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Q&A: Is this a Persian Rug? Craigslist Rug and Carpet with Mysterious Tags


Hello Rug Rag!  Thanks for your help in advance.

I have a carpet sitting in my home for testing from someone off of craigslist.  They said they think it is an ardabil, handmade, and from Iran- the reason they are lacking information is because it was given to them.

Craigslist Rug, is it Persian?

Question Continued:

Here is what I have noticed:

1) Wear and tear especially along the edges, and some parts of the rug
2) Toughly 9' 6" x  11'
3) Dirty & and in need of repair!
4) Asking $800.
5) Nice colors?
6) The rug is very soft in the middle where there was no furniture but the outer-areas are quite thin feeling
7) On the back of the rug, very strangely, there are these quite randomly placed pieces of cloth that don't say anything on them. Maybe they were tags and too worn out?

I have no idea the type.  The guy said Chinese, but it obviously is not (unless it was made in China by machine, which I don't think is the case). It is Iranian I think, and the guy said Ardabil (but I certainly have no clue)

Tabriz Rug found on Internet, is this Craiglist Rug a Tabriz?

I also saw this rug above on Internet Rugs but they call it a Tabriz, not an Ardabil....   Any ideas/thoughts?



Photos of Craigslist Rug: 

Fringe of Craiglist Ardebil

Cotton Fringe and Kilim of Craigslist Ardebil

Oriental Rug with Significant Wear down to the Foundation: Threadbare

Knot Heads showing in some areas of the rug: Note the Green design element (center) 

Corner/Border of Ardebil Rug

Reverse sides of the rug folded over the face

More Damage, worn and or Moth eaten area of Ardebil with temporary mending

Symmetrical knots with zero offset. Approximately 99 KPSI

Mysterious Tags

Cleaner area of Kilim/end with nice Fringe

Another Mysterious Tag on Rug

Mysterious tag on the Craigslist Ardebil


Hello, and thanks for the inquiry!  Excellent Photographs too by the way  :)

The carpet you found on Internet Rugs is a classic example of a Tabriz Design, it's sometimes referred to as a Herati (sometimes called "mahi" or fish design) which is an allover repeating pattern in the field.  You may also notice the border confirms this Herati/Tabriz design with what are sometimes referred to as samovar, or "turtle" design elements which are typical to this type of tabriz rug....  you can see what I'm talking about here regarding the samovar:

The Craigslist rug is 100% hand knotted.  There's no way it's machine made or Chinese.  We believe this is an Iranian rug, perhaps in the vicinity of 50-60 years of age, perhaps a little more.  Although it may look wool, the foundation is actually cotton, and the pile is in fact wool. 

Ardebil is probably a correct attribution.  The reason we believe this rug is an Ardebil is for the following reasons: The tone dyes, the look of the slightly coarser wool, the kilim, the edging, and the orientation of the knots which appear to be symmetrical with no offset.  The design is also typical to these older Ardebil weavings.  These characteristics all are what would be found in similar vintage Ardebil or slightly outlying Ardebil in NW Persian Rugs.

The wear on this Craigslist carpet is significant, and unfortunately this does adversely affect the value.  Ordinarily we would ask for a full photograph of the entire rug...  Without even seeing the entire rug, some areas (such as the lengthwise split) will need proper attention.  The current mend which is present will probably not hold up well to a thorough cleaning, and the rug could even be further damaged by regular vacuuming.

$800 is steep from what we see in the photographs.  It's a great looking rug with very nice timeless design, however, it's simply not in the condition that would command this amount of money.  There should be room for negotiating with this price.

The colors are pretty good.  Although they're not particularly rich, strong or bold, overall they do appear to be solid traditional colors which are not necessarily "era specific."

Other than moth eaten areas, splits, or otherwise exposed foundation, stains or dry rot, repairs, etc...  Often the next "condition" to affect value would be the pile height.  A rug which is worn unevenly will commonly show signs traffic patterns such as you're describing.  The easiest way to prevent this is simply by rotating the carpet and furniture every few years so as to distribute localized areas of wear.  Uneven wear is not good.

We're not entirely sure what these tags are that you have shown pictures of and described, however, what we do know if tags do sometimes show up in weird places.  Perhaps it could at one point have been inventory information, wash tag or other relevant info to importation.  Most likely, these tags have been attached to "dropped warps" which run vertically

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