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A 'wild' herati Hamadan rug. What do you think of THAT herati pattern? The elements are still visible but the treatment is completely free, there is no discernable lattice, the size of elements varies from top to bottom. Tree shapes with beautiful directional palmette forms in madder (upside down?) with small diamond adornments take over; the serrated leaves, still bearing a semblance of regularity at the bottom, go crazy further up. Plenty of birds and what could be other creatures, little diamonds and squares, and the human figure which seems to hold something in streched out hands. The design is a feast for the eyes - some will call it incompetent or even 'the worst rendering of Herati ever seen', but I think it more makes up for its mistakes by its charm. The design clearly predates the commercial Hamadan production; the irregular shape, the dimension (much more squarish than usual for Hamadan rugs) the wool wefts and the irregularities in the execution could indicate a nomadic origin. I would guess the age to be late 19th c., but it could be early 20th c.
I am hard pressed to locate this rug using relevant sources I have (which for Hamadans is essentially Willborg's book 'Hamadan' and the Hamadan section of Edwards' 'The Persian Carpet'); structurally it is closest to Willborg's No. 6 Nomadic Hamadan, which also has cotton warps and wool wefts and a similar knot count and v/h ratio (v.32/10 x h.32/10). Willborg guesses Saveh district, vilage of Sefiabâd, east of Hamadan, but wisely leaves the question unsettled.
The rug measures 180 x 127 cm (5ft.11in. x 4ft.2in). Cotton warps, single wefts (mostly wool, cotton) as usual, no warp depression. The horizontal knot count is h.30/10, the vertical knot count is v.30/10 in the 6 inch high upper (cotton while weft) part and v.28/10 the rest of the rug with its brown woolen wefts. The transition can be seen in the last image of the back of the rug. So the knot count is quite coarse, roughly 900 knots/dm2 or, converted to to inches, h.7.6,v.7.6 = ca. 58 kpsi). Interestingly, there is one row of knots in white cotton: the top of the top main border (clearly visible in the fourth photograph as somewhat lighter than the wool white). Fat one cord selvedges wrapped in dark brown wool. No kilim ends remain.
Good pile in the upper and lower part, more wear in the central band across where pile is very short or down to knotheads, with a small area where the foundation shows, and a small aera of repiling nearby, which is not a perferct match for the dark blue ground. Actually this would be a good candidate for restoraton since the bare area (the size of an egg) could easily be repiled (but why?). Some isolated blemishes (see photos). The selvedges look as if they have been rewrapped with dark brown wool at some point, slightly fraying at a few isolated points. A few rows of knots are missing at the lower end. Both ends are well secured. I have thoroughly hand-washed the rug in neutral detergent (it was very filthy when I got it).
A small very pleasing harmonious and nicely abrashed palette of all-natural dyes: dark indigo blue field abrahed to midmight blue, a meduim indigo, madder-red, a beautiful green and and a clear saturated yellow in Herati pattern details, dark brown for outlining, off-white in the main border and some herati details, such as the sawtooth edges of the serrated leaves.