Antique Sarouk/Sarough Rugs & Carpets Guide

Of all Persian rugs and carpets perhaps the most beloved in the United States are the Sarouk carpets. Between the World Wars this was the quintessential Persian rug for the American market. It is popular to condemn the American Sarouk as a travesty but in my opinion it is just a commercial response to the American market.

Trade names for Sarouks include: Feraghan, Viss, Mohajaran Sarouk or Sarough, Sarouk, Mahal, Mushkabad.

One of the things that made the Sarouk Rug so popular is that they were thick durable rugs with very good wool. In the stated we tend to wear shoes in the home so a thicker rug tends to hold up well.
Antique Sarouk/Sarough Rugs and Carpets Guide

Style and Quality in Sarouk Rugs

Sarouk rugs are made in a rather narrow range of styles and qualities. Rarely do you see poor quality rugs they are also rarely any better that good quality. It is unheard of to see Sarouk/Sarough rugs in the same grades as the best Isfahan Rugs or Kerman rugs and carpets. I cannot remember a workshop grade Sarouk and there is no sign of the fine cartoon designers that we see in other cities. The Sarouk from the 1900 at least seems to have been designed by Westerners.
3 1/2 by 5 foot Painted Sarouk

The American Sarouk

With the loss of the European market in W.W.I the market shifted to a rug called The American Sarouk. As Cecil Edwards told us in The Persian Carpet the American Sarouk had certain distinctive characteristics that made it popular: P. R. J. Ford suggests that the American Sarouk was originally produced by Mr. S. Tyriakian the Arak representative of K. S. Taushandjian of New York in the early 1920s1.

11 millimeter pile (.44 inches) deep pile. This was long enough to stand up to a double alkali bleaching after which it was painted.

Knot density from 9 by 10 to 10 by 12 knots to the square inch.

Mill spun cotton warps and the second thinner weft is mill spun the straight weft was hand spun.

Rose field with floral sprays framed by a blue border.

The first European to set up a carpet business in the Sarouk area was very likely Hotz and Son. In a reference to Hotz and Ziegler Reinhard Hubel attributes the pastel shades to Ziegler which suggests that Hotz was using natural dyes.

A.P.H. Hotz (1855-1930)

At the age of 19 Albertus Hotz went to Persia to engage in commercial activities like oil prospecting, coal mining, banking and the carpet weaving industry. In 1884 he moved the seat of his company to London. In 1895 his business failed, but he remained in London until 1902. After a four-year stay in the Netherlands Hotz accepted the post of consul of the Netherlands in Beirut, which he held intermittently until his retirement in 1921. He died in Switzerland in 1930.

Hotz was an avid collector of books and maps. In 1925 he donated part of his collection, mainly maps and atlases, to the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a fellow. After his death his widow Lucy Woods donated his collection of 15,000 books together with a great number of papers, pamphlets and photographs to Leiden University Library. Well represented in the book collection are Middle Eastern travelogues and diaries.

Late Twentieth Century Sarouk

Sarouk rugs are still thick but they are no longer painted. In the second half of the twentieth cream field Sarouks are becoming more popular.
Late 20th Century Sarouk Rug

Feraghan Sarouks

Prior to the introduction of the American Sarouk these carpets represented the best of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Feraghan but were likely made in a number of villages.

Once the American Sarouk took off these began to disappear. These pieces are highly desirable in today's market, and are very similar to the Mohtashem Kashan rugs in handle and structure. An attribution clue is that that Mohtashem Kashan carpets have lavender silk selvages.
Late 19th Century Antique Feraghan Rug

Mahal Carpet

This is a Mahal Carpet. Mahal is a grade of Sarouk that is thinner than an American Sarouk. This is one of the rugs deaccessioned from the collection of the Mosque of the Imam Reza when the Mosque sold off pieces of its collection to raise funds.
Mosque of the Imam Reza Collection Mahal

Rug Structure

Size: All sizes made. carpet sizes are more common.

Structure: Asymmetrical knot open to the left.  Ranges from 60 to 300 knots per square inch with  the American Sarouk averaging 90 to 120 knots per square inch.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Cotton

Weft: 2 shots cotton. First shot is thicker and straight and the second is thinner and sinuous. Deeply depressed knots with a warp offset of 85 to 90 degrees.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Overhand knots with warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 cord plain wool.

Handle: Medium. American Sarouks have a heavier handle while Feraghan Sarouks and Mahal rugs have a thinner suppler handle.


Antique Painted American Sarouk/Sarough Rug Circa 1930
Antique Painted American Sarouk/Sarough Rug Circa 1930
Antique Painted American Sarouk/Sarough Rug Circa 1930

Sarouk Rugs: Antique Painted American Sarouk Rug Circa 1930

Size: 3 foot 6 inch by 4 foot 10 inch.

This is the classical painted Sarouk. Too much of America this is what they remember as a Persian Carpet. So often this is the Persian Carpet that most people grew up with.

This rug has the typical color and is in good serviceable condition.

Sarouk Rug, Arak area, Persia/Iran. Circa 1930

Size: 3 foot 6 inch by 4 foot 10 inch.

Structure: Asymmetrical knot open to the left.  8 knots per horizontal inch and 9 knots per vertical inch. 72 per square inch (1116 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 1 ply white cotton.

Weft: 1 shot blue cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Stabilized plain weave

Selvages: 1 cord overcasting brown wool stabilized.

Handle: Light, durable, pliable.

Notes: Good condition, missing plain weave on end, selvage is lost or worn in places.


American Sarouk Carpet 9 by 11 Foot Circa 1920
American Sarouk Carpet 9 by 11 Foot Circa 1920
American Sarouk Carpet 9 by 11 Foot Circa 1920

1920's Sarouk Persian Carpet

Size: 8 foot 9 inch by 11 foot.

Between the world wars in the United States the Sarouk Persian Carpet was king. This one was bought in 1941 or 42 for my Grandfathers house in Scranton Pa. This was the style in the United States for the well-appointed house of its day.

1920's Painted Sarouk, Persia. Circa 1920.

Size: 8 foot 9 inch by 11 foot.

Structure: Asymmetrical knot open to the right. 10 knots per horizontal inch and 11 knots per vertical inch. 110 per square inch (1705 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: White cotton.

Weft: 2 shot blue cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Stabilized .5 inch warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 cord overcasting red wool.

Handle: Light-medium, durable, soft.

Notes:  Average condition, 1 golf ball sized hole on third border left side, pile worn to warp in center of carpet, wool selvages show wear, warps visible in several areas on both sides.


Yellow Field Sarouk Rug
Yellow Field Sarouk Rug
Yellow Field Sarouk Rug

Sarouk Rug

Size: 3 foot 6 inch by 5 foot 10 inch.

This s a thick plush floral Sarouk. Sarouks are well made durable rugs that will give a lifetime of wear.

The Sarouk area was settled by an offshoot of the Saryk tribe of Central Asia who settled in Iran in Kizilbash times. I remember years back I was taking the appraisal Sciences Course at George Washington University. Uncle Jimmy Keshishian was my teacher and the class was going through a stack of rugs. Uncle Jimmy pointed out a Sarouk minor border and noted that when you see that it is a sign that it is a real Sarouk. What I noticed was that it is a border we also see in Saryk weaving. It is not in the pattern but in little things like guard borders and selvages that we are most likely to see clues to how the weavers are related.

Sarouk. Arak area, Iran 20th century

Size: 3 foot 6 inch by 5 foot 10 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 96 per square inch (1488 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp:  Ivory cotton.

Weft: 2 shots ivory cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: .5 inch plain weave and post-hitch wharf binding with 2.5 inch warp fringe.

Selvages: Single cord overcasting, tan wool.

Handle: Heavy, soft wool, durable, dense, thick pile is .5 inch high.

Notes: New condition. This is a beautiful carpet. Please note the lighter palette then we usually see in Persian rugs. This is very similar to a rug I sold recently but this one is longer and narrower.


Mohajaron Sarough Carpet
Mohajaron Sarough Carpet

A Mohajaron Sarouk carpet

Central Persia circa 1920

Size approximately 12ft 6in x 18ft 9in


Mosque of the Imam Reza Mahal Carpet
Mosque of the Imam Reza Mahal Carpet
Mosque of the Imam Reza Mahal Carpet

Size: 7 foot by 10 foot 4 inch.

This is a beautiful old Mahal rug. It is an older carpet but it is in nearly perfect condition. This is one of the rugs deaccessioned from the collection of the Mosque of the Imam Reza when the Mosque sold off pieces of its collection to raise funds.

Handmade Mahal Carpet. Arak area, Persia/Iran Circa 1960.

Size: 7 foot by 10 foot 4 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 10 knots per vertical inch. 70 per square inch (1085 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp:  Ivory cotton.

Weft: Two shot ivory cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Post-hitch wharf binding with 1 inch warp fringe.

Selvages: Single cord overcasting red wool.

Handle: Heavy, soft wool, durable, dense.

Further Notes: Excellent condition.

Provenance: Mosque Collection Mosque of Imam Reza, Meshed Iran.

Mosque Collection, Mosque of the Imam Reza

One of the most sacred shines to Shia Muslims is the tomb and Mosque of the Imam Reza in Meshed Iran. For over 400 years that I know of people have been donating rugs to the Mosque collections and then the mosques will sell rugs when they need to raise funds.


Sarough Pushti Rug 1st quarter 20th century
Sarough Pushti Rug 1st quarter 20th century

Description: SAROUGH POSHTI

Origin: West Persia, Arak Region,

1st quarter 20th century

Size: ca. 58 x 87 cm

Notes

Front of cushion in a rare rectangular size. – In very good condition.


Sarough Rug early 20th century
Sarough Rug early 20th century

Sarouk Rug,

North west Persian early 20th century,

7ft.3in. x 4ft.6in. 2.21m. x 1.37m.

Slight even wear overall, slightly heavier in places. Nil


Zand or early Qajar Sarouk carpet late 18th-early 19th C.
Zand or early Qajar Sarouk carpet late 18th-early 19th C.

A remarkable North West Persian, probably Saruk, carpet, late 18th-early 19th century,

10ft. x 7ft. 3.05m. x 2.13m.

Overall uneven wear, heavy in places. Despite its condition, enough remains of this exceptionally beautiful carpet to demonstrate that it may well be one of those rare examples from the Zand or early Qajar periods which form the link between late Safavid weaving and the 'Revivalist' period in the second half of the 19th century.


Medallion Sarouk/Sarough Carpet
Medallion Sarouk/Sarough Carpet

Sarough Rug

7'10 x 10'11

Product Type: Original, One-of-a-kind

Size (ft.): 7'10 x 10'11

Size (cm.): 240 x 332

Colors: Red, Blue-Navy

Woven: Hand knotted

Foundation: Cotton

Pile: Wool

Style: Sarough

Origin: Sarough Persian Rug

Dye: 80% Vegetable Dye

KPSI: 118

Knotting

About Sarough Rugs

Sarough is a large village which is located near Arak in west-central Iran. It is an important and historic center in the region, with a respected, romantic name in carpet weaving. Patterns usually incorporate floral vines, with red and navy as predominant colors, generally carried out in wool of very high quality.


Mini Khani pattern Fereghan carpet 3rd quarter 19th century
Mini Khani pattern Fereghan carpet 3rd quarter 19th century


Country of Origin: Persia/Iran

Comments: Attractive Mini Khani pattern Fereghan

A FEREGHAN GALLERY CARPET, NORTH PERSIA,

Approximately 14ft. 3in. by 7ft. (4.34 by 2.13m.)

DATE OF OBJECT

Third quarter 19th century

Notes: This is part of the broader group of Arak Rugs. Up until W.W.II these carpets represented the best of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Feraghan but were likely made in a number of villages in the Province of Arak, Iran (old name Persia).


Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet
Blue Field Sarouk Carpet

A Large Persian Sarouk Carpet, 19th Century

The central field woven with large palmettes, flowers, and leaves, inside a primary border of palmettes and small flowers, all in rich navy, raspberry, gold, red, and medium blue. Wool pile on cotton warp. 126" x 148".

Condition: excellent.

Notes: This is part of the broader group of Arak Rugs. Up until the end of the 20th century this type of rug is typical of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Sarouk but were likely made in a number of villages in the Province of Arak, Iran (old name Persia).


Sarouk Carpet early 20th century
Sarouk Carpet early 20th century

Sarouk Carpet, West Persia, early 20th century, 11 ft. 4 in. x 8 ft. 9 in.

Notes: This is part of the broader group of Arak Rugs. Up until the end of the 20th century this type o rug is typical of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Sarouk but were likely made in a number of villages in the Province of Arak, Iran (old name Persia).


Sarouk Carpet
Sarouk Carpet


Sarouk Rug, West Persia, early 20th century, (minor end fraying), 9 ft. 2 in. x 6 ft.

Notes: This is part of the broader group of Arak Rugs. Up until the end of the 20th century this type of rug is typical of the Sarouk production. They were attributed to the village of Sarouk but were likely made in a number of villages in the Province of Arak, Iran (old name Persia).


Sarough Carpet c. 1935
Sarough Carpet c. 1935

c.1935

363 x 272 cm

Few types of Persian carpet have attained so luxurious a pile texture as the finest Sarouks created primarily for the rich American market during the 1930s period. In this splendid example, the promotion of colour and texture and the reciprocal diffusion of design that characterizes the best of these Sarouks is illustrated at its zenith. A gently flowing scheme of scrolling stems, spaciously embellished with delicate leaves and blossoms, is drawn with an understated pencil-soft touch that barely ruffles the sumptuous glow of saturated raspberry red which shimmers from the lustrous fiber of the velvety merino wool field beneath. Added tonal refinement is provided by the powder blue main border and its accompanying night-blue guard stripes, while an array of ornate peony and lotus palmettes, exquisitely interspersed by innumerable smaller floral and foliate forms, is picked out in an enchanting palette of soft carnation, violet-beige, pale tan, lapis blue, sable, intense sapphire, pale gold, fawn and green, to illuminate the border with a memorably radiant final touch of classic Eastern splendor. In fulfilling every expectation of the most discerning decorative tastes of today, the room-sized Sarouks of this caliber from the years between the two world wars remain one of the most consistently favored of any luxury-orientated Persian carpets to have been made in the course of the last hundred years.

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