By Jessica Allan
Sarouk rugs are a type of Persian rug. Sarouk rugs are very attractive, and antique Sarouks are one of the most desired types of rugs by both rug dealers and retail customers alike. They are one of the best quality rugs from the Arak weaving district of central Iran and some of the most beautiful rugs in the east. They are made both in village and workshop settings. Sarouks have a distinguishing design of brightly colored detached floral sprays with or without a medallion (1, 2).
Before WW2, Sarouk rugs became very popular in America (1). American Sarouks first became popular because of their color, dughi pink. Dughi pink is an intense salmon pink made from a mixture of dye and yogurt or curdled milk (4).
Unfortunately, many Sarouks that were imported before WW2 were chemically washed and painted which had a detrimental effect on the condition of the carpet (1). Traditionally Sarouks were painted with dye to intensify certain colors. This method is no longer employed because chrome dyes are used (2).
The Serabend, which consists of small repeated botehs, is a variant of the standard Sarouk. Occasionally, Sarouks resemble the open field Kirman. Sarouks designed for the European market are worked in an intertwining medallion design and can be called Jozan Sarouks due to their resemblance to rugs woven in the town of Jozan (2).
Sarouks have a cotton foundation, with distinct blue wefts. Persian knots are used in Sarouks, and the knotting can be very fine (1, 2). The wool is of excellent quality, and the finished carpet is very durable. The pile can either be clipped close or left a little long. Their resale value is very steady. Sometimes lesser quality Mahal rugs are represented as Sarouks which a buyer should be aware of (2).
Older pieces can feel like velvet, and have more muted tones. Modern pieces have beautiful colors, graceful patterns and are well woven. Sarouks have soft, rich, dark colors like deep blues and reds, olives, greens, burnt orange and ivory. Traditional designs consist of herati, boteh, or gul hannai motifs in either an all-over or medallion layout with a hexagon, oval, diamond, round or angular floral shaped medallion (4). Some older pieces have tree of life designs, or designs of other trees like the cypress or willow. They can also have realistic animals in the fields. The majority of modern pieces have a large medallion with pendants, or two or more concentric medallions resting on the field (3). Motifs are sometimes outlined with a lighter red, light yellow or turquoise to create contrast with the field (4).
There can be delicate stems that weave through the piece with leaves, buds and flowers. The borders usually have only three stripes; one broad main stripe with a vine with flowers, and a narrow guard stripe on each side. Sometimes the guard stripes have a simple vine design, or a floral pattern. The borders are usually a color that contrasts with the field color (3).
Sarouk designs are also copied in India, Romania and China (4).
Check out more examples of Sarouk rugs on our Pinterest board!
(1) Bennett, Ian. Book of Oriental Carpets and Rugs. New York, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, 1972. Print.
(2) Jerrehian, Aram K. Jr. Oriental Rug Primer; Buying and Understanding New Oriental Rugs. Pennsylvania, Running Press, 1980. Print.
(3) Hawley, Walter A. Oriental Rugs Antique and Modern. Ebook. Release May, 20 2012. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39740/39740-h/39740-h.htm>
(4) “Heriz Persian Rugs.” Woven Accents Antique Rug Dealer. 2013. <http://www.wovenonline.com/heriz/>