City Style Antique Oriental Rugs


Antique Persian Rug

City carpets were themost elegant of all carpets and were woven in workshops under the careful watch of master rug designers who insured a higher level of quality, for example Hadji Jallili of Tabriz. Using the finest of weaves, these carpets exhibit very precise curvilinear designs with considerable attention to fine detail. The patterns were invariably floral or botanical in nature. The pile was generally cut low to accentuate the great clarity characteristic of city weavings. Called “The Art of Absolute Symmetry”, their perfect, symmetrical drawing is thought to reflect the perfect order of the universe. Each city had its own characteristic set of pattern languages and color palettes. Thesecarpetswere often produced from sophisticated knot-by-knot plans, known as “cartoons,” that were created by master carpet designers. The weavers’ responsibility was to follow the cartoon exactly.

Major styles: Tabriz (notably from the Hadji Jallili workshop), Kermanshah and Laver Kirman (notably from Tausenchian, Khasati and Delmaghani), Kashan (notably from Motasham and Dabir workshops), Amritsar, and Tehran.


Oriental Rugs Spotlight: Agra and Amritsar Rugs

Agra and Amritsar Antique Persian Rug - Claremont Rug Company

The historic Indian city of Agra, best known as the home of the Taj Mahal, has a long and illustrious tradition of carpet weaving. Although the weaving industry in Agra was limited, its workshops produced graceful carpets, recognized for their superb artistry and excellent workmanship. Antique and semi-antique Agra carpets, as opposed to modern “Indo” rugs, are highly sought after, ranking among the finest of decorative carpets.

An elite group of the very finest 19th-century Agra region carpets is attributed to the town of Amritsar. These are known for their extremely fine craftsmanship, extraordinarily lustrous wool, and highly artistic designs and color combinations. The most prized Amritsars show very clearly drawn and spaciously placed designs, often based on “Garden of Paradise” themes. Large Amritsars are quite rarely found and are highly sought after for their grandeur and decorative impact.

Weaving in Agra dates to the founding of the Mogul Empire in India in 1530. The Mogul emperors were deeply affected by Persian art and culture, especially Persian carpets, in what is called “The Golden Age of Persian Weaving”. Their art sought to replicate the beauty of the Persian court where the first Mogul Emperor had spent time in exile and to which the later Emperors remained connected. The resulting “Mogul” carpets were masterworks of creative endeavor which are the forebears of antique Agra carpets still available today.

In 1584, the Third Mogul emperor, Akbar the Great (1556-1606), established his capital at Agra, where his grandson, Shah Jahan, was to build the Taj Mahal. Surviving records from Akbar’s reign speak of royal patronage of weaving, with Persian craftsmen being invited to India to help establish the carpetmaking industry. These records speak glowingly of the high regard with which Agra or “Mogul” carpets were viewed.

Agra carpets combine the grandeur and grace of well-known Persian court designs with new motifs of their own creation. Overall designs of spiraling vinery are frequently combined with small animal forms, sometimes including birds, elephants or people. A very famous Agra design, developed for the Mogul emperors, consisted of rows of flowers in vases. This design was, in turn, adopted by the Persians and can be found in Persian floral carpets. The artistic “cross pollination” between Agra and Persia continued until the end of the nineteenth century.

The weavers of Agra were masters at vegetable dyeing and developed a unique palette of color. Soft mid-tone blues and a profusion of golds are often found in Agra carpets. They also use a range of soft rust-reds to pinks and a unique and appealing lavender tone.These colors give many Agra carpets a light, ethereal appearance which is stunning in the home.

The Agra pieces produced in the early 20th century are often of a commercial nature, and lack the quality and inspiration of their earlier counterparts. However, the finest 19th-century Agra carpets are universally respected by both collectors and interior designers, and are to be considered as individual and highly praised works of art, whose delicate palette of color and whimsical drawing is unique among antique decorative carpets. Undoubtedly, the cream of the 19th-century Agra carpets will continue to appreciate as superb art investments.

Tribal Style Oriental Rugs

Caucasian Kazak Antique Oriental Rug - Claremont Rug Company Caucasian Lambalo Kazak

Antique tribal rugs were woven using geometric patterns with a looser weave and generally only in small formats. The patterns had been handed down for countless generations in an oral tradition until the very early 20th century. Tribal rug patterns are elemental in form and considered symbolic. As they generally had no written history, the rugs and their patterns were very important to the tribal people and became theircultural heritage. Tribal weavers knew the patterns by heart and made variations as they wove. They tended to use full color palettes and dramatic tonal juxtapositions. Collectible tribal rugs still in the market today came mostly from the Caucasus Mountains and the tribal groups of Southwest and Central Persia of the 19th century. They were woven both on the nomadic trail as well as in village settings.

Major styles: Caucasian rugs, Southwest Persian Qashqai, Afshar, Kurdish and Arab Khamseh rugs.