Antique Persian carpets woven with undyed camelhair are quite rare, as they represent a limited production from a small number of rug weaving villages and tribal groups. Very occasionally undyed camelhair was employed for a formal city rug. Prized camelhair yarn yields exceptionally soft and glowing earth tones in a seemingly endless array of hues from blonde, wheat, walnut or even chocolate brown. Like top quality sheep’s wool, it is very strong and resilient. Because of its palpable luxuriousness it is often given “center stage” — used as the field tone of a rug supported by varying amounts of dyed sheep’s wool.
Geometric designs are primarily found with a range of designs from detailed latticework to central medallions to repeating rows of diamonds, creating a singular artistic impact against the neutral camel base. Often the regional pattern language of these camelhair-producing villages includes whimsical smaller animal forms and human figures. Occasionally, a wide unadorned camel border frames the carpet, creating a “rug-within-a-rug” look.
The most available sizes in this style tend to be runners, corridor carpets, area sizes and smaller room sizes. The town of Serab is closely associated with producing a variety of camelhair weavings in all these sizes. The town of Kurdish tribespeople were prolific in using camelhair, and their carpets offer an unbridled joyful artistic expression. In addition, Bakshaish, the premier Persian folk art carpet made masterworks based in camelhair. Bijar and Malayer also produced these weavings.
In the 19th century, Western tastes leaned more towards the colorful weavings Persia was famous for. Over recent years, however, camelhair rugs have become especially popular for their grace and quiet sophistication. Also, as contemporary decors rely more on neutral tones, these carpets are often sought after by interior designers.
Clearly, with the exceptional beauty of the finest antique camelhair weavings and their very limited availability, their collectability has increased substantially. Whether one is a collector, a connoisseur of fine art or prefers simply to satisfy their refined decorative sensibilities, top-tier camelhair rugs and carpets will provide a lifetime’s enjoyment and, in some cases, prove to be superb art investments. Claremont Rug Company prides itself in procuring the finest examples of these extraordinary, hard-to-find rugs and runners.