Mehraban rugs originate from the district of Mehraban located in the north-western region of Iran, between the cities of Hamadan and Sarouk.
The weaving style and designs of these hand knotted Persian rugs are influenced by both – their neighboring cities as well as their own traditional techniques passed down from their ancestors. The finished rugs are sturdy and hard wearing.
Through the years, weavers have always used superior quality wool that is sheared from their own sheep. The dyes are obtained from various animal and plant parts found in their surrounding environment.
A Lovely Combination of Weaving Between Sarouk and Hamadan
Mehraban weavers favor the single-wefted weave that is typically used by Hamadan weavers but their style leans towards the American Sarouk with its floral sprays.
Although Mehraban rugs incorporate styles adopted from other regions, the weavers still practice basic techniques that have been passed down through the generations. This has resulted in an interesting mix of old and new in the finished rugs.
2 Distinct Types of Mehraban
Old Style Mehraban
The old style Mehraban rugs are single-wefted with predominantly geometric patterns. The rugs were mostly made for personal use and stayed more in tune with time-honored techniques and traditions passed down from one generation to another through the years.
New Style Mehraban
The newer style of Mehraban rugs are more heavily influenced by American trends and tastes. As a lot of these rugs are being made for commercial purposes, weavers adapted their patterns and designs to make them more suitable to current trends.
As a result, the newer style of Mehraban rugs feature patterns that are more Caucasian-looking while still incorporating some of the traditional geometric patterns.
Original Uses of Mehraban Rugs
Mehraban rugs were originally created for the personal use of the weavers and their families. These beautifully made rugs served a variety of purposes.
When used as blankets, they provided warmth and protection against the harsh freezing winters. They provided warmth and soft cushioning for the feet when laid out across the cold, bare floors inside the tents.
They also acted as effective barriers against the cold when hung up at the entrance to the tents.
Although these rugs were used primarily for practical purposes, the weavers did not ignore the design element when working on their creations.
The rich earthy color palettes and tribal designs that adorn these rugs created a warm, cheerful, and inviting ambiance within their tents.
Even the dyes used to color the wool are extracted from a variety of materials found in the surrounding areas. Dyes are most commonly extracted from the stems, leaves, roots, flowers, and fruit of various indigenous plants, dead insect shells, and locally found minerals.
Foundation & Pile
Mehraban rugs typically have a wool pile constructed on a cotton foundation. The pile is of medium height. The cotton foundation gives the finished rug superior strength and durability while the good-quality wool gives the rug a soft, lush feel.
Mehraban rugs are known to last well for over hundreds of years. The toughness of the rugs make them a great choice for use in high traffic areas and in homes with pets.
Weave & Knot
Mehraban weavers use the single-wefted Hamadan weave in their creations. The wefts in these rugs tend to be heavier and more rigid, while the warps are lighter and more flexible. The wool is tied using the Turkish symmetrical knot. The weaving quality is graded as good to fine.
Mehraban rugs are easy to identify by the one shot of weft that lies in between every row of knots. This makes every other warp more visible, which is a characteristic of these rugs.
The field in Mehraban rugs almost always feature a distinctive camel hair or peach shade. This color is characteristic of Mehraban rugs only and is what makes them easily identifiable from other Hamadan area rugs.
The camel hair or peach shade acts as a beautiful backdrop for patterns and designs created in a wide palette of bright, bold colors including shades of red, brown, blue, gold, green, black, and gray.
The colors used are rich and extracted from all natural sources. They are used lavishly in various design elements and outlines. Weavers may choose to frame their richly patterned rug in a plain outer border in the distinct camel hair color.
Design & Pattern
Mehraban weavers use a combination of traditional geometric designs and more modern floral patterns in their creations. The tradition geometric designs are simple and passed down through the generations. The stylized floral designs are highly influenced by Sarouk weaving styles.
The designs include any combination of Herati, medallion, and geometric patterns in a wide range of colors. These may be interspersed with motifs such as tribal leaves, animals, vines, and palmettes and stylized tribal animal and bird motifs.
The pattern and color combinations in each rug are unique and a result of each weaver’s creative interpretation, which is why you’ll never find two Mehraban rugs that look exactly the same.
Typical Sizes Available
Mehraban rugs are mostly available in small to medium sizes and runners in a variety of sizes.
Small rugs measure about 2’ x 2’5” to 2’1” x 3’7” and are perfect for use in the bathroom or to cover any bare floor space.
Medium size rugs range from about 3’3” x 4’8” to 3’4” x 5’1” and can be used in the kitchen or under a coffee table.
Runner rugs are long and narrowing measuring anywhere from 2’7” x 16’4” to 2’2” x 22’5”. These are a great way to color and character to your entrance, a long narrow bare floor space and the staircase.