(Generally tough and durable carpets)
The town of Heriz is located in north-east Azerbaijan, about 65 km east of Tabriz. The Heriz carpets are knotted on an upright loom, and these carpets are hard proof that knotting density is not the sole determinant of the durability of a carpet. Here, they use good, flexible wool, that despite rather coarse knotting has proven to produce a particularly wear-resistant carpet. The Heriz carpets are often found in large sizes, so it is possible to find a large carpet at particularly favourable prices. However, the old and well-preserved carpets can be quite costly. The pattern is usually a geometrically drawn medallion with large leaf motifs in the middle and corners. The colours are often golden, red-brown and blue as well as light beige. The warp and weft are of cotton, and it is made with Ghiordes knots. The knot density is 8,000 - 17,000 knots per ft2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes., Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, some exquisite and beautiful silk carpets were knotted in and nearby Heriz. These are very rare and very sought after by collectors.
Ahar Mehrawan, Mehravan, Mehraban Gorawan, Goravan
In the towns of Ahar, Mehrawan and Gorawan, near Heriz, carpets are knotted that could easily be mistaken for the Heriz carpets, but which are generally not quite as good.
Mehravan lies within the province of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is found in the north-western corner of Iran, but it continues beyond the Iranian borders. It is an area that has been plagued by wars for centuries. The capital, Tabriz, was founded in the 7th and 8th centuries, but in the 1200s it was conquered by the Mongols under Genghis Khan. In the 1400s, Tabriz became the capital of Persia under the Turkmen. In 1514, the Ottomans entered the province and deported a large part of the population to Turkey. Under the Safavids in the 1500s, the entire province and town of Tabriz experienced a boom, and even back then the crafty town merchants began to organise carpet exports to Europe. I want to focus on the Iranian part of Azerbaijan because that is the area I am most familiar with. In the middle of the 1800s, Tabriz was a carpet production centre, exporting to the west via Istanbul. It has always been home to skilled merchants who could fulfil the West's demand for carpets. Azerbaijan has a highland climate, with cold winters and warm, dry summers. The population density in Azerbaijan is relatively high compared to other Iranian provinces. The majority of the population is originally Turkish, Kurd or Armenian. A large portion is bilingual, speaking both the local Turkish dialect and Farsi, which is Iran's official language. In this area, carpet knotting is performed by both nomads and residents. Of the resident population, knotting is carried out by both men and women. Among the nomads, it is primarily women's work. You can still find good, sturdy and very wear-resistant carpets from the Azerbaijan area on the market, but production is decreasing, like in other areas of Iran. Many of the carpets being sold today were knotted in the 1980s and 1990s. These are carpets with great value for money. The patterns are often large octagons or stylised medallions with flowers and animals. In the actual town of Tabriz, many different patterns are knotted, including patterns that were originally knotted in completely different parts of Iran. Tabriz is a gathering point for carpets from the entire Iranian Azerbaijan region, i.e. carpets from Tabriz, Khoy, Heriz, Ahar, Mehrawan, Goravan, Karadja, Lambaran, Sarab, Ardebil, Meshgin and Miyaneh as well as carpets made by nomads.
You are reading an extract from the book 'Oriental Carpets, Knottet with Love' by Martin Munkholm.
This extensive book about all that is carpets can be borrowed in Danish libraries or be bought following this link: http://www.belle-rugs.dk/dk/ekspertise/taeppebog/
The book is published by Muusmann Forlag.
For more info: muusmann-forlag.dk
See video about Mehrawan rugs here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/h0Gs0QVw1gE
You can find our selection of Mehrawan rugs below