Hadji Jallili Tabriz rugs
Persian Court Weaving Tradition
Azerbaijan Region, Northwest Persia
The city of Tabriz has a noteworthy history, both as the Persian Market center most linked geographically to Europe and Western commerce, and as the source of the most venerated weavings: the inspired carpets of the Shah Abbas period during the 15th and 16th centuries. With such auspicious beginnings, during the second half of the 19th century, three Persian weaver/designers Kurban Dai, Sheik Safi, and most notably, the luminary Hadji Jallili—were responsible for the reclamation of this celebrated past by reinventing a truly memorable carpet production.
The name of the master weaver, Hadji Jallili, lives on as perhaps the single most important creator of unique Court design carpets of the 19th century. Hadji Jallili was known to be an unusually erudite gentleman, who was well-versed in European and Romantic art, thus was influenced by Continental design as well as by the grand carpets of the "Golden Age of Persian Weaving". He was also a student of Sufi philosophy, and his carpets are known to have a deeply penetrating and contemplative impact on the viewer.
The workshop of Hadji Jallili was extremely prominent and fulfilled many important commissions. Thus, its best pieces requisitioned the finest materials used by master dyers and weavers, coupled with the master's genius and innovation as a carpet designer. His creations are of two general design types, either brilliant floral art carpets with opulent central medallions or meditative, highly decorative overall patterns with dense weaves up to 300 knots per square inch. Very finely detailed "Tree of Life" and "Garden of Paradise" patterns, replete with cypress trees, weeping willows, deer, peacocks and gazelle are also very occasionally seen.
Seldom does Hadji Jallili work employ the predominance of deep red and blue tones that are characteristic of most classical style Persian carpets. His unquestionable signature is the remarkably effectual use of a restrained palette of exquisite dyes, some in the very subtlest tones, wed with highly aesthetic, finely drawn patterns. Upon subdued backgrounds of ivory, sand, wheat, terra cotta, and pale rusts and browns, Hadji Jallili masterfully designed vine-formed medallions and fluid arabesques in subtle tones such as rose and coffee. For the more dramatic visual effect, midnight indigo was sometimes used for greater contrast. Due to the high knot density, designs tend to have a porcelain, finely etched property, which is embellished by light backgrounds.
Although extremely difficult to procure because of their limited production and great demand, a small number of antique Hadji Jallili Tabriz carpets can still be found in area sizes, room sizes and very occasionally in majestic oversizes. The best mid- to late-19th-century pieces are unrivaled in their subtlety, grace, and magical patina, and are marvelously complemented by period decor and fine furnishings. Fortunately, the workshop of Hadji Jallili achieved its goal in producing a legacy of memorable art works, whose lasting qualities have left us with this small quantity of precious masterworks to enjoy.
Although the designs of post-1900 Hadji Jallili carpets tend to be somewhat more predictable and static, the workshop maintained its renowned reputation for the highest standards of excellence through to the First World War. The majority of the pieces in our Hadji Jallili collection date from the 19th century, including some very early and prized pieces woven circa 1850-1875, and are undisputed masterworks of art and proven art investments.
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.