| 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.
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
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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.