Guide to Karaja Rugs and Carpets

History / Background
All during the 19th and into the 20th century there was pressure from Russia in first the Czarist era and on into the communist era. The Russians actually seized Tabriz and only left in 1945 when President Truman threatened an Atomic (not nuclear this was before the development of Nuclear bombs) strike on a Soviet city if the Russians did not pull their troops out of Tabriz. I believe that Karaja weavers were from further up in the Caucasus and moved south to avoid Christian or Communist rule.

Also spelled Karadja, Gharadjeh, Qaraajeh, Gharajeh.

Karaja is a village in the northeast of the Heriz region not far from the Azerbaijan Border. Karaja rugs seem to fall into two distinctive groups. The first group Type A is as we see to the left is typified by a row or rows of medallions that while not unique are most often seen in Karaja rugs especially smaller sizes and runners. The Type B Karaja remind me of a a single wefted Heriz carpet. In older Type A Karaja rugs I expect red or blue fields drawing heavily on madder red dark indigo blue and white with lesser amounts of other colors. Type B Karaja rugs are usually in carpet sizes and frequently use a significant amount of light blue that is almost as light as a robin's egg blue.

Rug Structure:

Picture a single wefted Heriz.

single weft heriz

The Karaja weave is a Single weft similar to the "Sennah Baft" or Hamadan weave. Here the wefts are rigid and the warps are sinuous. In the sketch the wefts are heavier than the warps but in a Karaja rug the warps and wefts are more balanced. It is woven with symmetrical knots. Since there is only one shot of weft between each row of knots this shows every other warp which makes these rugs easy to spot. If it has the medallions of a Type A Karaja or appears to be a single wefted Heriz then think Karaja. If it does not then think Hamadan. It sounds simplistic but after you see a few it is not hard to tell them apart. Karaja wool is different and the rugs have a heavier handle.

Examples:

Sarkis Kish Antique Karaja Rug

Sarkis Kish Antique Karaja Rug


Karaja Carpet circa 1900
Karaja Carpet Circa 1900
MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 554 by 320cm., 18ft. 2in. by 10ft. 6in.

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1900





Karaja Carpet circa 1880
Karaja Carpet Circa 1880
DESCRIPTION:
Circa 1880
Condition Note: partially oxidized charcoals, missing end guard stripes, false fringes, reselvaged, minor moth damage.

14ft. by 11ft. Karaja Carpet

14 by 11 Karaja Carpet

DESCRIPTION:

Arcade furniture and decorative works of art: including a fine collection of fine canes and chess sets from a gentleman of title.

MEASUREMENTS:

Approximately 14ft. 1in. by 11ft. 2in. (4.29 by 3.40m.)


Karaja Carpet 12ft by 11ft circa 1880
Karaja Carpet 12ft by 11ft circa 1880

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 12ft. 7in. by 11ft. 4in. (3.84 by 3.45m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1880

Condition Note: oxidized charcoals, minor reweaves, rejoined foldwear, missing end guard stripes,


Karaja Rug circa 1900
Karaja Rug circa 1900

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 6ft. 2in. by 4ft. 10in. (1.88 by 1.47m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1900

CONDITION NOTE:

Oxidized charcoals, minor partial ends


The Doris Eder Karadja Runner
The Doris Eder Karadja Runner

Title: A Karadja Runner

Origin: Northwest Persia; Azerbaijan, 1st half 19th century

Size: approx. 352 x 108 cm

Notes on Condition:

In good condition with the original finishes all around.


Sarkis Kish Antique Karaja Rug
Sarkis Kish Antique Karaja Rug

Comments:

I believe this is the rug I saw when I was in the shop. Memphis is a great town for Karadja rugs. I saw more Karadja rugs there than any town I have ever been but of all the ones I saw Sarkis had the prettiest.

DESCRIPTION:

Persian

Antique Karadja

MEASUREMENTS:

7 x 6


Antique Karaja Runner
Antique Karaja Runner
Antique Karaja Runner 2

Antique Karaja Runner 3

Antique Karaja Runner in very good condition. Karaja is the home of some of the finest runners made in Iran of which this is a good example. Karaja is a collection point on the western edge of the Heriz production area. This rug however is an authentic Karaja because the distinctive medallions are a sign of the Karaja production.

The rug is single wefted and in very good condition . The wool quality is very good and the dyes seem good. This is a very good old piece that should give years of service. This rug has very good color. Everything in harmony. On my monitor the medium blue looks a little hot but in the rug it looks fine.

Karaja Rug. Iran, Early 20th century. 2 foot 6 inch by 8 foot.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 6 knots per horizontal inch and 10 knots per vertical inch. 60 per square inch (930 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: White cotton.

Weft: 1 shot blue cotton.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: Warp fringe slightly reduced.

Selvages: overcast dark brown or blue, wool.

Further Notes: Very good condition, low but very usable. Small cut in selvage - simple repair. Scan at left shows worn area.


Semi-Antique Karaja Runner
Semi-Antique Karaja Runner
Semi-Antique Karaja Runner 2

This is a good old Karadja Runner in excellent condition. Karaja is the home of some of the finest runners made in Iran of which this is a good example. Karaja is a collection point on the western edge of the Heriz production area. This rug however is an authentic Karaja because the distinctive medallions are a sign of the Karaja production.

The rug is single wefted and has medium length pile. The wool quality is very good and the dyes seem good. This is a very good old piece that should give years of service. This rug has very good color, one of the reds may seem a touch hot but the runner certainly looks a very good older piece. Everything in harmony. On my monitor the medium blue looks a little hot but in the rug it looks fine.

Karaja Rug. Iran, Early 20th century. 2 foot 6 inch by 8 foot.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 9 knots per vertical inch. 63 per square inch (976 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: White cotton.

Weft: 1 shot blue cotton.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: Warp fringe slightly reduced.

Selvages: overcast with red, blue, or brown wool.

Further Notes: Very good condition, good pile. very usable


Karaja Carpet circa 1930
Karaja Carpet Circa 1930

DESCRIPTION:

North west Persia about 1930

MEASUREMENTS:

10ft.9in. x 7ft.7in. 3. 28m. x 2.31m.

Slight overall wear, heavier along vertical central crease and elsewhere.


New Karadja Runner
New Karadja Runner
New Karadja Runner

2' by 6' 5" Karadja Runner

This is a very fine Karadja Runner in new condition. Karaja is the home of some of the finest narrow runners made in Iran of which this is a good example. Karadja is a collection point on the western edge of the Heriz production area.

The rug is single wefted and has medium length pile. The wool quality is very good and the dyes seem good. This is a very good durable new piece that should give years of service. I get antique Karaja in and I see how well they hold up. This rug has more subtle variations in color than is obvious from the pictures.

Karaja Rug. Iran, 20th century. 2 foot by 6 foot 5 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 10 knots per vertical inch. 80 per square inch (1240 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Hand spun cotton.

Weft: 1 shot white cotton.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: warp fringe.

Selvages: overcast with black wool.

Further Notes: This is a new rug in new condition

New Karadja Runner 3
New Karadja Runner 4

Karaja Rug. Iran, 20th century. 2 foot by 6 foot 4 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 10 knots per vertical inch. 80 per square inch (1240 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Hand spun cotton.

Weft: 1 shot white cotton.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: 1 1/2 inch plain weave on one end, 1 1/4 inch plain weave with warp fringe other.

Selvages: overcast with brown wool.

Further Notes: This is a new rug in new condition.


Karadja Rug 1st Half 19th century
Karadja Rug 1st Half 19th Century

Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaidjan, 1st half 19th century

Size: ca. 192 x 164 cm

Notes

Sides and ends not original, pile low with visible traces of age.


Antique Karaja Carpet
Antique Karaja Carpet

DESCRIPTION:

An antique Karaja carpet

The shaded rust field with overall design of bold polychrome palmettes, angular floral vine and serrated leaves, in broad shaded indigo border of polychrome palmettes, angular arabesques, floral and leafy vine between light blue and abrashed rust-brown floral meander stripes, slight localized wear --339cm. x 274cm.(11ft.2in. x 9ft.)


Karaja Carpet circa 1900
Karaja Carpet Circa 1900

Date of Origin circa 1900

A KARADJA RUG, NORTHWEST PERSIA,

Approximately 6ft. 10in. by 4ft. 6in. (2.08 by 1.37m.)




18 by 11 Karaja Carpet Circa 1900


18 by 11 Karaja Carpet Circa 1900

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 18ft. 8in. by 11ft. 7in. (5.69 by 3.53m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1900

Condition Note: oxidized charcoals, partial end guard stripes, minor moth damage, reselvaged.

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