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Learn More About Antique Persian Sarouk Rugs
Sarouk Rugs– The thickness of the luxurious pile allows Sarouk rugs to withstand the level of foot traffic that would be typical in hallways, common rooms and foyers. The style, quality and durability of Sarouk rugs have made them extremely popular with western consumers then and now. However, they weren’t always so popular. In the early 1900’s, painted Sarouks that were over-dyed in vibrant hues of garnet and salmon-pink brought regional rugs to a new height of popularity. Although purists never appreciate these alterations, painted Sarouk rugs are regional icons.
Antique carpets produced in Sarouk feature classic curvilinear vine scrolls and opulent arabesques as well as local bouquet-filled designs that represent the diversity of regional carpet-weaving traditions. The carpets of Sarouk are traditionally made with blue weft threads. However, the surface designs and floral patterns incorporate a tremendous variety of pure and clear colors. The village of Saruk produces stunning medallion-and-corner rugs and exquisite allover Herati patterns, but the lush carpets that feature beautifully isolated bouquets and shrubs best represent the unique aesthetic of Sarouk. Whatever design they feature, Persian Sarouk carpets have an opulent and enduring aesthetic that will always be in demand.
Sarouk rugs are among the most luxurious classically derived, room-sized Persian carpets. They were produced in the Arak region, not far from where Fereghans and Sultanabads were made. Some of the early examples were so closely related to Fereghans that they have been designated as Sarouk-Fereghans. While the latter tend to have medallion designs, Sarouk carpets from about 1900 onward were mostly produced in an allover format, with dense sprays or bouquets of flowers and vines arrayed across the carpet symmetrically, on a deep blue or burgundy ground. This latter type is known for its soft, velvety wool and fairly thick pile.
Sarouk carpets derive their name from an obscure village in Persia, located twenty miles north of Arak (formerly Sultanabad). Over a short span of history, this village produced some of the most highly regarded Persian weavings of the late 19th to early 20th century. These rugs are easily recognizable despite their lack of consistent design elements. Most were room sized with central medallions and generally the wefts were blue. The field colors were cream, indigo or a pale red and floral motifs in the field showed multiply shades of orange, green and brown. The short velvet like pile is of excellent quality and wears well.
History Of Antique Persian Sarouk Rugs
Some of the most treasured antique Persian carpets in the USA are the antique Persian Sarouk rugs. These were the quintessential Persian rugs in the American market between the two World Wars. The American Sarouk rugs, were the first true commercial response to the demands of the American market.
There are a variety of trade names for Sarouks, including (some types of) Mahal rugs, Sarouk, Mohajaran Sarouk or Sarough, and Farahans.
What makes Sarouk carpets so popular is that they are made of high quality wool, thus making them durable and very thick. As most people in American households tend to wear shoes in their homes, thicker area rugs and carpets usually hold up much better.
The Quality and Style of Persian Sarouk Carpets
Sarouk carpets have a narrow variety of qualities and styles. Sarouk / Sarough carpets are not as fine as Kerman rugs or Isfahan carpets and the vast majority will fall somewhere in between the very fine weaves and more coarse.
Since we are yet to see any sign of the fine cartoon designers we have in other cities, it appears that Westerners designed the Sarouk rugs in the early 1900’s.
The Painted American Sarouk Carpets
After the European market was lost due to World War I, the American market came up with an idea to create the American Sarouk carpet. Cecil Edwards mentioned in his book “The Persian Carpet” the American Sarouk rug had distinct characteristics that made these antique rugs popular. It was suggested by P. R. J. Ford that the American Sarouk had been produced originally by S. Tyriakian and K.S. Taushandjian in New York in the early 1920’s.
Oddly enough, when the Sarouk rugs were first woven, they featured lighter rust color backgrounds. When these carpets first made their debut in the New England ports, the market did not welcome them as many of the rug dealers had expected.
The American markets wanted deeper richer colors. In response to this, pretty much all the dealers hired people to and re dye the background colors – changing them from a light rust to a richer red. That is where the American Sarouk rugs got the name: “Painted Sarouks”.
The Persian Sarouk rugs were a deep 11 millimeters (or .44 inches) pile, long enough to withstand a double alkali bleaching before they were painted. The knot density was between 9 x 10 to 10 x 12 knots to the square inch.
The Sarouk rugs feature machine spun cotton warps while the second thinner wefts were spun by hand. The rug design patterns feature a structured and more standard approach. They will almost exclusively boast a rose (now red) color field with blue floral sprays and border frames around them.
Hotz and Son was the first European carpet business in the Sarouk industry. As a reference to Hotz and Ziegler, Reinhard Hubel credited the pastel shades to Ziegler rugs, suggesting that Hotz was using all natural dyes.
Persian Sarouk Rugs and A. P. H. Hotz (1855-1930)
Albertus Hotz traveled to Persia at the age of 19 to participate in commercial activities such as the carpet weaving industry, banking, coal-mining, and oil prospecting. His company was moved to London in 1884. The following year, his business had failed, but he chose to remain in London until 1902. Hotz then moved to the Netherlands for four years and accepted a consul post in Beirut which he intermittently held until he retired in 1921. He passed away in Switzerland in 1930.
Hotz avidly collected maps and books. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he decided to donate part of his collection to them in 1925, specifically atlases and maps. After his passing, Lucy Woods, his widow, donated the remainder of his collection which included 15,000 books along with numerous papers, photographs, and pamphlets to the Leiden University Library. Middle Eastern diaries and travelogues were well represented in the collection.
Sarouk Carpets of the Late Twentieth Century
Sarouk rugs are no longer painted, but they are still very thick. During the second half of the twentieth century, cream field Sarouk carpets had increased in popularity.