Hamadan rugs are hand-woven, high quality village rugs that are manufactured in and around the city of Hamadan in western Iran.
Unlike most other rugs that refer to a particular type from one province or city, the term Hamadan actually refers to a wide variety of Persian rugs that are woven across a vast region.
Owning a Hamadan is Owning a Piece of Ancient History
With its ideal location right on a road junction in the valley of the ‘Kuh-i-Elwand’ in northwest Iran, Hamadan has long been an important rug weaving and rug marketing center with all of the villages and towns in the surrounding region producing different varieties and sizes of rugs and runners for export.
The whole region for miles and miles around is dotted with a host of spinning mills, knotting shops, dye works and laundries that specialize in rugs.
Hamadan Rugs: Village, Hand-Woven Rugs in 3000 Different Styles
The whole rug weaving region comprises of about 1500 separate and distinct villages in and around the city of Hamadan. Each of these villages produces on average 2 different styles of rugs, with some villages producing more than that. What this means is that there are about 3,000 different varieties of Hamadan rugs.
What’s particularly interesting is that although all of the rugs produced in these regions are called Hamadan rugs, the materials differ quite a bit because the wool has been obtained from sheep across so many different regions and the designs also differ because of the varying influences in each of the regions.
Antique Hamadan Rugs
Rug enthusiasts and collectors know that buying antique Hamadan Persian rugs is the best investment they can make. One of the oldest cities in the world, Hamadan was earlier known as the cradle of Oriental civilization.
The hand-woven rugs created in this ancient city are pieces of art completely devoid of any recent influences.
When you own an antique Hamadan rug, you own a piece of ancient history. These rugs are remarkable well-constructed, using high quality materials, an impressive palette of colors and a weaving technique that contributes to its famed durability.
Construction Of Hamadan Rugs
The wool used in the construction of Hamadan rugs is obtained from hardy sheep that graze at high altitudes of the area. This wool is very durable, hardy, and robust, which lend to the long lasting quality of these rugs.
Hamadan rugs are typically single wefted and most of them have a cotton foundation. Older pieces are often tied on wool warp, which is in contrast to today’s rugs with their cotton foundation.
Foundation of Hamadan Rugs
Most Hamadan rugs have a single-wefted foundation. When you look at the underside of a rug with a single-wefted foundation, you can clearly see every other warp across the width of the rug creating a unique pattern of defined lines across the rug.
Only Hamadan rugs from the Kasvin area are constructed slightly differently in that they do not have a single-wefted foundation.
There is a slight difference between the Hamadan rugs woven before and after 1915. The newer rugs woven after 1915 have a cotton foundation.
Earlier rugs had a wool foundation, usually on a beige, camel-colored background.
Types of Knots in Hamadan Carpet
One thing common in all Hamadan rugs is that they all have symmetric knots and are thickly woven with densities of about 40 to 169 knots per square inch.
While all of the rugs that come under the umbrella name of Hamadan rugs are characterized by excellent wool and color quality, you will find that there is a vast difference in the knotting techniques that are used in the different weaving regions.
Hamadan weavers used the Ghiordes or Turkish knot to create their rugs. This is a type of symmetrical knot, which is used in only a few types of Persian rugs including Tabriz rugs. Most other Persian rug weavers use the Persian knot, which is asymmetrical.
It’s not surprising that Hamadan weavers used this type of Turkish knot. The city is very close to Tabriz, which was once the capital of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire. The population consisted predominantly of Turks, who influenced all aspects of the region including the rug making styles.
Till today, weavers in both these cities continue to weave rugs using the Turkish symmetrical knot and not the asymmetrical knot that’s otherwise seen in most other Persian rugs.
Besides using a different knotting style, Hamadan weavers also used a different technique in creating their rugs. Hamadan rugs use a single weft weaving technique called the Hamadan weave or the ‘Sennah Baft. This is different from what most other Persian rugs use.
In this single-wefting Hamadan weave technique, one row of weft separates each row of knots. This exposes alternate rows of the rug’s warp, which then forms a characteristic design element of the rug. Unlike other Persian rugs, it is the wefts in these rugs that tend to be more rigid and which give the rug some firmness, while the warps are more supple.
Patterns Used in Hamadan Rugs
Rugs from each of the Hamadan village rugs have their own very distinctive designs which are recognizable to the expert eye. The patterns vary from floral and geometric to overall Herati designs.
The majority of Hamadan rugs have a geometric pattern. The most common designs that can be seen on most rugs from this region consist of the medallion-and-corner design or the all-over boteh or Herati designs.
Hexagonal shaped and diamond-shaped medallions are common. Often the all-over Herati designs have a narrow field in the shape of a large octagon. There are many variations each with its own unique characteristic features.
Typical Sizes Available
Hamadan weavers usually created rugs for utilitarian purposes. These rugs are typically smaller in size or runners. You can find Hamadan rugs in sizes ranging from 2.8x 4’ to 3.5’x4.10’. Hamadan runners can be found in sizes ranging from 2.9’x16’ to 2.10’x32.9’.
Hamadan rugs make a wonderful household accessory and are in great demand especially because of their excellent quality, high durability and long lasting colors.