Abadeh, Abbadeh Out in the middle of a desert-like landscape, right between Isfahan and Shiraz, is the town of Abadeh. You can find some fantastic carpets here. They are sturdy and can withstand many years of use without showing it. The knot density is 160,000-360,000 per m2. Senneh knots are generally used, and the wool is almost always of good quality.
Afghan carpets Afghanistan has old, proud traditions when it comes to hand-knotted carpets. Nomadic people live across most of the country, and they have a long history of knotting carpets. Afghan carpets have never quite achieved the same status as the Persian, Caucasian or Turkmen, but the older Afghan carpets in particular can be beautiful works of art.
Afshar Shar-Babak, shahrbabak. If you drive south-east from Yazd towards the town of Kirman, you will arrive at the town of Shar-Babak. The carpets made here are denser than other Afshar carpets, and the dyes are better matched. The patterns often have large, stylised medallions filled with, e.g. Miribota or stylised flower, animal or bird motifs. The knotter may also have knotted his/her name and the year into the carpet or perhaps a line from a verse. The carpets are made on cotton with Senneh knots and with knot densities of 150,000-360,000 knots per m2. One of their characteristics is that they usually have an edge stitching made of cotton instead of wool, as with most other carpets. These carpets are only rarely seen on the market today, and they are significantly better and more valuable than the other Afhsar carpets.
In the town of Ardebil, the patterns on some of the carpets made today greatly resemble the patterns from the Caucasus. There are large, geometric medallions and stylised animals and flowers, predominantly in golden and light pastel colours. Many carpets with Herati patterns in rust colours are also knotted here. Workshop carpets exist, and the wool quality varies greatly. The warp and weft threads are cotton, and Ghiordes knots are used. Dyes are usually synthetic. These are carpets that are usually quite affordable.
Zagheh, Zaghe, Azadabad, Asadabad Zageh and Azadabad are found north-west of Hamadan. The pattern is often an oblong, stylised medallion with the Herti pattern, framed by a Serabend border. Or, they can be smaller carpets or carpet runners with zigzag patterns. From a quality perspective, these are average to good, compared to carpets in the area.
Babaheydar, Babaheidar, Baba-Heydar. In this area, you also find the small town of Babaheydar. Here, carpets are knotted that are closely related to the Bakhtiar carpets. The shape is a bit more geometric and they can sometimes be knotted rather coarsely. 80,000-160,000 knots per m2 is very common. On the other hand, they are knotted from incredibly good quality wool, which is almost always coloured with natural dyes. These are very charming carpets that are durable when used.
Bakhtiar, The town of the Kurds. Many of the Bakhtiar carpets are knotted in and around the town of Shahrecord by a population that previously lived a nomadic life, but which today has settled down. In this area, they use Senneh knots and the patterns are inspired by the medallions and flower vines of the Isfahan carpets. However, they are not nearly as finely knotted. Here too, the knot density is usually 100,000-250,000 per m2.
Belouch, Balouch, Baluch, Beluch Belouch, Balouch, Baluch, Beluch Belouch carpets are knotted in the eastern part of Khorassan and all the way along the Iranian border to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are mostly made by Belouch nomads, but also in the towns of Turbat-i-Jan, Turbat-i-Haidari and Firdaus. Common to the Belouch carpets is the red-brown ground colour. They are usually very modest carpets with many borders. All the carpets are knotted with Senneh knots (Persian knots). The quality of the Belouch carpets can fluctuate more than any other, and it is difficult to specify a knot density – it can vary anywhere from 7,400 to 69,000 per ft2.
Bidjar, Bijar Gerus, Garus, Geruz (Generally very tough and durable carpets) The carpets from the towns of Bidjar and Tekab, as well as from the nearby villages, are famous for their special knotting technique and the high quality. They are among the sturdiest carpets you can buy. The genuine Bidjar carpets are some of the heaviest and, relative to the thickness of the yarn, some of the most densely knotted carpets available on the market. Source: 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: http://muusmann-forlag.dk/
Kelim, Kelim carpets A science in science There is just as much to say about kelim carpets as there is about pile carpets. My book would be twice as long if I had to write a comprehensive account of kelim carpets. However, it is important to know and recognise your limitations, and my knowledge of kelim carpets is nowhere near as extensive as my knowledge of Persian pile carpets. My family and I have been regularly encountering kelim carpets in connection with our procurement trips. We have also bought and sold some of them, but only in 2012 did we establish a department for kelim carpets in our business and thus started actively dealing with them. Therefore, we still have much to learn about this branch of the carpet industry. I just want to write a little about them here, and to recommend that you read more in books written by kelim specialists. However, kelim carpets have some things in common with pile carpets. Most of them are made in the same countries, at the same locations, in the same villages and by the same nomadic tribes. The patterns, traditions and techniques go far back in history, and it is just as important that good raw materials are used for a kelim carpet as for a pile carpet. Finally, just as with pile carpets, there are replicas that you need to watch out for. The kelim carpet is plainly woven and thus has no pile. The pattern is created by the weft threads, that are fully covered by the warp threads. This technique is related to the tapestry technique. The weft threads are introduced by colour in the desired part of the breadth of the weave. The open gaps or slits that are often found in kelim appear between the colour fields. They can be kept open, or they can be sewed shut. In some variants of the kelim technique, the different coloured adjacent threads are woven together. This prevents gaps. The thread ends can be hidden in the weave, which looks identical on either side, but they can also hang as loose threads on the backside of the carpet. Kelim woven carpets and textiles are also known from ancient Egypt and from several other parts of the world, such as Peru and Poland. However, Oriental kelim is the most famous. For example, the Safavid kelim carpets from 1500-1700 Iran, with silk gold and silver threads, the Persian kelim from Sanandaj (Senneh) and the Caucasian and Anatolian (Turkish) kelim. Most of the Iranian kelim is being made nearby Senneh in the Char-Har-Mahal province and in the Fars province in the south. In particular the large nomadic kelim is often sewed together from one or two strips that were woven on narrow looms. They do not always fit perfectly together, but that is also part of their charm. Kelim carpets of good quality can tolerate a lot more wear and tear than most people realise. There are few such antique carpets on the market, and if they are in perfect condition or carefully restored, they can be very valuable. On the other hand, new carpets of lesser quality can sometimes be bought so cheap that you would think they made a mistake calculating the price. As with pile carpets, it can pay to spend a bit more and get a lot more quality. The Soumak carpets are in the same family as kelim. However, they are made according to a different weaving technique, of which there are several variations. Most soumak carpets from Iran are made near Ardebil, in the north-west, or nearby Sirdjan, in the south-east. Nimbaft In some cases, you see a combination of knotting and weaving in the same carpet. These are called Nim-baft carpets. ‘Nim’ means half and ‘baft’ means knotted. There are thus areas of the carpet's surface that are plainly woven, made with kelim or the soumak technique, and knotted areas with a pile. They have a special relief effect and can sometimes be very decorative and artistic. New kelim concept Some of my friends from Hamburg, the Borhani and Mohammadzadeh families, who are Iranian carpet merchants, are behind the new kelim carpet concept called Edelgrund. Together with a couple of Iranian carpet designers, they started production of modern kelim carpets in the Mazandaran province in northern Iran. Their concept is rooted in old traditions, even though the expression is entirely modern. They use the best raw materials on the market, for both wool and dyes. These kelim are woven in narrow strips, just like the nomads have been doing for centuries. Then, they are sewed together, which allows them to make any conceivable size carpet. This involves modern design. The patterns and the traditions are old. What is new is the way they are composed and the colour scheme. They are very decorative and fall on the pricey end of the scale for newly produced kelim carpets, but it is worth it. Source: 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: http://muusmann-forlag.dk/