Sultanabad Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The central Iranian city of Arak has a long history that includes the production of Sultanabad rugs. Founded in 1808 as Sultanabad and renamed Arak in 1930, the city is older than these dates might indicate. Commercialized rug weaving, for example, dates at least to the mid-17th century.

Pottery discovered in archaeological digs has been dated to the 4th century BC. Sultanabad rugs are those produced in the area around the city, rather than specifically within it. The antique Sultanabads can be broken into three groups, according to style. Contemporary rugs from the region, however, are made in any number of styles. Colors are also not traditional, but determined by customer demand.

About Sultanabad Rugs

Three general motifs characterize the style. One is the Herati, distinguished by a flower within a diamond that is flanked by curving leaves, which sometimes resemble fish. Another is the Sarouk, named for a village in the Arak area. Its 19th century rugs, known as Farahan for the principal designer of the period, featured central medallions. A third motif of Sultanabad rugs, the Semovar, features recurring rather than central medallions.

Traditionally, dark reds and blues were common colors, highlights by soft green, ivory, and cold. The woven foundation of vertical warp threads and horizontal weft threads--into which the knots were tied--was almost exclusively cotton. The knots forming the pile were exclusively wool, usually spun from the weaver's own sheep. Knots were most often asymmetrical.


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