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Q&A: Question about area rug Authenticity, value, and little dents on the reverse side...

We look forward to talking with anyone who may have questions on or about oriental rugs.  We are an Independent Reviewer, and will give you our opinion for any rug, new or old.  Should you have any questions you would like to submit for a blog entry response, please do so, and be sure to include photographs of your rug.  For more information, please take a look at the bottom of this page, or feel free to Contact Us at

Question received the week of August 24th, 2008:

Hi again!

Thank you for providing feedback on my other rugs, I have some questions on a relatives rug.  She provided me with a so called appraisal letter with the carpet which came from the rug dealer upon purchase. Here what it says:

Certificate of Authenticity appraisal form
This is to certify that the rug herein described is an
authentic hand made rug.

Rug type: Hamedan
Rug size: 6'10" x 4.9"
Origin: Iran
Fiber content: 100% high quality wool pile
Description: 100% handmade & hand knotted
Replacement value: $700

She paid CA$350 (tax included), which is
approximately US$330

The rug was sold to her as a "mature rug," about 30 years old.

Here are a few questions she would like to address:

1) What is a fair price for a tribal rug like that?

2) What should a buyer know about tribal rugs, e.g., are tribal rugs valuable; how to determine their age; how can we say if the tribal rug is good?

3) Can we count KPSI in tribal rugs (the dealer told her that kpsi is not applicable to tribal rugs)?

4) Is it a Hamedan or a Bakhtari rug? (the dealer first told her that it was a Bakhtari rug but then provided her with the letter indicating that it is a Hamedan rug.)

5.) We also noticed on the reverse side of the rug there are so called dents which go along the rug about 1-1.5'' apart (we noticed them on all four sides of the rug along the edges). You might probably notice them on one of the photographs I sent you. Can we leave them untreated or what should we usually do we the dents like that?

6.) Finally, what may be done about slightly faded colors?

As always, your opinion is highly appreciated!

Here are the images:

Hamedan or Shahsavan Design Rug KPSI

Shah Savan Design Carpet from Iran

Back of Hamadan Rug Border



Hello!  Great to hear from you again!

As I'm sure you know, much of this information is based on certain assumptions which we make about Oriental Rugs when assessing online which are not necessarily exact.  A true review of any given rug should really be done in person, however here is some information which we believe may be helpful.

I would not go so far as to call this a Bakhtiari rug, this is probably a "Hamadan" also sometimes spelled "Hamedan."  Possibly a more precise name for the design would be a "Shah Savan" or "Shahsavan" as noted in P.R.J. Ford's Guide to "Oriental Carpet Design." pg. 261.  The jagged edges around the border and medallion are often refered to as a "lightning" pattern.  This type of weave is single wefted, appearing similar to Hamadan Rugs on the reverse side, and often come in this (approx.)  4'6" x 7' size.  These rugs come from east of the Kharaghan area of Iran which is located within Hamadan.  The knots appear to be symmetrical, zero offset.  In the instance of this particular rug, you can count the knots: In fact, we've measured this to be approximately 10x6 or 60 KPSI.  In the industry, this is not what one would call a "tribal rug," perhaps more appropriate would be a "village rug" originating from the outskirts of a much larger city.

As for the value, I would say this is a fair market value given the rug is in very good to excellent condition.  Other things such as wear, sun fade, color run, damage, hard spots, odor, low quality wool and other conditional issues will obviously detract from the value of this rug.

Having the rug being sold as a "mature rug" really means very little in the industry unless it's in conjunction with another term: if one were to say "mature semi-antique" take the word semi-antique as meaning 50-99 years of age, and the term "mature" as dividing this term as being in the 75-99 year category of semi-antique.  The rug you show here I cannot imagine being much more than 20 years of age, although it may be possible for it to be such.

The dents you've referred to often come from blocking the rug to make it square after weaving or to correct for uneven weaving technique.  A rug may be woven, and be cut from the loom showing some irregularity in size or shape.  The way to correct this is to sometimes stretch the rug on a bed of needles.  These dents may very well be from the nails of which the rug had been posted upon to correct shape.  For more info, take a look at this posting we did on starched Oriental Rugs.  There's really not much one can do to correct this, the best thing is to just leave the dents alone.

As for the color fade, there is not much you can do to prevent or fix this other than keep the rug away from areas of hard light exposure.  Corrective measures such as painting or dyeing the wool will often render the affected area to appear far more obvious than the natural, subtle effect of oxidation or sun fade.  Painting a rug can be a fairly high investment, and does not assure perfect results.  Down the road, it may make the rug more susceptible to color run if it were to be washed.

 Thanks for bringing this rug to our inbox!

-Rug Rag


See More From "The InBox"

For all those interested in submitting a question to the Rug Rag Editors:  We'd be more than happy to help, please send some photographs of the reverse side of the rug very close up with a quarter placed on the knots, plus a picture of the fringe, the whole face of the rug and detail shot of the pile.  If the rug is worn, please include photographs of worn areas.  For rugs of any age, please be sure to check for dry areas, moth damage, odor, and whether or not the rug is straight/has right angles where called for.  I

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