One of over 100 weaving villages scattered around in this region, Malayer has a long history of rug weaving. In the 19th and 20th centuries, production in Malayer and the surrounding smaller villages was almost exclusively limited to small sized rugs and runners woven by individual weavers.
Hand-Knotted Malayer Rugs: A Fabulous Combination Of Two Distinct Weaving Styles
Very few families in the larger villages undertook the weaving of larger rugs. Otherwise, oversize rugs were only woven on commission.
Malayer rugs are typically very thick and vary widely in pattern, featuring paisleys, polygons, medallions and herati motifs. These rugs are very highly valued and have been known to fetch handsome prices at high end auctions.
Antique Malayer Rugs
Made from high-quality materials, antique Malayer rugs feature some of the most elaborate and decorative designs in deep, rich colors that give them a truly exotic look.
Each antique Malayer rug is one of a kind with weavers drawing inspiration for their designs from their surroundings, resulting in an amazing array of rich motifs and patterns. Antique Malayer rugs are one of the best investments you can make.
Types of Malayer Rugs
There are two distinct types of Malayer rugs.
Malayer Rugs Similar To Sarouk Rugs – These are woven by Malayer weavers in the south-east of Malayer. They are similar to Sarouk rugs in that they are double-wefted with two cotton wefts and they have a depressed cotton warp.
However, they have a few features that helps tell them apart from Sarouk rugs. Malayer weavers use the Turkish symmetrical knot unlike the Persian asymmetric knot used to create Sarouks. Malayer rugs have elaborate scrolling vine borders and all-over medallion fields that are fairly rectangular. These designs are not seen in Sarouks.
Malayer Rugs Similar To Hamadan Rugs – These are woven by Malayer weavers in the north-west of Malayer. They use Turkish symmetric knots and the single-wefted construction that is similar to Hamadan rugs.
However, the Malayer rugs have a much finer weave, which helps to tell them apart from their Hamadan counterparts.
The Foundation And Pile
Although Malayer weavers in both regions use cotton warps and wefts to construct the foundation, there is a slight difference between the two. Rugs created in the Sout East region have a depressed warp and double cotton weft that’s usually dyed blue, much like Sarouk rugs. Rugs created in the North West region have a single cotton weft and a flat warp with no depression.
All Malayer rugs have a short wool pile. Cutting the pile short helps to highlight the design more clearly.
Creative Combinations Of Malayer Rugs
Hand-Knotted Malayer rugs are produced in Malayer, a large village located between the major weaving areas of Hamadan and Sarouk in Northwest Persia.
What is really fascinating about Malayer rugs is that the weavers have imbibed the characteristics of both their rug weaving neighbors while still managing to create a final product that remains distinctly different from the originals. At the finer levels, each Malayer rug is distinctly different.
While the weavers draw on a large pool of designs from these two regions, they weave a lot of their own originality into their creations and this is evident in the final result. These are undoubtedly some of the most decorative of Persian village weavings.
In trade circles Hand Knotted Malayer rugs are often described as ‘Hamadan Senneh’ rugs, which refers to the combination of the two styles – the fine weave resembles the Hamadans and the symmetrically knotted, single-wefted herati design is similar to that of the Senneh rugs.
Malayer weavers produce predominantly single-wafted rugs, but the Malayer versions are often much finer than the original Hamadan rugs.
Characteristic Designs & Colors Of Malayer Rugs
Colors of Malayer
SE Malayer rugs usually have navy blue fields interspersed with patterns in ivory, gold, red, and sage green. NE Malayer rugs have a variety of colors, with orange-red being the most common.
Design & Unique Patterns
Malayer rugs typically feature a mix of abstract and geometric motifs, from stylized vines and lattice patterns to diamond-shaped or hexagonal medallions and classic allover patterns. Smaller rugs often have entire fields covered with boteh.
Medallions with corners are more commonly seen in SE Malayer rugs while NW Malayers often feature medallions and boteh on a Herati field.
Given the fusion of ideas combined with originality, the endless array of designs is not surprising. You can find hand-knotted Malayer rugs with allover field designs as well as those with a central medallion surrounded by varied motifs.
The variety and richness of the motifs and overall designs makes these rugs endlessly interesting. One of the favorite motifs of the weavers is the boteh, which represents a sprouting seed.
Weavers wove this motif lavishly into their creations sometimes using it to cover entire fields in the smaller rugs and runners. The outcome of the repeated pattern with its rich colors is absolutely mesmerizing.
Weaving Techniques Used
Both types of Malayer rugs are made using the Ghiordes or Turkish symmetric knot. This is thought to be in part because many of the weavers were of Turkish descent. The strong cotton warp and weft combined with the use of the Turkish knot gives these rugs their famed durability.
Typical Sizes of Malayer Rugs
Malayer rugs can be found in a wide range of sizes, from smaller rugs measuring 2’x3’ to larger rugs measuring 4’x7’.
Typical sizes of Malayer rugs are about 3.5’x10’ to longer rugs measuring 3.8’x12.9’. You can find these rugs in several other variations aside from the dimensions mentioned.
However, oversize Malayer rugs are quite rare as these were usually only made on commission.