About Persian Heriz Antique Oriental Rugs
In the harsh climate of the mountainous northwest corner of Iran, on the southern slopes of Iran's 3rd highest volcanic (inactive) mountain, lies a virtual cottage industry spanning several small towns and villages - the network of independent weavers who produce the much-sought-after rug known for the area that it originates from, Heriz. Easily one of the most distinctive and readily-identifiable of the Persian or Turkish styles of rugmaking, the carpets made in and around Heriz are typically large, heavy and notably-durable and feature bold and dramatic color and design. With regards to the Heriz rug's noted longevity, the consensus is that the copper-rich water around Mt Sabalan produces a more-durable, more-resilient quality of sheep's wool used for the rug pile.
The Heriz Rug Style
The Heriz Rug Style -- consists of basic geometric or nature-derived patterns set in vibrant color palettes ranging from monochromatic (reds) to strongly-contrasting, multi-colored (primary colors) fields featuring highly-saturated reds and brilliant greens (often with a blue background color in the spandrel) and typically with black, white or gold outlining, and last, but certainly not least, a prominent medallion - usually featuring an 8-pointed star (star-like figure) inside a diamond-shaped hexagon occupying up to 50% of the entire rug. These older rugs were produced in large sizes (up to 26') with a knot-density of considerably less than 100 KPSI (using a Turkish knot at usually around 30 + knots per square inch) - attaining their color brilliance through the use of natural vegetable dyes.
The Austere Beauty of Heriz
Heriz, located approximately 60 miles northeast of Tabriz in the East Azarbaijan Province of Iran, sits on the southern slopes of Mount Sabalan. A mecca for tourists, the popular hot springs located near the base of the volcanic peak provides a welcome counterpoint to the lake at the very summit - which, but for just a few weeks of the year - remains frozen! Although hot and dry in summer, the climate features extreme cold with heavy snow and high wind for most of the year. This region - the northernmost area of Iran and East Ajarbaijan in particular - due to its strategic location as well as natural resources, has been both a politically and economically sensitive region in modern history, having come under the sphere of influence of both Soviet and western governments.
As in the case of the more-refined Tabriz rug, it was not until 1880 and afterward,
that production was increased to meet
western, mostly US, demand.
The Heriz rug has continually gained in popularity in the west over the last hundred years
due not only to the attractive handsome design and much-touted longevity and durability
of the wool but the investment-potential in owning a reasonably-priced substantial
rug that is likely to continue to appreciate in value over time.
It is not uncommon to find 19th century examples of Heriz carpets offered for
sale by the major auction houses in both the United States and Europe.