Malayer Rugs: Mesmerizing Patterns In An Exquisite Spectrum Of Colors
Malayer rugs are woven in and around the village of Malayer in Northwest Persia. Its location in between Hamadan and Sarouk played a large role in influencing the weaving techniques as well as the designs of the rugs produced in Malayer and the surrounding villages. Weavers of these regions borrowed techniques and patterns from Hamadan and Sarouk rugs but then give them an original twist so that the resultant rugs were unique and distinctly different with just a few similarities to the original.
Hallmark Features Of Malayer Rugs
Antique Malayer rugs were typically thick and small sized and created by individual weavers for the most part. Very few large pieces were woven and these were done usually by the families in larger villages and mostly on order.
The tremendous diversity of design and color of these rugs was quite a departure from the other styles of Persian rugs woven around the region at that time. The boteh or the sprouting seed motif, which represented rebirth, is a hugely favored motif by most Malayer weavers who use it without restriction to embellish their rugs. You can find some of the smaller sized rugs and runners with entire fields covered in the boteh motif.
The herati design, which is a diamond surrounded by vines and flowers, stylized birds and a few select stylized geometric motifs are some of the other patterns you will find in these rugs.
Another departure from most other types of Persian rugs is in the colors that are used. Malayer weavers did not restrict themselves to using just two or three colors. Instead they used a deep blue background to highlight the designs in a wide spectrum of colors including light blue, watermelon red, sage green, tan, gold, soft salmon and cream. This unusual combination of multiple colors and multiple patterns in one rug set these pieces apart from most other Persian styles.
Construction of Malayer Rugs
Malayer rugs were largely single-wafted like the Hamadan versions but much finer than the originals.
Higher quality rugs, which were woven in the village of Mishin used a lustrous, resilient wool and subtle, repeating patterns to create riveting, highly valued pieces. The weavers of Mishin village were ethnic Turks. These Turk weavers used the symmetric knot or the Gourde in all of their creations. The Gourde is a typical symmetrical Turkish knot as opposed to the asymmetrical knot that can be found in most traditional Persian creations. The designs and the weave were very artistically executed and the weavers usually clipped the wool pile fairly short to accentuate the detail and the clarity of the design and showcase their skill and expertise.
Antique Malayer rugs are highly valued for their originality, craftsmanship and unique combinations of color and design. At an auction held in 2008, Christies auctioned off an antique Malayer runner for what was considered a handsome price at that time. It’s anybody’s guess that it would probably fetch an even higher price today.