Heriz Rugs

Heriz rugs are easily recognizable because of their bold colors and unique signature design, consisting of a large medallion with oversized corner pieces and double or even triple outlining. 

These rugs are also heavier and more durable as compared to most other types of Persian rugs.

Where are Heriz Rugs Made?

Heriz Rugs are woven in several towns and villages in the northwestern region of Iran. All of these weaving centers are scattered around Mount Sabalan in Heriz.

Heriz is informal village rugs that are produced in the city of Heriz in the province of East Azerbaijan in North West Iran. These rugs are woven with the Turkish knot.

Sheep Crazing in Mountains
The wool used in Heriz is sourced from Sheep in the local mountains

One of the reasons why these rugs are so tough is because of the source of their wool. Mount Sabalan sits on a rich deposit of copper and small amounts of copper find their way into the water that the sheep drink. The trace copper in the drinking water makes the wool far more resilient and stronger than the wool sourced from most other areas.

This strong, superior quality wool is the secret behind the hardwearing and durable qualities that Heriz rugs are famous for. These rugs have a heavier handle and are some of the toughest and longest lasting rugs you will find.

Interesting Facts About Heriz Rugs

Heriz rugs have a few very distinct characteristics that set them apart from other Oriental rugs and make them easy to identify.

These rugs usually feature a large, boldly colored central medallion. The medallion is typically made up of an assortment of colors, most of which belong to the warmer palette. They also have large, conspicuous corner-pieces, which are filled with foliage and angular oak leaves.


Heriz Rugs – Design, History And Colors

There are a few other designs in addition to the rugs with large-sized central medallion and corner pieces. Some Heriz rugs consist of repetitive lattice designs, multiple medallions scattered all over the field, or all-over designs made up of numerous small motifs placed randomly or in a sequence.

As with most other types of village rugs, Heriz rugs are loosely knotted using the Turkish knot, with a knot count that ranges from about 40 knots per square inch to about 100 knots per square inch. Weavers used a finer knotting when creating silk Heriz rugs.

Antique Heriz Rugs

Hwriz 4’10” X 6’3″

Antique Heriz rugs are some of the most majestic creations you can find in the world of Persian village rugs. The signature design used in antique Heriz rugs is an oversized medallion with large corner pieces. Angular oak leaves and assorted foliage in an assortment of warm colors fill these patterns. A skillfully created abrash field acts as the backdrop to the large, elaborate motifs. The overall effect is bold and eye-catching.

Only natural dyes were used to color antique Heriz rugs. These natural dyes tend to mellow over the years, which is why these rugs have a subtle patina not seen in the newer pieces.

Antique Heriz rugs have been become scarce because of the high demand in the earlier years. This makes them a great investment that is sure to increase in value through the years.

The Difference Between Heriz and Serapi Rugs

Serapi rugs are a type of Heriz rug that were woven before 1910. Although both rugs have a few similarities, they do have several notable differences in their designs as well as the colors used.

Although both rugs have strong medallion design, there is a prominent difference is the style of medallion used in each rug type.

In Heriz rugs, the medallion has more than eight sides and resembles a star surrounded by floral motifs.

The Serapi medallion is outlined in bold lines and looks very different.

Heriz rugs have darker colors and their entire surface area is completely covered in a high degree of detail. Although Serapi rugs are also highly detailed, they have more open spaces in their design.

Another difference lies in the colors used in the designs. Heriz rugs feature darker, deeper colors as compared to Serapi rugs.

example of serapi rug
Antique Serapi Rug
Heriz 8’4″ x 11’5″ Aged (50-60 years)

What is a Serapi Rug

The history behind Serapi rugs is interesting. Sometime in the 1930’s, there was a high demand for a type of Heriz rug that was discontinued. In order to capitalize on this high demand and not lose out on potential sales, rug buyers created the Serapi pseudonym to describe that particular type of Heriz rug. 

That name stuck on and is still being used to describe a high-quality rug that is manufactured in the district in the village of Serab, located in the Heriz district. In short, a Serapi rug is a distinctive type of Heriz rug.

It is not always possible to tell the difference between a Heriz and Serapi with a casual glance of the rug’s top side. One definite way to tell the difference is by turning the rug over and checking out the underside visually and by running your hand across the weave.

Type of Knots in Serapi

If the knots are not pressed down and the warp is very conspicuous, it is a Heriz rug. When you run your hands across the weave of the Heriz, it will feel very bumpy to the touch.

How to Spot a Serapi Rug

When you turn over a Serapi rug, the underside looks smoother. During the weaving process, the weavers press the warps and rows of knots down firmly so that they are not noticeable on the underside. It also feels smoother when you run your hand across the weave on the underside.

Colors used in Serapi Rugs

Serapi rugs also use a more limited color palette, which makes them more versatile in terms of which décor they can be matched with.

How much are Serapi Rugs Worth

Serapi rugs are much more expensive than Heriz rugs as they are rarer, more artistic and created using more expensive materials. Most of them are woven before 1900.

Pile And Knot in Heriz Rugs

Knots on Back of Heriz

Heriz rugs have a coarse construction with a cotton foundation and woven wool pile.

The knot count of these rugs can range from a lower count of 30 knots per square inch to a higher count of about 110 knots per square inch. Rugs with a higher knot count of over 110 knots per square inch are quite unusual.

Heriz Weaving Techniques

Weavers use the symmetrical Turkish knot to produce the thick woolen pile on a sturdy foundation made of cotton. The combination of materials and the weaving techniques used give the rugs their famed durability.

Texture of Heriz Rugs

Heriz rugs have a thick and heavy pile made of woven wool on a cotton foundation. These rugs have a relatively low knot count of about 30 knots per square inch to a high of around 110 knots per square inch. It is rare to find a Heriz rug with a knot count that’s higher than 110.

Don’t be fooled by the low knot count though. The high quality of the materials used and the eye-catching colors and designs more than make up for the beauty and construction of these rugs.

Wool Heriz Rugs

Like most other authentic Persian rugs, the wool used in the older pieces was always dyed using pure, natural vegetable dyes.

There is a marked difference in the wool used in antique Heriz rugs and the rugs manufactured in later years. However, despite the change in the type of wool used, weavers do not compromise on the quality of the wool.

Natural Wool
Natural Wool

Lustrous wool obtained from the Shahsavan tribe was mostly used to create antique Heriz rugs. The Shahsavan were a nomadic tribe that traversed the nearby Elbrus Mountains. The vegetation and climate at those altitudes resulted in high quality wool that is found in the antique Heriz rugs.

More recently, weavers obtain high quality, lanolin rich wool from Tabriz. The quality of the wool is just as good but slightly different.

Geometrical and Medallion Designs of Heriz Rugs

Heriz rugs feature a number of unique design elements that set them apart from most other Persian rugs.

While you will see that most other Persian variations utilize a curved form in their designing, Heriz rugs have a more definite geometrical design which is achieved through a series of angular twists and turns.

Another trademark feature of these rugs is their large medallion with white, corner spandrels and a border of samovars. Numerous angular oak leaves and foliage fill in the surrounding field. The final effect is bold, stunning and eye catching.

One design element is the series of angular lines that result in designs that are more geometrical in nature. This is different from other Persian rugs that usually feature more curved or curvilinear forms in their design.

The large central medallion is another hallmark feature of Heriz rugs. This medallion usually features corner spandrels in white. This medallion and corner motif is surrounded by a field filled with highly stylized floral motifs, foliage and angular oak leaves. Some may feature a border of samovars.

Medallion Design
Geometrical Design

The double outlining technique is another unique feature that is seen in some of the finer Heriz rugs. In this technique, weavers used two lines in different colors to highlight the central design and separate it from the field. The result is nothing short of spectacular.

Heriz rugs rarely feature repetitive patterns that are often seen in many other types of Persian rugs.

Common Colors Used in Heriz

Antique Heriz rugs and piano on top
Antique Heriz Rug at Catalina Rug’s Clients Home

Heriz weavers used only natural dyes extracted from various plants that were found around them.

The dyes extracted from the plants growing in that region were generally darker in color, which explains why these rugs feature these warmer hues.

The Heriz rug makers in particular were renowned for their mastery at vegetable dyeing as well as their mastery of the abrash technique and this expertise is amply evident in the colors used in these rugs.

The abrash technique is a process of deliberate weaving to achieve a variation of hues within one color shade. With age, these rugs acquire a mellow, pleasant patina that adds to their visual appeal.

Typical Heriz colors include rich reds, deep blues, brilliant greens and sunny yellows set against a field of creamy ivory. The blue color seen in these rugs is unusual in that it resembles a brilliant teal or turquoise shade. Cream and ivory are often used as accents and to lend a lighter touch to the rugs.

As these rugs age, the dark colors slowly start to fade, taking on beautiful lighter versions of their original shades.

Typical Sizes Of Heriz Rugs

You can find Heriz rugs in a wide range of sizes. Antique Heriz rug sizes can range anywhere from a small size of 8 feet x 11 feet to a large size of 15 feet x 24 feet

Making A Style Statement With Heriz Rugs

Heriz rugs always feature traditional designs that are often woven from memory.

With their balanced natural color scheme, Heriz rugs can make a bold style statement in any environment and because they only get better with age, you know your rug will only increase in value as it gets older.

Regardless of style or age, Heriz rugs have a certain style and flair that lend color, class and character to any room you place it in.