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Antique Kerman Panel Oriental Rugs and Carpets

 An antique* Kerman (sometimes spelled Kirman) is a Persian Rug which exceeds 100 years of age.  While there are several types of antique Kermans, Kermans are perhaps among the more easily identifiable carpets (especially when in person), as the antique vintage Kermans have specific characteristics.  The first distinguishing element about Kerman carpets is the types of colors and dyes used.  These were almost always "vegetable" dyes or from natural sources (see color chart below).  This translated into the carpets by giving a very distinct color palette consistently seen in antique kermans.  Second, antique Kermans, (unlike 20th century Kermans) were very thin with a light handle.
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Kerman, Iran is located next to the mountains in south central Iran

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The final and other most distinguishing elements to Kerman rugs is the designs used.  An antique Kerman with a panel design will feature many isolated rectangles of what each one could be considered it's own carpet.  These would be found in what would otherwise be the field of most any other rug.  The amount of panels would depend both on the size of the rug, as well as the way in which the carpet was mapped.  Some panels would simply be rectangles roughly in proportion to the shape of the carpet, just significantly smaller.  Other Panels may be diagonally oriented in what may be considered a "lattice" design.  Within these panels could be anything from typical floral and design elements, to cypress trees, or even mehrabs. 

Above: a fantasic example of an antique Persian Kerman with double medallion / panels.  This particular rug is rather old, perhaps 1885 - 1890, and also found to be an unusual square size carpet.  With traditional Persian Kerman design / mapping, if the carpet were larger, these panels would likely be scattered throughout the field of the entire carpet in a series of repeating medallions to create an allover design. The presence of a repeating medallion motif such as this would also contribute to an overall feel of a lattice design, whereby each consecutive row, and diagonally oriented diamond shape medallion comprising each row, often creates the illusion of a staggard lattice motif. Image courtesy Old New House for small antique and vintage rugs.

Other types of Kermans, such as Lavar Kermans, may feature tree, deer, plants, birds and other wildlife, although not all do.  It's not uncommon for the center of attention to be a pictorial image woven into the medallion of the rug of a Shah or other important icon.  Milfleur Kermans also implement some of the natural world of animals trees and birds, however have more flowers woven into the border designs and field as well.  One of the more common types of antique Kermans are simplified versions of Kermanshah designs, which usually have a very simple colors in the earth tone family.  These types of rugs often are of good quality (around 225 kpsi) have large medallions in the center of the field and high detail.  Colors are carefully contrasted with darker blues, and sometimes a burnt rose color.

*An antique is most commonly accepted in the oriental rug Industry as a  carpet which is of 100+ years of age.  There are some dealers who claim 80 years qualifies as an antique, which is understandable.  However, the 100 year rule reflects a more conservative evaluation, which is a nod to an old internationally accepted customs law.  To this day, most museums, reputable sellers and collectors alike will only consider an Oriental Rug as being "antique" if it is, in fact, 100 years or older.

 

 

*An antique Oriental rug or carpet is defined by the Orra (Oriental Rug Retailers of America) as a piece which meets or exceeds 100+ years of age.  This 100 year old rule reflects a more conservative evaluation, which is a nod to an old internationally accepted customs law.  To this day, most museums, reputable sellers and collectors alike will only consider an Oriental Rug as being "antique" if it is, in fact, 100 years or older.

 

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