Heriz Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Recognized by their subtle harmony of soft earth and strong red tones, Heriz rugs figure among the most well-known Oriental carpets. The primary design motif centers on a large central eight-edged medallion motif. The weaving style is geometric. Knots are the symmetrical Turkish style, looping over two warp threads and coming up between them. Heriz rugs are among the finest and most durable of the Persians.

The small town of Heriz lies in Northwestern Iran west of the capital city Tehran, south of the Caspian Sea, and east of the Iraq border. It has a long history, considerable religious importance, and is the center of a rich rug making area. This can be attributed in part to the many conflicts between Czarist Russia and the Central Asian tribes to the south, continued by the Soviet Union. Many Heriz weavers are descended from Azerbaijan and Armenian immigrants.

Types of Heriz Rugs

The older a Heriz, the more subtle the gradations across colors, the more mellow the color tone, and the more elegant the overall effect. Bakhshayesh and Serapi are the two most important antique varieties. Goravan and Karajdgeh are the two primary contemporary styles. The most famous of these is the Serapi.

The most curvilinear of Heriz rugs are woven in Ahar, the northern end of the Heriz area. Grades of Heriz of course vary; from finest to coarsest they are Ahar, Mehraban, Serapi, Bakhshayesh, and Gorevan. The average knots per square inch number about 120. All are tied into thin, tight piles onto a foundation of either cotton or cotton and wool.

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