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Q&A: Antique Silk Persian



I purchased this carpet from an antique market in Belgium.  I believe it is an antique silk heriz circa 1870.  The silk quality and the density of the knots are fantastic.  The colours are yellow gold, wine, blue, green, yellow...  Unfortunately the condition is not particularly good as you can seen in the photographs.  30/35% of the carpet is threadbare and 75% is powderingknot heads show and there is a large cut in the middle.  I believe the carpet calls for a proper restoration by an expert craftsman, and would imagine the rarity and quality justify doing so.
Without having it restored myself, I am interested in selling as-is.  I’m awere that the condition of conservation influences the price. 
The carpet measures approximately 6'7" x 4'5", or 200 cm x 135 cm.  The pile and foundation are both silk.  The warp is a multi-color silk.
Thank you for your attention!



Light Side antique Silk Persian

\Dark side silk persian

detail of colours Silk Persian Rug

Antique Silk Persian Knots

Knots and Selvages

Polychrome warp and Fringe

Detail of Split on Face of Rug including knot heads



Thanks for sending this one in!  It's a beautiful carpet in it's own right despite the conditional issues.  As you had mentioned, from the standpoint of value, the condition issues will adversely affect the value of such a rug.  We'll get into this in a bit.

Attribution and Age:

At a quick glance:  The rug certainly has some decades under it's belt.  I do not disagree with the approximate vintage of "circa 1870."  However, while the rug does have hints of an "Antique Silk Heriz" attribution, I think this piece may be of a slightly more unique variety of Persian Silks although it could be a silk Heriz.

One of the most distinct aspects to this rug is the polychrome fringe / multi-colored warp.  From my experience, rugs of this era with polychrome fringe of this vintage is mainly isolated to silk warp Senneh rugs, and antique silk Fereghan (or Ferahan) rugs.  To clarify and distinguish between the two previously mentioned, antique silk warp Senneh rugs typically have very specific and distinctive repeating mahi type pattern, and almost exclusively feature wool pile.  This Sennah attribution is entirely ruled out.

Perhaps an antique silk Heriz?  it certainly has similar color tone and design execution to other silk Heriz rugs such as a unique double sided silk Heriz Lot 339 from Sotheby's 1981. However, the colors used could also be attributed to many antique silk Kashan Rugs, in addition to selvage wrap and weft too.

This rug could be attributed by many people to many areas: An unusual silk Heriz or silk kashan with multi-colored fringe....  But the polychrome fringe is atypical Kashan, and the structure and characteristics don't fit silk Heriz.  Silk Heriz carpets more commonly have slightly different selvages and structure as well.

My best guess:  Going by selvages, knot arrangement, polychrome warp, technical assessment and design leads me to believe this could perhaps be an antique silk kashan or silk Fereghan.  Although wefts may imply silk Kashan, I'm leaning toward Fereghan. These rugs are a very unique variety of antique silk rugs with limited existence, coming to the market much less frequently silk Heriz rugs and carpets.

On November 25, 2008, Lot 158 from Sotheby's sale titled "Frenzy" came up to auction. We were lucky enough to see this rug in person, although unfortunately photographs came out with very high contast and poor color balance.



PolyChome Fringe FereghanLot 158:

A Fereghan silk rug, North Persia.  Circa 1900

Original polychrome silk end finishes

Approximately 7 ft. by 4 ft. 4 in. (2.13 by 1.32m)

Knots per square inch: 

12-13 horizontal;

12-13 vertical

Estimate $35,000 - 45,000


Knot Detail Fereghan Silk


Do note, similar spandrel design elements between your rug and the Sotheby's carpet, in addition to the very minor border immediately adjacent to the fringe.  Similar knot arrangement, polychrome warps, etc. I believe your rug is an older vintage as previously mentioned, which may also attribute to other discrepancies between two of the same genre rug.

Detail of Multi-colored fringe in Kilim  


Condition and Value:

While the silk Fereghan above sold for a significant amount ($50,000 USD including 2

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