8 loD0255: Antique Kerman Vase/Floral design carpet
Dimensions: 5’11” x 8’9”
Region of Origin: Kerman or environs, Province of Kerman, Iran (sometimes spelled ‘Kirman’)
Age and Condition: Second decade of the 20th century (1910-1919). Overall very good condition; good pile, mellow colors, with no fading
Fabric: Wool pile on a cotton foundation (warp and weft). Persian (or asymmetric, or Senneh) knot, @ 256 KPSI.
This is an antique, hand-knotted Persian carpet. The Kerman weaving area is located in South-Eastern Iran between Yazd and Zahedan, about 1000 km SE of Tehran. The Kerman area was originally associated with the production of elegant, finely woven shawls, as well as a minor production of very fine rugs intended primarily for wealthy Persians. Major carpet weaving for export did not begin until the late 19th century which coincided with the decline of the market for Kerman shawls (due to the advent of machine-made shawls). The weavers of shawls quickly shifted to become weavers of rugs, with few major design changes.
However, at the turn of the 20th century (ca. 1900), when European and especially American trading companies came to dominate the oriental rug market, the number of looms increased, and Kerman carpets underwent significant design changes to reflect the esthetic requirements of the European and American markets.
This rug, however, is an example of a rare and distinct variation of Kerman carpets normally known in the modern rug trade as ‘Lavar’ Kermans. ‘Lavar’ is however a mispronunciation of Ravar, the name of a town located about 135 km to the north of the city of Kerman itself. Ravar Kerman carpets are particularly known for their fine weave and elegant, classically derived design with an all-over and central medallion format of dense floral sprays and vases placed throughout the field. Vase carpets, a type of Kerman rug distinctive of the 16th and 17th centuries, are characterized by an all-over pattern of stylized flowers, scrolling vines, and oversized palmettes. This was a design intended to incorporate Persian Islamic motifs of the scrolling Islamic Islimis designs as seen in Isfahan carpets and on Mosque interiors, columns, and minarets. Such carpets preceded the Kermans with the Savonnerie design.
Lavar Kerman rugs were closely shorn after the knots were tied in order to reveal the intricate details of their designs and never had high pile. Closely shorn pile is very typical of high knot count, fine rugs from Persia.