Ferahan & Ferahan Sarouk rugs
Persian Town Weaving Tradition
Ferahan Plain, Arak District, Northwest Persia
The finely woven Ferahan carpets of the 19th century were designed for the Persian aristocracy, who valued them for their exceptional craftsmanship, elegance, and spirited artistry. Investment-level Ferahans were not produced after the 1910s and the finer 19th- and turn-of-the-20th-century examples have become quite rare.
The best Ferahan pieces woven 90-175 years ago are considered to be among the most original and artistic room size carpets ever woven in Persia. Their high-grade wool, spirited uncompromising workmanship, sublime color palettes and durable construction have made them the parlor rug of choice of European and East Coast families since the middle of the 19th century.
Today, the best Ferahans have become a favorite of connoisseurs and established interior designers, not merely for their great decorative appeal, but because they have long exhibited a consistently escalating market value.
There are a number of distinctive design features which set the fine antique Ferahans apart from the styles of other regions. Their floral motifs show original, inventive, drawing and exceptional delicacy, each blossom varying slightly from the next, both spontaneous and balanced.
Although they are sometimes less detailed than the court carpets of the large cities of Kashan or Isfahan, Ferahans often match their elegance and usually surpass them in their creativity. They offer a wide spectrum of vegetable dyed colors, mellowed to soft yet rich shades. One exemplary color is the depth of the midnight indigo shade they were able to produce and use so effectively as a counterpoint or backdrop to the rest of the subtle Ferahan palette of color. The best Ferahans are also known for their abundant use of seldom-found tones of green, from soft celadon through rich apple green to the deepest forest greens.
The art of streaking color, a technique known as abrash, was developed in Ferahans to a high degree, and is used profusely in 19th century-examples, especially those woven in the pre-commercial period of the 1880s and before. Often in these early pieces, the base color will change dramatically from one end of the field to the other, a traditional technique that can produce great drama and distinction.
Pieces known simply as "Ferahan" are characterized by a close-cropped and tightly packed pile of fine yarn. They typically employ dense allover field patterns, notably the Herati blossom and curling leaf design, epitomizing the exceptional craftsmanship of 19th-century Persian carpets. Pieces of somewhat heavier weave with graciously drawn teardrop- or sunburst-shaped central medallions are called "Ferahan Sarouk".
Ferahans originated from the Ferahan plain in the Arak district between Hamadan and Tehran, which is one of the most fertile, agriculturally productive areas in Persia. The Ferahan
rugs have tribal roots, but since they were primarily produced for a wealthy urban clientele, they developed a style more closely aligned with the rich floral detail of classical rugs. Their multi-lobed medallions owe much to the Tabriz tradition, while their palmettes and other floral motifs exhibit the influence of the nearby Sarouk weavers. The resultant fusion created a never-to-be-repeated hybrid style of elegance through simplicity.
At Claremont Rug Company, we usually avoid Ferahans of the 1920's and later, as they commonly use some harsh and unappealing artificial dyes along with static and standardized designs.
The 19th-century and turn-of-the-20th-century Ferahan and Ferahan Sarouks in which we proudly specialize are found most often today in the area-size (3ft x 5ft to 4ft 6in x 7ft) and small room-size (7ft x 10ft to 9ft x 12ft) formats. Art-level, room-size pieces in good condition have become less available internationally, especially in the best qualities, while oversize and even palace-size examples are found only very occasionally.
As a whole, true art-level 19th-century Ferahan & Ferahan Sarouks in good floor condition are now very difficult to find overall and extremely highly regarded. They stand solidly in the upper tier of investment-level decorative and collectible antique Persian carpets.
Jan David Winitz, President and Founder of Claremont Rug Company in Oakland, CA, has built a global reputation among carpet collectors and connoisseurs since he founded the company-at age 25-in 1980. Born into a New York family of art collectors and scientists, "Winitz inherited two things from his grandmother: a collection of great rugs and a love of art." (Financial Times). His stated vision was, "to introduce fine families to antique carpets possessing equal or greater artistic magnitude as works of art usually displayed on the wall." Claremont Rug Company continues to be a leading source of 19th century museum-level Oriental carpets in the world. The author of "The Guide to Purchasing an Oriental Rug," Winitz has an international clientele for whom antiques are a great passion.