, but the few fine rugs still prodeuced should  hold their value reasonably well.
  • Mori Bokhara
    Country: Pakistan
    Category:  Workshop
    Price range: Low to low/medium
  • General details:
    Arguably the most popular contemporary rugs on the market. They are mad e throughout Pakistan, primarily in the Lahore and Karachi regions, and the range in quality from extremely coarse to extremely fine.  The best quality rugs can have anything up to 200 Persian knots per square inch, whereas the poorer rugs may have under 100 knots, but the local wool is rather too soft for rug making and maybe weakened even further by the frequent use of chemical washes, which give the better quality rugs their characteristic sheen.  Ironically, the poorer quality rugs are normally given much lighter chemical washes, and consequently the pile fabric is less likely to be harmed. Two other weaknesses are the dyes, which tend to be rather more fugitive than most, and the thinness, and consequent frailty, of the yarns.
    Designs are based largely on Turkoman gul motifs, with almost infinite variations being produced; more recently they have extended to include other essentially geometric Turkoman, Persian and Caucasian Schemes, marketed under a range of names, including Kafkazi and Jaldar. Some Mori Bokharas use the same colors as the originals, but the vast majority opt for more pastel shades, which, in combination with the sheeny patina of the wool, enhance both their visual impact and compatibility with Western decorative schemes.
    Mori Bokharas may occasionally be marketed as Tekke or Yamut rugs, depending on the type of gul they employ, but their pastel coloring usually makes their origins obvious, any lingering doubt can be clarified by examining the warp and weft; Pakistani Bokharas always have cotton foundations, whereas authentic Bokharas ormally use wool. Mori Bokhara are made in the widest range of sizes, including tunners, mats and large room size carpets.
  • Resale value:
    Mori Bokharas are often very finely knotted and represent exceptional value for money, but the volume of production couples with a total lack of originality in design makes it extremely unlikely that they will ever become collectable. Although they may be highly recommended for furnishing purposes, they should never be considered as investment.

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