Guide to Antique Kerman Rugs and Carpets

Background

Kerman or also Kirman are a group of related rugs of rugs centering around the city of Kerman and that part of Kerman province. These rug are predominantly woven by weavers who speak Persian and who are Shia Muslims. Large and small workshops as well as home production are the rule following a fairly narrow range of designs.

Marco Polo praised the carpets of Kerman as a marvel to see in 1270. His description is still apt today. Kerman is the capitol city of a province of the same name in Southeastern Iran. It is a city of about 2 million people about 1000 kilometers southeast of Tehran. For about the last 100 years a major source of high grade Persian carpets. Today Kerman produces highly distinctive carpets primarily in highly floral medallion plan and medallion all over designs.

In the older carpets the all cotton foundations have a depressed foundation with the first and third wefts rigid and the second sinuous. This has caused some to incorrectly attribute the Vase and Sanguszko carpets to Kerman. John Chardin traveling in Persia from 1673 to 1677 noted Kerman province especially Seistan as the home of the finest Persian Carpets.

Characteristics
  • Size: All sizes made up to 15 by 30
  • Structure: Asymmetrical knot open to the left.  100 to 400 knots per square inch. Grades: 70/35  - 160 kpsi, 80/40 - 210 kpsi, 90/45 - 265 kpsi, 100/50 - 330 kpsi.
  • Yarn Spin: Z.
  • Warp: White cotton
  • Weft: 2 or 3 shots cotton. 3 shots is seen in the older
  • Pile: 2 wool singles.
  • Ends: Overhand knots with warp fringe.
  • Selvages: 1 cord plain wool.
  • Handle: Light - medium.
  • Further Notes:
Raver or Laver Kerman became known for the best Kerman Persian carpets.

Raver was a town 120 miles from Kerman where the Atiyeh family owned a large number of looms. Through the 20th century the Atiyehs were a major or perhaps the major producer of Kerman carpets. It only stopped when due to the Islamic revolution and ensuing difficulties they shifted production to China.



Other villages besides Raver include Mahan, Jupar, Rafsanjani, Kupayeh district, Chatrud, Khanuk, Hudk, Sarasiab, Dewziah, Seredar, Mazabad, Gok, and Zarand.

The best books on Kerman rugs are The Persian Carpet by Cecil Edwards and Oriental Carpet Design. by PRJ Ford. Edwards praised Kerman carpets extensively and felt they were the best of Persia and best in the world. he noted that due to the use of roller looms they were weaving up to 15 by 30 foot carpets.

Edwards noted that the top designers were:
  • Mohsen Khan,
  • Hassan Khan (his son) died 1945.
  • Ahmed Khan (his Grandson)
  • Ahmed Khan,
  • Ahmed Ali Khan,
  • Zeman Khan,
  • Sheikh Hossein,
  • Azizollah,
  • Ali Riza.

Examples:


Kirman Garden Carpet Fragment





Cypress Kirman Ravar Rug ca. 1850 Rippon Boswell





Arjomand Style Kerman Carpet 1950s




Doris Leslie Blau Kirman Carpet c. 1920





A Kerman carpet, South East Persia, mid 20th century








first quarter 20th century minor oxidization to mink brown ground



A Kerman prayer rug, South East Persia, circa 1930



An attractive Raver Kerman prayer rug





 Kerman Paradise Garden 









A Kerman carpet, South East Persia, circa 1920



Fine Kirman prayer rug


the ivory field with stylised larege flowering tree together with perching birds and peacocks, indigo mihrab above with animal combat groups, floral meander and birds, in camel border of meandering leafy vine together with palmettes and floral sprays between burgundy-red similar stripes, outer floral and plain stripes, good condition --206cm. x 127cm.(6ft.9in. x 4ft.2in.)



Kirman Carpet, Late 19th C.




Antique Kerman Rugs: Kirman Carpet C 1890

Minor spots of localised wear, occasional touches of repiling, corroded brown



Full soft pile throughout, selveges partly re-bound, otherwise excellent condition



Areas of wear, tinting, selvages replaced, ends secured







Pictorial Kerman Rug, Late 19th C.
Pictorial Kerman Rug, Late 19th C.
Origin: South East Persia, late 19th century

Measurements: 6ft. 7in. by 4ft. 5in. (201 by 135cm.)



Laver Kerman Carpet, End 19th C.
Laver Kerman Carpet, End 19th C.
Size: 432 x 335 cm.



Pair of Kerman Lion pictorial rugs, C. 1910-20
Pair of Kerman Lion pictorial rugs, C. 1910-20
Origin: South Central Persia, about 1910-20

Size: each 3ft.6in. x 3ft.1in. (1.07m. x 0.94m.)

Condition: Slight even overall, heavier in small areas, one with slightly heavier wear than the other.

The pictorial element is based on the Aechemenid statuary at Persepolis.



Ravar Kerman prayer mat, C. 1900-20
Ravar Kerman prayer mat, C. 1900-20
Origin: South Central Persia, about 1900-20

Size: 2ft. 10in. x 2ft.1in. (0.86m. x 0.64m.)

Condition: Evenly low overall, fringes not original.



Zarand Kerman Kilim, around 1900
Zarand Kerman Kilim, around 1900
Origin: Northwest Persia, around 1900

Size: ca. 264 x 171 cm.

Condition: Sides original, both ends slightly reduced. Reweaves throughout, some staining.



Zarand Kerman Kilim, around 1900
Zarand Kerman Kilim, around 1900
Origin: Northwest Persia, ca. 1900.

Size: 487 x 171 cm.

Condition: Reweavings, repaired, minimal damages, overall good condition.



Kirman Carpet, c.1880
Kirman Carpet, c.1880
Origin: Southeast Persia, circa 1880

Size: 13ft.7in. x 8ft.9in. (414cm. x 266cm.)

Condition: Full pile throughout, occasional repiling.



Lavar Kerman Carpet, Southeast Persia, late 19th C.
Lavar Kerman Carpet, Southeast Persia, late 19th C.
Origin: Southeast Persia, late 19th century

Measurements: approximately 16ft. 5in. by 10ft. 11in. (5.00 by 3.33m.)



Kerman Carpet c. 1910
Kerman Carpet c. 1910

Approximately 19ft. 7in. by 14ft. 4in. (5.97 by 4.37m.) circa 1910 some oxidized browns, overcast sides.



Kerman carpet first quarter 20th c.
Kerman carpet first quarter 20th c.

Approximately 24ft. 2in. by 11ft. 7in. (7.37 by 3.53m.) First quarter 20th century signature cartouche to one end, remnants of original flatwoven end finishes, selvage fraying in areas.



Kerman Bunny Rug

Kerman Bunny Rug

Rigid corded weft then a sinuous weft and then a rigid corded weft between each row of knots.

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