Interesting in this Senneh Herati design (which also employs what Ford classifies as Herati border type, with large palmettes facing inwards and outwards in turn) is the way the field pattern continues on a strip underneath the main border, and the fact that the border extends at the top to allow the rendition of most of a side border palmette (the rug has not been cut this way; the neat finishing seem looks original). There was simply no need to continue with the field design since the repeating part had been fully rendered at the point where the red rosettes return.
The beautiful red-ground main border just describes an L-shape on Herati field design on dark blue ground.
It took me some moments to come to the conclusion that this is a Senneh; first, the back looked like a Hamadan basket weave, but the feel was different and the weave much finer than even the finest Hamadans. The case seems clear since as far as I know there are no other single-weft rugs as fine as this apart from Senneh. I guess this is from the first half of the 20th century.
The typical fine Senneh weave: thin and tightly spun cotton warps, thin cotton wefts, hardly any depression, symmetrical knotting, strongly twisted pile yarn creating the grainy 'sandpaper ' back. The weave is fine though near the lower end of fineness for Senneh: 13.h, 11.v = 143kpsi (or 52.h/dm, 42.v/dm = 218.400 knots per m2). The pile is ca. 7 mm long and lustrous, the handle is soft, flexible, and meaty, a delight to touch.
The type of single-weft basket weave implies that the pile points rightwards and leftwards in turn with each new row of knots, which leads to a peculiar jarred or fuzzy appearance of vertical lines. Some of the straight vertical lines therefore look like a sawtooth line; and the Herati pattern does not appear stiff as it often does in other weaves, but has something organic, fuzzy and animated about it.
The colours are very nice, mostly saturated and beautifully abrashed natural dyes (considering that a saturated madder red and dark indigo blue dominate). Apart from these base colours, there is quite a wide range: a medium and light shade of indigo; several pinks, nice and very likely all madder-based; there is a synthetic purple which has tip-faded to a pleasing maroon brown; the medium green is pleasant though probably also synthetic, the tips have faded to a slightly lighter shade; also a blue-green (the yellow component having somewhat faded near the tips); a lighter green; then there is a light yellow and a greenish medium brown that have faded to lighter tones; finally, there is a bit of white. In spite of the use of some synthetic dyes, the overall colour harmony seems perfect to me (compare images).
Excellent, no wear, plush pile, sides and ends secured and original. The irregular shape seems to be original too (the extension of the side border allowed the display of the—squashed— palmette; strangely, it does not reveal information on the corner turn, though). There is a small hole in the bottom right, just below the left palmette in the main border.