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Antique Heriz rug, Azerbaijan, NW Iran

Sotheby's Carpets
New York | 16 Dec 2009, 10:00 AM | N08597
LOT 75

Knot count per square inch:
22-24 horizontal, 29-32 vertical
approximately 6ft. 2in. by 4ft. 7in. (1.88 by 1.40m.)
dated 1280 (1863)

ESTIMATE 30,000-35,000 USD
Lot Sold: 37,500 USD
Almost all wool Heriz weavings can be characterized by a rectilinear medallion design that has changed little over
time, symmetrical knotting, relatively low knot density, and the dominance of madder and indigo colors punctuated
with yellows, browns and sometimes occasional greens. Pieces from the mid and late nineteenth century tend to have
particularly attractive color palettes that, while often saturated or brilliant, are never harsh. Brilliant coloring is one of
the few characteristics wool and silk weavings from Heriz share. As exemplified on the piece offered here, silk
weavings attributed to Heriz have soft yet saturated hues that make up a fine and harmonious color palette. Just like
the lot offered here, Heriz silk rugs are always extremely pliable and, unlike their woolen counterparts, finely woven. In
many ways, Heriz silk rugs resemble silks produced in nearby Tabriz. Some suggest that, because of their shared
design characteristics with Tabriz silks, these finely-woven pieces cannot be attributed to Heriz with certainty, see
Murray L. Eiland Jr. and Murray Eiland III, Oriental Carpets, London, 1998, p. 93. Medallions, floral patterns,
inscription cartouches, and figural elements, most often drawn with grace in a curvilinear fashion, are all commonly
used in Heriz silk rugs and carpets, such as the ones sold Carpets from the Estate of Vojtech Blau, Sotheby's New
York, December 14, 2006, lots 14 and 90. The lot offered here is unusual for a Heriz weaving as its central design
elements differ from the traditional Heriz canon. The peculiar, almost figurative, design outlining a naturalistically
drawn tree under the mihrab arch makes this lot a unique piece whose curious inscription reading there are many
Satans disguised as humans, therefore, you need not shake everyone's hand, render this lot even more distinctive.
Regardless of the unusual design and ominous inscription, the extremely high quality of workmanship and brilliant
color palette attest to the mastery of weavers from the Heriz area.