11.3 x 14.11 Antique Heriz / Karaja Serapi Carpet, Northwest Persia, Circa 1890

Carpets are generally identified by a weave style that helps attribute them to a specific village, city, tribal group or perhaps a larger area. In the case of carpets from the Heriz district in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan province, the weave of the carpet greatly helps determine whether the carpet was woven in Heriz itself or, in earlier carpets, in Karaja or Bakshaish. In later carpets from the 1920s or later, carpets were also produced in Mehriban and Ahar and these carpets have their own characteristics.

In this carpet, the weave alternates between the “alternate depressed warp” style associated with Heriz itself and the single knotted construction that suggests they were woven in the satellite village of Karaja. This carpet alternates at various points between a denser Heriz style weave and the lighter Karaja weave, making it an interesting case study.

Heriz area carpets of this age and style are often referred to colloquially as antique “Serapi” carpets. There is no village named “Serapi” and various attempts to describe what makes a carpet a “Serapi” eventually go puff into mid air. That said, the earlier examples (i.e., prior to circa 1900) from the Heriz district, regardless of which village they were woven in, are almost invariably more beautiful than the later examples from the 1920s both in terms of color and design.

This carpet features a navy blue, coral and yellow-camel medallion on an “abrashed” (variegated) salmon to bric red field. Sky blue, celadon green, coral, ivory, camel and a brownish aubergine are seen in the stylized floral elements that decorate the field. The sky blue pendants extending vertically from the medallion are a beautiful feature. Ivory corner spandrels and a terra cotta color “Turtle” border frame the field.

To view detail photos, place cursor on image and use arrows.