Guide to Shahsevan Rugs & Carpet Bags
The Shahsevan were a tribal confederation in Northwest and Western Iran. To the rug and textile collector they are best know for their Sumac bags, They also made Kelims and some pile rugs and bags.
- A late Safavid era Kizilbash confederation created to counter balance older Kizilbash confederations.
- The Shahsavan was a product of the Kizilbash policies of the Safavid Shahs. It was a created Il to act as a political and military counter measure to more established Kizilbash Ils in the later part of the Safavi dynasty.
- The last major military action of the Shahsavan as a tribal confederation was in 1946. General Arfa armed the Shahsavan and worked with them to cut off the Soviet Tudeh attack on Teheran. Under Five Shahs
Pile rugs are a subject of controversy. Such leading lights as Dennis Dodds and Wendell Swan are exploring the Shahsevan pile rug attribution while other notables such as Raoul "Mike" Tschebul reject the possibility of Shahsevan pile rugs.
Take for instance the rug below that would normally be attributed to the Sarab area.
The Sarab area is the area of Mount Sabalan or Savalan as rug experts like to call it. It seems reasonable to suggest that this is a tribal rug and the tribes of the area were the Sabalan Shahsevan. Is it reasonable to attribute this rug to the Shahsevan rather than the non-Shahsevan villages of the reason? Needless to say the debate continues.
Pile Rug characteristics:
Nomadic Shahsavan pile rugs can be distinguished from other wool-on-wool symmetrically knotted weavings in the region by:
- relatively simple field and border designs consistent with their flatweaves
- fine red, salmon or ivory wefts, but not blue or brown
- the frequent use of camel hair in the pile
- the occasional use of cotton in the wefts
- in certain groups or cases, sinuous warps caused by weft ease
Shahsavan Pile Structure
Shahsavan rugs are woven with a Turkish knot and a fairly flat back. Here the warps are rigid and the wefts are sinuous. As you can see in the sketch the warps are heavier than the wefts. It is woven with symmetrical knots. There is two shot of weft between each row of knots.
The Dodds Rugs
Trusted Resource List Rug & Carpet Dealers In The U.S. Maqam.
Traditionally we would attribute this rug to Sarab in Northwest Iran. The primary fiber used is undyed camal which is both what is traditional and what is used in this rug as Dodds confirms. Sarab is on the Sabalan (Savalan) ridge and interestingly enough so were the Savalan Shahsavan. Dodds takes an interesting tact in exploring the possibility of a Shahsavan attribution.
Size: 310 x 102 cm
Region: West Asia > Persia > Northwest Persia > Shahsavan
Type: Rugs and Carpets
Date/Period: 19th century : last quarter
Materials: Camel hair and Wool pile.
Condition: The condition is nearly mint, with very slight wear at one extreme end.
A striking minimalist design with two pale blue and one red-brown medallion connected by a slender pole with diminutive "anchors". Lovely palette with clear yellow, light blue, rose, red, red-brown, dark-brown and camel. The ground is actual camel hair, with subtle abrash and a characteristic "fuzzy" back. The natural camel hair and brighter hues of dyes, particularly the pale blue and rose, may indicate a Shah Sevan origin.
Dennis Dodds is a Philadelphia area specialty dealer and former American editor of Hali.
Shahsavan Rug 19th c. or earlier
Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaidjan, 19th c. or earlier
Size: ca. 223 x 157 cm
An extremely rare carpet. Large areas of repiling throughout the field and border sections, pile partly low.
Shahsavan Rug 1st half 19th
Origin: Northwest Persia, Azerbaidschan, 1st half
Size: ca. 360 x 152 cm
Notes on Condition: Early pile carpets of the Shahsavan are very rare. Five horizontally cut and repaired folds at the left side; new selvage; traces of age.
Origin: Northwest Persia, Azerbaidschan, 1st half 19th century
Size: ca. 288 x 115 cm
Notes on Condition: Traditional Karadja composition with a bird-border known from Moghan and Shirvan carpets, with color combinations to be expected only in very old pieces. Minimal losses to lower end, some re-knotted areas, pile partly low. Corrosion.
Shahsavan Pile Rug
Country of Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaijan, 2nd H. 19th century.
Dimensions: ca. 310 x 89 cm
A rare pile carpet of the Shahsavan from the extreme north of Persia, with hexagon design on low-blue field. Sides again, conclusion edging tapes after-attached above, blackbrown corroded and supplemental in parts, pile in the field is low.
Shahsavan Carpet, Mid 19th c.
Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaidjan, mid 19th c.
Size: ca. 297 x 148 cm
Notes: Rare pile carpet of the Shahsavan. Lower end as well as a few areas in the border zone expertly restored. Pile partly low.
Shahsavan Rug 19th C.
Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaidjan, 19th c.
Size: ca. 286 x 133 cm
Notes: Sides not original and overcast, ends with newly added fringes. Pile partly low with several repaired areas.
Long rug by the Shahsevan of Moghan
South Caucasus, late 19th-early 20th century, 7ft.8in. x 3ft.2in. 2.34m. x 0.97m. Overall wear, heaviest in center, minor kink damage.
Shahsevan Rug 1870s
Woven about 1870 in the Caucasus. It is in very good condition. The size is about 3x4.
Shahsavan Rug mid 19th c.
Shasavan, mid 19th c. Size: 240cm(H) x 130cm(W) / 7'10"(H) x 4'3"(W)
Materials: wool on wool
Condition: Very Good
Full Description: quite good pile, small excellent restoration.
Shahsavan runner, Karabakh or northwest Persia about 1910-20
11ft. 3in. x 2ft.9in. Overall even wear, slightly heavier in places, small hole, main border missing all round.
A Shahsavan Rug
Origin: Northwest Persia, Azebaijan, 2nd half 19th century
Size: 259 x 129 cm
Notes on Condition: Literature References. In good condition, sides partly overcast, minor losses to ends.
Shah Savan, Azerbaijan
Old. 94 x 294cm. Diamond and animal motifs, madder red base.
Sautchbulag Rug Shahsavan Long Rug mid 19th
Origin: Northwest Persia, Azerbaidschan, mid 19th century
Size: ca. 334 x 106 cm
Notes on Condition: An obviously very old rug of this type with particularly nice colors, most probably the work of a Shahsavan weaver. Ends and sides restored, a few re-knotted places, altogether in good condition.
Cruciform Medallion Northwest Persian knotted pile bagface C. 1880
Slight losses to pile. Size: 68 x 50 cm
Shahsevan Embroidery Rug, early 20th century
Origin: Persia/Iran, early 20th century
Size: 6 ft. 5 in. x 4 ft. 11 in.
Shahsevan Long Rug, circa 1880
Origin: Northwest Persia, circa 1880
Title: A Shahsevan Runner
10 ft. 10 in. x 3 ft. 8 in.
Description: This rug has a shaded camel field scattered with various geometric motifs, flower heads, and birds. This all takes place around a central column of four polychrome hooked lozenges containing geometric motifs and palmettes. There are localized areas of wear, as well as one or two small patch repairs. The selvages are fraying in parts, and a few knots are missing at either end.