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Ultimate Guide to Antique Kerman Persian Rugs & Carpets: Vintage 1865-1915

antique kerman (or Kirman) Rugs and Carpets are perhaps some of the most recognizable within the antique Persian Rug Category.  Colors are often subtle, with a true "antique" patina of a dusty ivory augmented by richer earthy-toned palette. Some examples will have bolder, contrasting colors, although are often of higher knot density.  Antique Kerman Persian rugs and carpets specifically made between 1865-1895 are almost all vegetable dyeKPSI for Kermans Dating between 1865 and 1915 are often the vicinity of 225 to 650 kpsi maxwith some exceptions.  The handle of such Kerman Rugs feature medium to light stiffness, with very thin shearing.  It is very unusual to find a Kerman Rug which is constructed with materials other than wool pile on cotton foundation.  However, there was very limited production of exceptionally rare and unique Kerman weavings using silk on silk. 

Antique Raver Kerman 1875 to 1895




Right: A Ravar Kerman (sometimes spelled Raver or Lavar) Circa 1885, shows the essence of many of these older carpets.  The overall motif of this carpet is what would best be categorized in the "Milfleur Design" (or "of many flowers") design genre.  Notice the multiple bouquets in both border and field.  This is a uni-directional carpet in a half map pattern, meaning the design has a specific direction and intended orientation.  In addition, this piece is also symmetrical on both left and right hand sides.  At the bottom in each lower corner of the field, this rug features classic imagery of cypress trees, which are often incorporated into Persian Rugs to symbolize life, longevity, and prosperity.  The top of the field does feature what appears to be a lantern, and possibly a slight outlining of what some may consider a Mehrab.

Kerman Antique carpets are perhaps the most versatile rugs of this 100+ year old vintage in regards to Design.  Percentage-wise, this genre of rug seems to have almost equal motif distribution in three "categories" of Persian Rug: Animal Motifs, Pictorials/prayer, and floral medallion/allover and even combinations of such. 





Musueum Quality Kirman with Kings "Leaders of the World"


Left: Classic Persian Pictorial Kerman from around the turn of the century, 1900.  This is a classic example of Persian History combined with a pictorial motif of every major historic King  or Shah in Persian History.  There are several known examples of such carpet in almost identical size and design.  This particular carpet measures approximately 9'x12', with a knot count in the vicinity of 600 Knots per Square Inch.  Again, these rugs were sheared incredibly thin to optimize knot density and design translation to the front of the rug.  The black border surrounding the field has inscriptions carried throughout.  This is a uni-directional carpet, with a full map.  No two areas of this carpet are the same with exception to a general layout template.  A truly exquisite masterpiece, and museum quality Carpet.  A similar example to this carpet (known as the "Kings of Persia" or "Leaders of the World") was sold in London in or around 1999 for the hammer price of some £50,000 including buyer premium.


Lavar Kerman, Milfleur Antique

Similar, yet varying somewhat from the reverent carpet described above, this example to the Left at one point did feature a now unnamed, important historical figure in Persian History.  There are other versions which also have other historic figures, Western pictorials such as past presidents, and even famous European figures.  The rug is a Milfleur design Lavar Kerman, with an animal motif.  In the center of the blue medallion, there remains a faint outline of the subject's shoulders.  At one point in time, an owner of this rug must have determined the rug might be more valuable without such character, or perhaps the character was somehow disgraced.  The owner then had this area re-woven where the bust of such an icon once existed.  This area has now been replaced with a "tree of life" design stemming from a vase.  The re-weaving is remarkably well executed.  In the main field there are two trees.  The tree on the left hand side features all male birds, while the tree on the right hand side are all female.  Although the reweaving if of expert quality, the value of such altered Lavar Kerman is not easily determined.  A comparable carpet in this similar (approximate 5x8) would easily fetch tens of thousands of dollars in very good condition.  The yarn is two ply, and measures approximately 17x19 knots, or a KPSI of around 323.



Lot 198, Rare Silk Laver Kirman Carpet

Right: A very unusual silk on silk Kerman carpet from the late 19th century.  An antique (100+ years of age) Silk on Silk Kerman carpet in good condition is certainly what would be considered a Museum Quality Rug.  The design on this rug is somewhat unusual, however, the are elements to such which have appeared in other Kermans of this vintage (and going forward).  It's not uncommon for Kerman Carpets to have design elements within the border spill into the field.  While not consistently used, it does seem more prevalent in Kerman weavings than other comparable Persian Rugs.  Note the "Paisley-like" design elements stemming from each corner bending near the medallion.  These are design elements which are adapted in many weavings, however, also seem to appear more so in Kerman weavings especially in and around the late first quarter of the 20th century into he second quarter.  Kerman rugs, similar to other Persian Rugs, are also known to have excellent border finishing, with corner design elements in the border which are properly finished, and facing towards the center of the rug.  Note the unusual, orange, silk fringe on either side of the carpet.  Apart from the physical characteristics, this is an extraordinary example in workmanship, aesthetics, and materials.  This particular carpet has been signed by the weaver as well.

Kerman Tree of Life Antique Rug

Right: A Kerman Rug from around 1910.  The motif bears many typical characteristics in regards to coloring of other traditional Kerman Rugs from this vintage.

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October 6. 2008 00:32

Jennifer E. White

I have an 11.6x15.6 antique(late 19th cent.)signed Kerman rug that I may be interested in selling. The weave is "Fine", condition "Excellent", with original ends and edges. It has a floral pattern, with cranberry borders.
This rug has been in my family for generations. I have no idea of how to market/sell this rug, and would appreciate any feedback.
Thank you,
Jennifer White

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Jennifer E. White

October 28. 2008 12:48


Hi Jennifer, Please be sure to take a look at our verification page here:

be sure to look at steps 1-3. Once you send us photographs, we'll be able to advise as to what would be the best venue for selling your rug. Thanks for checking in!



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