This is a characteristic, classic Kerman scatter rug with a light palette, yet a wide selection of softer naturally dyed hues. Kerman, in Southeast Iran, has almost continuously been at the rug art since about 1600, never the seat of a royal court, but always attuned to the demands of a continent-, then worldwide market. Styles and formats have radically changed over the centuries, but the innumerable variations on the medallion and corners layout are particularly notable in c. 1900 pieces. America has been, for more than a century, the largest market for Kerman carpets and nothing says Òoriental rugÓ like a complex medallion with lots of supporting curvilinear scrollery. At this, Kerman, as here, has always excelled. On the old ivory field is set a wine-brown octogramme medallion enclosing a palmette octofoil sub-medallion. Instead of the usual palmette pendants alone, the medallion sprouts pointed cypress finials suspending small floral pendants. All round are small palmettes, but the corners are extended and elaborated with oblique vases. Detail tones encompass: slate, pale blue, pistachio, sand, brown and pale green.
The main border shows palmettes within partial peaks alternating with dark brown rosettes.
The weave is quite fine, with asymmetric (Persian) knots on an all -cotton foundation. The pile is quite (originally) short. The pile wool comes from local sheep and is somewhat softer than that used in Tabriz, Kashan, Isfahan or other western or central Persian city carpets.
The dyes are all natural, with cochineal instead of the usual madder for the red. The ivory wool is undyed, original sheep colour. The use of cochineal, an insect dye imported from the New World, followed the use of Indian lac (also an insect dye) in earlier Kerman pieces.
Kerman rugs are always factory pieces, never rustic, tribal or village-y. They are woven, as this rug surely was, from cartoons drawn by local artists. Kerman has always been a centre of carpet design and artist families can trace lineages back at least two centuries. Around Kerman are several smaller towns, including Ravar or Lavar, famous for some of the better late 19th century Kerman-style carpets. Dealers love to upgrade any antique Kerman to Ravar, but it is more accurate, without any confirmatory data, to call everything ÒKermanÓ, and add the modifiers ÒfineÓ, ÒantiqueÓ or Òhigh qualityÓ as the piece requires.
Fairly good condition with a decoratively desirable softer palette.
[spreadsheet says ÔSivasÕ,cannot be right]