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Persian Rugs: A Stylish Souvenir

This blog post was updated on October 18, 2018.

I purchased my first Persian rug in Turkey when I was in my early twenties. It was a prayer rug with deep burgundy, green and blue colors, and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s always had a place of prominence in my various homes throughout the years. The love affair has continued, and since then I’ve accumulated quite the collection of Persian rugs, some vintage, some new. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about different styles of Persian rugs and their history. Here is a brief overview of three popular types of Persian rugs that make great souvenirs to be cherished for years to come.

Serapi rugs are woven in the mountainous region of northwest Persia. The knotting on these rugs is finer than most, and they feature rich colors. Serapis are known for their large size and large-scale (mostly floral) designs (though there are also smaller, more affordable Serapis on the market). They were relatively affordable until the 80s, when American collectors drove up their prices. Antique Serapis (hand-knotted and colored with vegetable dyes) are true collectors items.  A Serapi would make a great investment and beautiful addition to a living room.

The city of Tabriz is located at the base of the Elbruz Mountains, near the Turkish border. Historically, Tabriz was known as a center of commence between the Persian and European markets. It is in this region that the highly collectible and valuable rugs from the Shah Abbas period (15th and 16th centuries) were created. Tabriz rugs are known for their intricate designs (mostly featuring natural imagery and arabesques) and radiant jewel tones. My small, elegant Tabriz rug has taken up permanent residence at the foot of my bed.

Traditionally a nomadic people, the Kurds are known for their highly creative (in terms of imagery— featuring animals, angular plant designs, etc.) and brightly colored rugs. Often described by collectors as “unsophisticated,” these rugs are brimming with folk-art charm (they remind me of abstract paintings). The wool used to make Kurdish rugs is incredibly strong and beautiful.  Mine has held up quite well on a high traffic area.


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