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A handknotted carpet from Hamadan in Iran

A beautiful and durable carpet fits everywhere, the picture above shows a Hamadan carpet.

Hamadan is a city situated in the western part of Iran, 300 kilometres west of Teheran. It is one of the worlds oldest cities and is mentioned under the name of Ekbatana in the Bible, see the book of Esther. The city is a centre for trading with carpets that are manufactured in the hundreds from nearby villages and cities. The best of these carpets are sold under their own names such as Nahavand, Tuiserkan, Malayer or Hosseinabad. More simple carpets from the area are sold under the generic term Hamadan.

They are easily recognized with their typical patterns and sizes. The patterns are very varying and the medallion as well as carpets with repeated patterns occur. Among individual pattens the Herati is the most common pattern.

The colours are dominated by different nuances of indigo blue and madder red. Older Hamadan carpets can be very attractive products. In the city itself, Hamadan, carpets were manufactured with a considerably higher quality.The carpets were called Shahr-baff (Shahr=city, baff=knot) and are similiar in structure to the Bidjar carpets, but they are rare on the market today.

The carpets are manufactured with a roppy, shiny and often natural dyed handspun yarn, that provides a very durable surface and beautiful colour scale. Common for all these carpets is that they are nowadays made on a cotton warp with one weft. The patterns are mostly geometrical, but floral motifs also occur. Materials and design can be of very varying quality.

Older carpets (before 1920) are often tied on wool warp, different from todays cotton warp. The younger carpets (after 1960) often have synthetic colorus and less fine wool than older carpets. The most common sizes are dozar and zaronim (approximately 200x120 cm and 150x100 cm).

In general Hamadan can be said to be good utility carpets. Examples of Hamadan carpets are Burchalow, Enjilas, Hosseinabad, Lilihan, Khamse, Zanjan and Malayer carpets. The carpets are also sold under the name of Hamedan.

One of the most common types of Persian rugs seen in the United States is the Persian Hamadan. The city of Hamadan (Hamedan) can be found in western Iran in the province which is also called Hamedan. It is one of the largest weaving areas in the region and encompasses hundreds of villages. Each one of these villages has its own characteristic weaving tradition that dictates the patterns and sizes of the rugs made there (1). Some of these types include the Bibikabad, Ingeles, Borchelou, Dergazine, and Hussainabad.
Vintage Red Persian Hamedan Rug
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Characteristics of Hamadan Rugs

The majority of rugs woven in the Hamadan region use the same color palette of primary colors with ivory, red, blue or brown backgrounds. Hamadan designs are generally simple and usually incorporate floral elements. They also can have hexagonal or diamond shaped designs. Smaller Hamadans typically have a pattern which consists of a central diamond-shaped medallion. Larger rugs and runners can contain three or more medallions. Medallions found in Hamadans can contain geometric figures, floral designs, serrated lines, or hooks among other patterns. Herati designs are one of the most famous patterns found in Hamadans and are named after the village of Herat. However these designs have been less prevalent since WW2. Hamadan rugs are almost always woven on cotton foundations. Before WW1 Hamadans were more commonly woven on wool foundations (1,2). Both the Turkish knot and the Persian knot can be found in different types of Hamadan rugs.
Hussainabad Persian Rug
Camels hair was used more often in the pile of older Hamadans for its color which contrasted well with the bright shades of blue, red and yellow found in other parts of the rug(2). When wool is used for the pile it ranges from coarse to medium in quality. The pile is usually sheared to a medium height. Sizes of Hamadan rugs vary among villages but most are made in smaller sizes from mats to 9’ x 12’ and runners. Hamadan rugs are overall less expensive than other types of Oriental rugs

Hamdadan Rugs
Hamadan Rugs: Village, Hand-Woven Rugs in 3000 Different Styles

Map showing city of Hamadan
City of Hamadan in Iran
Hamadan rugs are hand-woven, high qualityvillage rugs that are manufactured in and around the city of Hamadan in western Iran. Unlike most other rugs that refer to a particular type from one province or city, the term Hamadan actually refers to a wide variety of rugs that are woven across a vast region. The whole rug weaving region comprises of about 1500 separate and distinct villages in and around the city of Hamadan. Each of these villages produces on average 2 different styles of rugs, with some villages producing more than that. What this means is that there are about 3,000 different varieties of Hamadan rugs. What’s particularly interesting is that although all of the rugs produced in these regions are called Hamadan rugs, the materials differ quite a bit because the wool has been obtained from sheep across so many different regions and the designs also differ because of the varying influences in each of the regions.

wool used for Hamadana rugs
Wool used for Hamadan Rugs
With its ideal location right on a road junction in the valley of the ‘Kuh-i-Elwand’ in northwest Iran, Hamadan has long been an important rug weaving and rug marketing center with all of the villages and towns in the surrounding region producing different varieties and sizes of rugs and runners for export. The whole region for miles and miles around is dotted with a host of spinning mills, knotting shops, dye works and laundries that specialize in rugs.

Construction Of Hamadan Rugs

The wool used in the construction of Hamadan rugs is obtained from hardy sheep that graze at high altitudes of the area. This wool is very durable and the knotting is hearty and robust, both of which lend to the long lasting quality of these rugs. Hamadan rugs are typically single wefted and most of them have a cotton foundation. Older pieces are often tied on wool warp, which is in contrast to today’s rugs with their cotton warp.

single weft weaving in Hamadan rugs
Single weft weaving
One thing common in all Hamadan rugs is that they all have symmetric knots and are thickly woven with densities of about 40 to 100 knots per square inch. While all of the rugs that come under the umbrella name of Hamadan rugs are characterized by excellent wool and color quality, you will find that there is a vast difference in the knotting techniques that are used in the different weaving regions.

Hamadan Rug Patterns

Rugs from each of the Hamadan village rugs have their own very distinctive designs which are recognizable to the expert eye. The patterns vary from floral and geometric to overall Herati designs.

The majority of Hamadan rugs have a geometric pattern. The most common designs that can be seen on most rugs from this region consist of the medallion-and-corner design or the all-over boteh or herati designs. Hexagonal shaped and diamond shaped medallions are common. Often the all-over herati designs have a narrow field in the shape of a large octagon. There are many variations each with its own unique characteristic features.

Q&A: Question about area rug Authenticity, value, and little dents on the reverse side...
We look forward to talking with anyone who may have questions on or about oriental rugs. We are an Independent Reviewer, and will give you our opinion for any rug, new or old. Should you have any questions you would like to submit for a blog entry response, please do so, and be sure to include photographs of your rug. For more information, please take a look at the bottom of this page, or feel free to Contact Us at Info@rugrag.com

Question received the week of August 24th, 2008:

Hi again!

Thank you for providing feedback on my other rugs, I have some questions on a relatives rug. She provided me with a so called appraisal letter with the carpet which came from the rug dealer upon purchase. Here what it says:

Certificate of Authenticity appraisal form
This is to certify that the rug herein described is an
authentic hand made rug.

Rug type: Hamedan
Rug size: 6'10" x 4.9"
Origin: Iran
Fiber content: 100% high quality wool pile
Description: 100% handmade & hand knotted
Replacement value: $700
signature

She paid CA$350 (tax included), which is
approximately US$330

The rug was sold to her as a "mature rug," about 30 years old.

Here are a few questions she would like to address:

1) What is a fair price for a tribal rug like that?

2) What should a buyer know about tribal rugs, e.g., are tribal rugs valuable; how to determine their age; how can we say if the tribal rug is good?

3) Can we count KPSI in tribal rugs (the dealer told her that kpsi is not applicable to tribal rugs)?

4) Is it a Hamedan or a Bakhtari rug? (the dealer first told her that it was a Bakhtari rug but then provided her with the letter indicating that it is a Hamedan rug.)

5.) We also noticed on the reverse side of the rug there are so called dents which go along the rug about 1-1.5'' apart (we noticed them on all four sides of the rug along the edges). You might probably notice them on one of the photographs I sent you. Can we leave them untreated or what should we usually do we the dents like that?

6.) Finally, what may be done about slightly faded colors?

As always, your opinion is highly appreciated!

Here are the images:

Hamedan or Shahsavan Design Rug KPSI

Shah Savan Design Carpet from Iran

Back of Hamadan Rug Border

-Anonymous

Response:

Hello! Great to hear from you again!

As I'm sure you know, much of this information is based on certain assumptions which we make about Oriental Rugs when assessing online which are not necessarily exact. A true review of any given rug should really be done in person, however here is some information which we believe may be helpful.

I would not go so far as to call this a Bakhtiari rug, this is probably a "Hamadan" also sometimes spelled "Hamedan." Possibly a more precise name for the design would be a "Shah Savan" or "Shahsavan" as noted in P.R.J. Ford's Guide to "Oriental Carpet Design." pg. 261. The jagged edges around the border and medallion are often refered to as a "lightning" pattern. This type of weave is single wefted, appearing similar to Hamadan Rugs on the reverse side, and often come in this (approx.) 4'6" x 7' size. These rugs come from east of the Kharaghan area of Iran which is located within Hamadan. The knots appear to be symmetrical, zero offset. In the instance of this particular rug, you can count the knots: In fact, we've measured this to be approximately 10x6 or 60 KPSI. In the industry, this is not what one would call a "tribal rug," perhaps more appropriate would be a "village rug" originating from the outskirts of a much larger city.

As for the value, I would say this is a fair market value given the rug is in very good to excellent condition. Other things such as wear, sun fade, color run, damage, hard spots, odor, low quality wool and other conditional issues will obviously detract from the value of this rug.

Having the rug being sold as a "mature rug" really means very little in the industry unless it's in conjunction with another term: if one were to say "mature semi-antique" take the word semi-antique as meaning 50-99 years of age, and the term "mature" as dividing this term as being in the 75-99 year category of semi-antique. The rug you show here I cannot imagine being much more than 20 years of age, although it may be possible for it to be such.

The dents you've referred to often come from blocking the rug to make it square after weaving or to correct for uneven weaving technique. A rug may be woven, and be cut from the loom showing some irregularity in size or shape. The way to correct this is to sometimes stretch the rug on a bed of needles. These dents may very well be from the nails of which the rug had been posted upon to correct shape. For more info, take a look at this posting we did on starched Oriental Rugs. There's really not much one can do to correct this, the best thing is to just leave the dents alone.

As for the color fade, there is not much you can do to prevent or fix this other than keep the rug away from areas of hard light exposure. Corrective measures such as painting or dyeing the wool will often render the affected area to appear far more obvious than the natural, subtle effect of oxidation or sun fade. Painting a rug can be a fairly high investment, and does not assure perfect results. Down the road, it may make the rug more susceptible to c olor run if it were to be washed .

Source : کتابخانه مجازی (داوود گوهری)