Antique Fereghan Sarouk Rug With Quatrefoil Medallion, Central Persia, Circa 1880

Antique Persian rugs from the late 19th century were occasionally made in pairs. In the case of this rug, there is an interesting story behind it. Perhaps fifteen to twenty years ago we acquired this rug, or one almost identical. I can not really remember which one this is. We had never seen a Fereghan Sarouk in this format with the large Quatrefoil style medallion in light blue on an ivory field with beautiful spacing of the motifs. We assumed it was one of a kind. After we sold the first example to a client, a number of years passed and we acquired a nearly identical rug. A different client purchased that and we have never seen a third example.

It is possible that a certain workshop produced more of these, but in 36 years in this field these are the only two examples we have seen in person or in print. So, I suspect they were woven as a pair, separated at some time and curiously both found their way to us some years apart and ended up in two different collections.

One common feature that “early”; i.e., circa 1870s and 1880s, Fereghan Sarouk rugs have with first generation Mohtasham Kashan rugs from circa 1880 is a superb use of open space between the design elements and a slightly rectilinear articulation of the floral motifs. As both Fereghan Sarouk and Mohtasham Kashan rugs were produced closer to circa 1900 or 1910, they became thicker in pile and more densely patterned, taking on generally a more curvilinear style. These early examples, aesthetically, have somewhat of the feel of an early Heriz or so called “Serapi” rug, with a whimsical nature often lost in later examples. Fereghan Sarouk and Mohtasham Kashan rugs are also generally more finely woven than Heriz rugs, and the detailing can therefore be more complex; but all three types reflect the trend that rugs woven in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of the 19th century tend to have their own character and beauty and by the turn of the 20th century that was beginning to be lost. By circa 1910 to 1915, all three types had changed dramatically. Thankfully, we have these early examples to remind us of what a great art form Persian rugs are.

Place cursor on image and use arrows to view detail photo