11.6 x 15.8 Antique Heriz Serapi Carpet, Northwest Persia, Azerbaijan Province, Circa 1890

The term “Serapi” is used to describe antique carpets woven in the Heriz district in northwest Persia’s Azerbaijan province in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. Since there is no specific criteria to define a “true” Serapi, it largely rests on the maxim that one “buys a Heriz and sells a Serapi”. Humor aside, there is a difficult to elucidate quality to carpets where most people would use the colloquialism Serapi. Factors include quality of color, spaciousness of design and age. If analyzed far enough from a technical standpoint, the concept disappears into mid air; but many people recognize an exceptional antique Heriz carpet when they see one.

This oversized carpet features a navy blue medallion on a brick red field. Green and sky blue leaves decorate the field, which is framed by ivory corner spandrels and a navy blue “Turtle” border. The skilled use of open space in carpets is often critical to their aesthetic success, and in this example we see ample room for the design elements in the ivory corner spandrels, field and even medallion.

Although Heriz carpets are rarely finely woven, this carpet has a dense weave.

The geometry of Heriz carpets, especially the earlier examples such as this, makes them a favorite choice for both traditional and modern rooms.

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Published in the May / June 2023 issue of The Magazine Antiques