Kerman rugs are made by highly skilled weavers in and around Kerman. The region has been a major rug production center from the very beginning. It’s location in south eastern Iran protected the region from frequent invasions, which resulted in the Kerman weavers maintaining a distinctly Persian flavor in all of their creations. These rugs are known for their intricate designs, fine weaving technique and an unusually large palette of colors. Two of the most common patterns used in these rugs are the curvilinear pattern and the Kerman pictorials.
Construction of Kerman Rugs
Kerman rugs are typically constructed using high quality Carmania wool tightly woven on an all cotton foundation. The weavers used the asymmetrical Persian knot. This was done by first rolling under one warp thread, then over the second warp thread and lastly rising up between the two. In some of the older pieces, the first and third weft threads were kept rigid while the second remained flexible, creating a wavy foundation with several depressions.
The KPSI ranged from between 120 to 800, which resulted in rugs that were denser than most other rug varieties. These rugs were also usually larger in size, averaging about 8 feet by 10 feet.
Another unsual technique that these weavers use is in the dyeing of the wool. The wool is dyed before it is spun, which allowed the wool to get dyed uniformly.
Design & Colors of Kerman Rugs
Elaborate pictorials and busy patterns are characteristic in these rugs. The traditional Persian influence is predominant with some European influences evident in some of the patterns. Common designs that were used included the Shah Abbasi medallion-and-corner, striped designs, tree of life, hunting scenes and stylized flowers and animals. Some rugs were woven in an all-over design using floral or boteh motifs and the very popular vase motif. The all-over vase pattern against a busy background of palmettes and flowers is very distinctive of Kerman rugs and remains one of their most popular designs.
Kerman rugs feature lots and lots of colors in each piece, sometimes as much as fifteen to thirty. Red-blue and deep red are the most commonly used colors along with other shades of golden saffron, blues, ivories, turquoise, orange and magenta.
Modern Kerman Rugs
Modern Kerman rug versions are significantly different from their traditional counterparts in coloration as well as patterns. Instead of a busy field, the distinguishing character of the newer rugs is the plain open field, which is a change that reflects the taste of the Western market.
Pastel colors are favored instead of the bolder colors of the older rugs. Modern weavers use a lot of lime green, pink, champagne, gray blue and beige in their creations.
Despite the difference in the design and the colors between the antique and modern versions of Kerman rugs, one thing that has remained consistent throughout is the superior weaving technique and finish, resulting in high quality rugs that are treasured around the world.