The city of Kerman is on an oasis located in southeastern Iran and has been a celebrated centre of workshop weaving since the Safavid era (1502 – 1722). The end of the Safavid era was brought about by the invasion of Afghan tribes, resulting in a reduction of commercial weaving in Persia.
Traditional Kerman designs are center medallion, All-over boteh, garden-panel, tree-of-life, prayer, vase, hunting scenes, pictorials and French Aubusson/Savonneries. Kerman rugs are woven on triple-wefted, depressed cotton foundations with a Persian knot. Kerman became one the most important carpet-weaving centres and had a consistently high reputation for technical quality and design. By 1920, many American companies had offices in Kerman, including major producer, Atiyeh Bros., based in Portland, Oregon. Approximately 80% of Kerman’s production at this time was exported to America.
The town of Lillihan lies in the Arak Province close to Sarouk. Between 1920 and 1940, many rugs from theis region were sent to the United States as less expensive alternative to the popular American Sarouk. The designs and colours were similar to Sarouk and many of the rugs were washed and over-dyed in burgundy.
The town of Sarouk is located in Arak provinces, about 25 miles north of the city of Arak, in northwestern Iran. The city and provinces of Arak was known as Sultanabad until 1935. Other weaving centres in the Arak province are Ferahan and Lillihan. Sarouk rugs began to appear in the 1880’s response to Western markets. Many of these rugs have centre medallion design on a dark blue field.
An aggressive chemical washing was given to American Sarouks. The deep rose coloured fields of these rugs were chemically stripped and re-dyed dark burgundy by hand in the United States. Over time, these American Sarouks can develop a mottled look as the rug wears down to the original colour. Although the dyes are colourfast, wear over many years creates this mottled look.
Senneh lies in the northwest Iran and is the capital of Province of Kurdistan. Contrary to Kurdish weaving’s, the Senneh rug is single-wefted, has cotton foundation, and is finely woven. The Senneh can be distinguished from other single-wefted rugs by looking at the back. Sennehs backing looks ‘grainy’ or like sandpaper on the back.