Heriz Carpets & Rugs

Heriz carpets are named after the largest and most important town in a district of 30 villages in Northwest Persia. The region is also known as Goravan, Mehriban or Bakshaish . Heriz possesses the distinction of being the village in which the best carpets are woven.[1] The history of weaving in the Heriz district is inextricably linked to the history of weaving in the nearby town of Tabriz, 50 miles due east. During the third quarter of the 19th century, textile merchants from Tabriz (who were responsible for a revival of the industry) attempted to outsource and expand their production area to the district of Heriz.  In an attempt to have village weavers replicate designs from Persian urban centres, the merchants had shown the local weavers Persian city textiles and carpets. Heriz weavers, however, were more accustomed to geometric and angular weavings of a more tribal design. What happened next was the development of a hybrid design distinct to this region which incorporates geometric and tribal elements with the richness of Persian court designs.[2]

Heriz carpets use brightly coloured wools with bold and angular designs. Many Heriz textiles make use of the well-known ‘Herati’ or ‘fish’ pattern which consists of repeated interlaced stems and curved feathery leaves. The signature of a Heriz is the large medallion with over scale cornerpieces filled with angular leaves and foliage. Most Heriz rugs have two wefts between the rows of knots, they are symmetrically knotted and are labelled not by place or village, but rather they are graded by the quality of the material, design and the weaving. The finest grade has been described as the Serapi and often has a more curvilinear design. [3] The wool used for the weaving traditionally came from the neighbouring Shahsavan, a nomadic tribe residing in the Elbrus mountains. Later wool was imported from Tabriz, but it was always top quality and high in lanolin.

In interior design, Heriz carpets are well known for their versatility. Their geometry complements modern furnishings and their artistic depth enhances antiques and interior settings of all kinds.

This magnificent carpet was lying in Scotland, in Kinmount House, Dumfries since the 1930’s. The carpet was later brought to sale in Christies’s in April 2010. Later, the carpet was sold by Ornamentum Ltd and it was purchased by an established dealership in Central London. This example has a beautiful sparseness to its classic, angular central medallion motif. The colours are also very rich, the striking use of red, blue, green and the wool used for the carpet has a wonderful and subtle patina (sheen). The format of the carpet (its unusually large size 5.50m x 3.35m and shape) makes the carpet somewhat unusual for the Heriz area.

[1] Arthur Cecil Edwards, The Persian Carpet: A Survey of the Carpet Weaving Industry of Persia, (London, 1953),p.61

[2] Jennifer Scarce, ‘Gazetteer; Persia’, in David Black (ed.), The Atlas of Rugs and Carpets, (London,1994), pp.134-135

[3] Murray Eiland III, Antique Oriental Rugs , (Suffolk, 2003) pp.55-56