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Medallion Rugs

Extensive Collection of Beautiful Rugs with a Central Medallion Rug Designs

Medallion rugs are among the most iconic rugs ever made. They can be rustic, rectilinear or classically elegant. Fortunately, these spectacular rugs are produced in cities and countries around the world, so everyone can enjoy the beauty regardless of their personal style. The medallion and corner composition featured in Persian rugs has become an archetype of formality and elegance. Medallion rugs are depicted in a countless variety of styles and configurations.

The circular medallions inspired by the geometric domes of Persia’s most famous mosques are precisely constructed and representative of the region’s elegant style. In Heriz, rectilinear octofoil medallions are favored in rug patterns. In China, Mongolia and East Turkestan, formal medallions decorated with botanical motifs become the undisputed focal point of the composition.

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In Europe and the Caucasus, formal bouquets serve as graceful centerpieces that are surrounded by secondary bouquets, garlands and lush Baroque details. Throughout the varied world of antique carpets, medallions are a constant that never fails to create a spectacular composition that exudes elegance and sophistication. These splendid centerpieces range from geometric quatrefoils and rectilinear compartments to architectural medallions with sculptural embellishments.

Picture of an antique Persian central Medallion rug from Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in NYC

Antique Persian central medallion rug

Medallion rug designs can do many things: create a well-organized composition, adapt to regional styles and they possess a level of grace and formality that is positively ageless. Medallion rugs come in many forms and are displayed in both floral and tribal rugs. They can be found in many different regions across the globe including Persian and Oriental areas such as Heriz, Kerman, and Khotan and even more Western regions such as this Aubusson Rug from France. Medallions are most often the focal point of the rug and make for excellent centerpieces. They are oftentimes more refined, but tribal and large scale medallion rugs are not uncommon as is seen in this Bakshaish rug from Northwest Persia. This Khorassan rug even shows how animal motifs can be incorporated into medallion rugs from Persia as many depict hunting scenes often with tigers and various types of fauna.

History Of Medallion Rugs

The use of a central medallion to create a symmetrical design stemmed from earlier 15th century Persian manuscript covers, but found its way into carpet designs in the 16th century. The classic early Tabriz medallion carpets of this period were synonymous with beautiful large-scale medallions, which overlaid or were enclosed by intricately drawn floral spiraling vine.

The medallion rug design tradition has continued throughout the centuries, and is interpreted in both a curvilinear manner — as in many carpets woven in Tabriz — or in a more rectilinear style, as seen in the carpets of Heriz. Not only present in Persia, medallion designs were also widely found throughout Anatolia and the Caucasus, though here, were predominantly of strong, geometric form.

The medallion pattern is arguably one of the most repeated schemes across all types of Persian rugs. However, there is tremendous variation in the shapes and sizes of the medallions as well as the way they are used in various rugs. It’s not wrong to say that no two rugs will have the same medallion layout.

Some Oriental rugs have a large central floral medallion surrounded by smaller floral medallions in the rug field whereas others have the same sized medallion repeated throughout the rug either in a parallel repeated pattern or in a concentric pattern. Moreover, in oriental rugs, the medallion can take virtually any form squares and triangles to hexagons, diamonds, octagons, stars, and rhomboids.

Floral medallions are a particular favorite among most of the weaving communities. This is because they are supposedly a representation of the lotus flower, which the weavers look up on as a sacred flower. A floral medallion may be constructed as a single flower or it may comprise of several small flowers grouped together to form a medallion. The most common floral Persian rug consists of a central medallion that is framed by partial medallions in the four corners on a background field of flowers, vines, and tree of life motifs.

Different Types Of Medallion Designs On Oriental Rugs

Although there are numerous variations of the floral medallion layout, all of them come under four basic categories:

Geometric Medallion Pattern Rugs With Plain Designs

In this category, the principle medallion is featured as a clearly defined central motif which is surrounded by lesser or a greater area of plain ground. The corners of the plain ground usually have busy triangular design elements. The central medallion, plain ground and triangular corners are all framed by a distinct border. While some rug styles represent this category more loosely, other types of rugs have a fixed representation of this style. The Abadeh rug is a classic example of the latter.

Geometric Medallion Rugs With All Over Background Designs

The medallion rugs in this category are mostly village rugs. They feature one very prominent geometric medallion in the center.

The ground surrounding the central medallion is covered with several small motifs which could be in a regular or irregular pattern. The fine details of the central medallion and the surrounding designs make for a visually busy but very interesting looking rug.

Rugs With Geometric Repeating Central Medallion Designs

In these medallion rugs, the medallion is woven in as a repeating rug pattern or as an alternating pattern. This pattern is typical of the medallion design rugs from the Kurdish areas and the Caucasian areas around the Caspian Sea and is also often produced by the tribal rug weavers of Shiraz, Qashqai rugs and Senneh rugs.

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