Kerman Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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As early as 1270, Kerman rugs were there for Marco Polo to praise as a marvel to see, a description that holds true today. An ancient city once called Botia, Kerman lies in southeastern Iran with a population of about 2 million. Kerman has long been a trade center, in large part because of its nearness to the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea ports.

One notable family--Atiyeh--owned the majority of the looms and thus stood behind most Kerman rugs during the 20th century. This tradition came to a halt during the Islamic revolution of the 1970s. Atiyek production then shifted to China.

Characteristics of Kerman Rugs

Kermans are noted for being larger than most Persian rugs, averaging about eight by 10 feet rather than the usual four by six feet. Smaller rugs, of course, were also made. Colors are lighter than most other Persians, but still typically reds and blues. Yellows and creams are also used for contrast. An Arabesque medallion is the most common motif, but a "tree of life" design is also common, and especially well known.

Kerman rugs are tightly woven on a tight all-cotton foundation. Knots are tied with the asymmetrical Persian, which rolls under one warp thread, over the second, and back to rise between the two. The average number of knots per inch is more dense than customary, ranging from 120 to as many as 800. Older Kermans featured depressed foundations, with a rigid first and third weft thread and a flexible second. This led to some carpets, especially from Sangusko and Khorasan, being incorrectly identified as Kermans.

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