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Antique Serapi carpet

Circa 1890
352 × 295 cm 11’6” x 9’8”


A true masterpiece of weaving, this is one of the greatest antique Serapi carpets we have ever seen!  With an incredibly fine weave, typical of earlier carpets from this north-west region of Heriz in Persia.  The colour palette is stunning and combined with the open geometric drawing, this is a very rare and collectable carpet.  The variation in the indigo blue dyes, showing vivid ‘abrash’ (dye change) adds to this circa 1890-1900 or possibly earlier carpet.  With large geometric leaves connected with vines to stylised floral motifs, leading to the golden sandy medallion.  The combination of design and colour make this a breathtaking piece, that is even better seen with the human eye.  Please request a home visit to see this extraordinary rare carpet at home.  We love to travel all over the UK visiting clients and working with interior designers.

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The condition is unbelievably good, with a fine tight weave and finely cut pile height all over.  Minimal low areas of pile, ends have been secured too.  In exceptional original order for this 150 year old plus carpet.  Visit our barn showroom in Crondall, Surrey or please request a home viewing to see this Serapi carpet up close with a private viewing.

Antique Serapi carpets are more intricate finer tribal weavings of the Heriz region hand-woven by Azerbaijan Turkish inhabitants close to the city of Heriz in North-West Persia. They are famous among collectors because of their vivid vegetable dyes or soft earth tones that are woven on a geometric pattern. In terms of design, drawing, and coloration as well, Serapi carpets are clearly part of one and the same tradition as Heriz, despite being a distinct antique rug style, which originated as a Northwest Persian adaptation of early Sarouk Farahan medallion, but with a more geometric, abstract, village sensibility.

Like Heriz, Serapi carpets have a multiple concentric medallion format that emits jutting branches or vines ending in large stylized palmettes, leaves, or flowers, with framing cornerpieces at the periphery of the field. The main border is usually some variant of the ‘turtle’ vinescroll pattern. In terms of design, what distinguishes Serapis from Heriz carpets is once again their more refined approach. The articulation of the medallions is crisper, more finely linear, and open, the highest grade in terms of weave, and very probably the oldest type in terms of age. Heriz carpets are generally coarsely woven with as few as 30 knots per square inch. They also have a deeply depressed warp structure with a markedly ribbed back surface. Since the early twentieth century they have come to make use of light blue cotton wefting. Serapis, in contrast, have a higher knot count, sometimes attaining 80 knots per square inch. Their backs are relatively flat, and they have ivory cotton wefting. Generally they have a softer, floppier handle than Heriz, and they will tend to have a shorter pile height.

On the whole, it appears that what we call Serapi carpets are simply the oldest, most well-designed, and finely woven Heriz carpets with softer colours than the 1900-1930 pieces.

We offer the service of viewing any of our carpets & rugs in-situ in London, Surrey, Hampshire the UK & Europe by appointment.  Having helped private clients and interior designers since 1990 we would love to assist you too, please contact us in your preferred way.

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