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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

  • Pak. Persian Pak.16/18
    Country: Pakistan
    Category:  Workshop
    Price range: Medium to high
  • General details:
    Generally accepted as the best rugs made in Pakistan; in terms of craftsmanship, they often rival the more prestigious Persian workshop rugs. The name refers to a type and quality of rug, rather than the place where it was made. and these rugs are produced in a number of workshops in and around the cities of Lahore and Islamabad, and to a lesser degree in workshops stretching southwards to Karachi.
    Their designs are based on traditional Kashan, Tabriz and other Persian workshop compositions, and include a wide range of medallion and corner, vase, hunting, pictorial and allover floral and Shah Abbas schemes.  The palette is, however, vastly different to that normally associated with Persian, and they be clearly distinguished from Persian original rugs by their almost exclusive use of pastel shades, in which beige, fawn, champagne, pale blues and ochres predominate. Richer shades are sometimes employed, but even they often have a pastel cast. Today, they have recreated some the most beautiful antique Persian designs in natural vegetable dyes using extremely good quality hand spun New Zealand wool pile.
    The knotting can be very fine, with up to 400 Persian knots per square inch on cotton foundation with high quality New Zealand wool, the pile goes only some way towards emulating the Persian originals. However, these rugs can be both very attractive and well made. They are produced in many different sizes including large room size carpets.
    This range of Pakistani rugs are marketed under the name of Pak. Persians traditional or the new antique recreated vegetable dyed Pak. Persians. They are the most durable and extremely well made Persian design from Pakistan to suit the taste and style Western home furnishing trends.
  • Resale value:
    These rugs represent excellent value and their investment potential is less than that of the Persian counter parts. While they can be highly recommended as furnishing rugs, they should not be looked on as purely “investment” rugs. Since the Pakistani weavers have only started making the Persian design rugs only for the past 20 to 30 years, their chance of becoming a good  investment rug choice in the future is very good.
  • Nain
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Workshop and masterworkshop
    Price range: Medium/high to wealth
  • General details:
    The central Persian town of Nain was renowned as a weaving center for high quality and costly woolen cloth, when this craft fell into decline around the turn of the century, rug weaving were imported from Isphahan, and by mid century the town had established itdelf as one of the foremost carpet weaving centers in the world.
    In appearance, quality and structure, Nain rugs are very similar to Isphahan, but they tend to contain more bird and animal motifs in their infill decorations, and the majority of their designs are outlined in silk.
    Nains are made in most sizes, including room size carpets. he most important and influential master weaver is Habibian, and rugs from his workshop are among the finest contemporary rugs produced in Persia. Masterworkshop rugs are often made in much larger sizes than standard workshop rugs, but they usually employ a similar range of designs and, although wool wool-and-silk are most common, some rugs are made entirely in silk.
  • Resale value:
    Nains are generally comparable with Isphahans, but Isphahans probably have a slight advantage in investment potential due to their more consistent level of quality and worldwide renown.
  • Ghashghai
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Nomadic
    Price range: Low to medium
  • General details:
    Made by nomadic tribesmen from the uplands of the Fars province in southern Persia, who traditionally market their wares in the town of Shiraz.  Old Ghashghai’s rugs are considered by many eminent commentators to represent all that is good in nomadic weaving, and contemporary Ghashgahai rugs, although  rarely reaching the standards of their precursors, are among the most attractive and desirable nomadic rugs made today.
    The Ghashghai’s are a confederation of tribes of different ethnic origins including Arabs, Kurds and Lurs; but the majority are of Turkic stock, which is clearly reflected in the Azerbaijan (north west Persian and southern Caucasian) influence in their designs.  Their repertoire is among the most varied and visually exciting of contemporary nomadic weaving tribe.  It includes a wide spectrum of Boteh, medallion and repeating floral schemes, but the most requently encountered are pole medallions and the Hebatlu design, which derives its name from one of the sub-tribes and features a circular central medallion, repeated on a smaller scale in the four corners. Ghashghai rugs are also noted for the frequent inclusion in the field of tiny people and animals, as well as the more customary floral and vegetal motifs.  The most common colors are deep reds and blues, but a variety of ochres and siennas are also used.
    The knotting on the better rugs can be extremely fine by nomadic standards, with 200 or more Turkish (or sometimes Persian) knots per square inch, and good quality wool is normally used. Ghashghai rugs are often confused with inferior Shiraz rugs, made in and around the town of Shiraz using Ghashghai designs, and which less scrupulous dealers sometimes call Ghashgahai because they can command twice the price of a Shiraz. Both groups make rugs in a variety of sizes, but large room size carpets are rare.  The Ghashghai also produce delightful textile artifacts, including bags, camel and donkey trappings and Kelims.
  • Resale value:
    The finest old Ghashghai rugs are extremely valuable and the better contemporary rugs are almost certain to retain their value to a high degree.  A good quality Shiraz, although lacking the investment potential of Ghashghai rugs, may also retain its value reasonably well, but this is less assured.
  • Ghoum
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Workshop and masterworkshop
    Price range: Low/medium to high, and sometimes wealth
  • General details:
    The holy city of Ghoum in central Persia is noted for silk rugs, which at their best are considered the epitome of contemporary Persian silk weaving, although relatively coarse rugs are also made; woolen pile rugs are produced in equally varying qualities.
    Being relatively new to rug making, Ghoum has no design tradition of it own and employs the design of other Persian workshop groups and some Caucasian, particularly Shirvan groups. The most popular schemes are medallion, Shah Abbas, vase, boteh, Zei-i-Sultan and paneled garden, but almost any other composition may be found.  The palette is equally diverse, various shades of red, blue, green, mushroom, rose, gold and both yellow and orange ochres are employed, but the extensive use of ivory and champagne, particularly as ground colors, is a distinguishing feature. These colors may be either rich or pastel, and it is not uncommon for an antique wash to be used to subdue the tones and give the impression of mellowness through age.  Ghoum can be very well made, with between 250 and 300 Persian knots per square inch on woolen rugs, and 600 or more on silk rugs; good quality material are normally used. The foundation may be either cotton or silk, and both materials may be used, either independently or in conjunction, for the pile.
    Woolen rugs are made in a wide range of sizes, including large room size carpets, but pure silk rugs are usually confined to smaller dimensions. Arguably the most important contemporary master weaver is Rashtizade, and rugs form hos workshop are generally considered to be of exceptionally high quality.
  • Resale value:
    The finest silk Ghoum may prove to have a sound investment potential, as may the finest woolen rugs, but average rugs probably lack the character and aesthetic authenticity needed to ensure their long term value.
  • Sarough
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Village and workshop
    Price range: Medium to high
  • General details:
    Made in a wide area in and around the village of Sarough in the Arak provine of central Persia, they are generally of excellent quality. They are normally woven on cotton foundations, with between 160 and 400 Persian knots per square inch, using very good quality pile wool, which may be clipped either short or medium/long, depending on the design.
    Sarough designs can be separated into traditional and American schemes.  The former include boteh and Herati compositions, either in allover or medallion and corner formats, and are sometimes referred to as Sarabands or Mirs (if Botehs are employed) and Ghiassabads or Mesherikis ( when the Herati pattern is used).  Perhaps the most impressive traditional design is a medallion and corner scheme which combines angularity with stylized, although strangely naturalistic, floral forms. In contrast, the American (or Lilihan) design features large blossoming floral sprays radiating outwards from a central, medallion like floral from. It is so named because it was adapted for the American market from a design originating in the village of the Lilihan; the true Lilhan desihn has a spidery central medallio which American Sarough do not.
    In traditional schemes, the palette is dominated by reds, blues, burnt orange, ochres and champagne, which often have a rather penumbral cast.  American Sarough use either rich rosy reds with blues and paler rose outlining the motifs, or , less frequently, bright pastel shades (usually pale blues, turquoise or lemon yellow), used to create the same strong contrasts between motifs and field as in American Kermans
    Sarough are made in a range of sizes, although American designs are more common in large room size carpets. They are generally of very good quality, but it is important to check rugs because rugs from inferior groups, particularly Mahal, are sometimes passed off as Saroughs.  Indian weavers produced bothe traditional and American Schemes
    Resale value:
    Sarough rugs generally have a very sound resale value, but over recent years this has proved to be more true of traditionally designed rugs than those which employ American schemes.
    Country: Persia (Iran)
    Category:  Village and workshop
    Price range: Medium to high
  • General details:
    Made in the town of Sanandaj (formaerly Senneh of Shena), the capital of Kurdistan in western Persia, which gives its name to Persian knot, altough ironically the Turkish knot is nearly always used. Senneh rugs can be very finely woven on cotton (or sometime silk) foundations, with up to 500 knots per square inch, and the pile wool, normally clipped quite short, is of very good quality.  Kelims are also made in the same range of designs.
    The most popular composition involves the Hearti motifs in an allover or, more usually, a rather angular medallion and corner schemes, but repeating boteh and gul-i-Mirza Ali (French inspired floral scheme which literally means “flower of Mirza Ali”) designs are also often employed. The palette is rich and penumbral, with deep reds, blues and ochres offset by paler shades of the same hues in addition to orange, white, beige and green.  Unfortunately, very few Senneh rugs are now made and only a limited number of small rugs, and even fewer room size carpets, come onto the market. Indian weavers produce copies of traditional Senneh rugs schemes, particularly those based on the Herati and medallion and corner formats, but these are often rather crude in both color and design.
  • Resale value:
    The growing scarcity of Senneh rugs, coupled with the quality of their weaves and artistry, makes them very sound investments. This is particularly true of the finer examples.

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