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Rare Antique Tabriz runner

Circa 1890
500 × 71 cm 16’4” x 2’3”


Very rarely do pieces come along which make us go wow in amazement! This incredibly rare antique Tabriz runner from the late 19th century is just one of those! Tabriz were known for producing fine elegant carpets and rugs, they hardly ever wove runners.  They were produced in ‘Triclinium’ or ‘Audience’, carpets in the three main formats of the Persian living room, the mian farsh (the main carpet) flanked on its long sides by two kenareh (runners) and on one of its short sides by a kalleghi (known in the West as a kelleh; see Jennifer Scarce, ‘The Role of Carpets within the 19th Century Persian Household’ , HALI magazine 24, 1984, pp.394-400, fig .11).

We are uncertain if this runner is from an ‘Audience’ carpet or if it was commissioned on its own in the late 19th century, as this was a rare occurrence.  Equally the width is so narrow, more often the Audience carpet runners are seen to be much wider. The natural dyes have faded wonderfully over the last 130 years to a soft brick red tone, it would have been much brighter when first woven.  The weave is very very fine, as you would expect from a Tabriz and this tight weave and type is often known as a Hadj Jalili – he was the most famous weaver who created the unique Court design antique carpets during the early to late 19th century.

We have only held two previous antique Tabriz runners from the Hadji Jalili workshop in the last 30 years, so this shows how rare a piece it is.  A real masterpiece, and we are delighted to be able to offer it from our collection.

We offer the service of viewing any of our antique and contemporary carpets, rugs and runners in-situ.  Please request a home visit where you can choose an ideal day and time for us to visit you. A free, professional service we have provided throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe for the last 30 years.

. . .

At the end of the 19th century, after a prolonged period of dormancy, the Persian town of Tabriz experienced an artistic revival and successfully reasserted itself into the forefront of the rug-making world. Perhaps one of the most important figures in this reawakening of Tabriz as an important rug-making centre was the master weaver Haji Jalili, from the nearby of Marand.  Haji Jalili is best known today for his incredible and unique approach to rug-making and his preference for distinctive colour palettes and design elements.

The major city of Tabriz, located near the Turkish border, is the centre of classically designed antique carpets in Northwest Persia. At the foot of the beautiful Elbruz Mountains, Tabriz has a noteworthy history, both as the Persian market centre most linked geographically to European and Western commerce, and as the source of the most venerated weavings: the inspired carpets of the Shah Abbas period during the 15th and 16th centuries.

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