Example of a fine Silk Qum rug:
Size: 6' x 9'.
Vintage: Early 1970's
Approximate KPSI: 400. Approximately 20 knots horizontal, 20 knots vertical using standard US quarter (slightly less than 1"x1")
Materials: Silk pile with Silk foundation.
Motif: This particular example features a Maharamat design, which is a design motif said to represent flowing channels of water.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Very thin pile, malleable piece. Longer flatwoven kilims on either end. Somewhat typical 'dusty rose' color for this vintage.
Alternative Spellings: Qom, Qum, Ghom, Ghoum
The reason we're covering the piece below is for two reasons: First, it's the epitome of a 1970's Qum in regards to construction and characteristics. Secondly, it's a fairly uncommon design, and one of our personal favorites.
Above: Accurately representing the colors of any carpet is very difficult. Especially silk pieces, as they tend to reflect a tremendous amount of light. Above, you can practically see both the light and dark sides of the carpet in one image.
Above & Below: Looking at the ends of a piece can often aid in identification. Although each end has a different finish on this piece, they're both typical end finishings for this vintage Qom. Alternatively, other rugs of this era may have one end completely flat woven, with no fringe at all.
For this 1970's vintage, it was not uncommon to have very wide
flatwoven areas at either end of the carpet. As you can see above,
there's also alternating colors used to add dynamic. Although this
alternating color in the kilim cannot be used to ID the rug as a Qum, it is a very for Qum rugs of
this vintage: Even in coarser wool on cotton pieces from the region too.
Above: Rugs aren't made perfect. The repair seen above, although very minor and somewhat crude, was probably done while the rug was still overseas at the weaver pre-exportation.
Above: The reverse side of the silk Qum. The weave is very regular, looking as good on the back as on the front. A sign of a good workshop weave, but certainly not the end-all-be-all when looking for a quality piece.
Above: silk rugs are among the most difficult to photograph. Reflection completely changes the saturation and contrast of the piece. Despite the many photographs seen in this post, this is probably the most accurate color representation of the rug.
Above: knot count approximately 400+.
Above: Reverse side, showing selvages and knots.
Above: We're not particularly crazy about the border. However, when you look at the carpet as a whole, it comes together very well.
Above: The majority of commercially available hand knotted 6'x9' rugs will not fold in half easily. Above, the rug is folded in thirds.
Above: Folded in fifths!