Design of Kermanshah Rug (Rugman)
|Original name||قالی کرمانشاه|
|Alternative name(s)||Kermanshah Carpet|
|Common designs||Geometric, Medallion, Herati|
|Common colors||Red, Brown, Camel|
|Dyeing method||Natural, Synthetic|
|Knot type||Symmetrical (Turkish), Asymmetrical (Persin)|
Kurdish carpets are woven throughout western Iran, in and around the rugged mountainous region of Kurdistan. The Kurds derive from the ancient nomadic peoples that roamed the area thousands of years ago. They live a semi-nomadic life, either in villages or in moving tribes away from the cities, where they can still carry out their old traditions and live as they did thousands of years ago. A few of the Kurdish tribes of the western regions include the Herki, Senjabi, Gurani, Jaffid, and Kalhors. A few major Kurdish rug-producing centers are Senneh, Bidjar, and the district of Khamseh. Some other Kurdish villages and districts that produce rugs are Borchelu, Goltogh, Khoi, Koliai, Lylyan, Mousel, Nanadj, Songhore, Touserkan, and Zagheh. As you can see, the Kurds are well established, and historic semi-nomadic and/or nomadic peoples of Iran who date back thousands of years. Many other major rug producing centers of Iran, such as Hamadan, Lorestan, or even Arak show obvious traces of Kurdish influence. Sometimes they incorporate the style and techniques of the Turkish people of Iran, who are also very widespread. The Kurds are a very peaceful and gentle group who prefer their simple nomadic lives to the complexities and frustrations of the modern technological world.
Kermanshah, a city in the Kermanshah Province of western Iran, was built on the Zagros Mountain range during the Sasanian Empire in the fourth century CE. It was strategically located near the border with Babylonia and faced numerous attacks by tribes and armies over the centuries. The Arabs and the Ottoman Empire were notable occupiers of the city on several occasions. Kermanshah is in the Kurdistan region and has a majority Iranian Kurd population. The city is a center of trade for many towns and villages in the Kermanshah Province. The surrounding Kermanshah area is famous for the finest wool in Iran, as it benefits from the climate near the Zagros Mountains. Notably, Kermanshah wool was purchased by Kashan city weavers for their high-quality carpets made during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The rugs brought to and sold in the Kermanshah markets are tribal in style and woven mostly by the Kolyai tribe. Kolyai is the name of a Kurdish subtribe living across the Hamadan and Kermanshah Provinces of western Iran. Most Kolyai rugs are marketed and sold in the trade as Kurdish rugs. These rugs are categorized in the Iran market as a type of mosuL Rugs and can be found in the Hamadan, Kermanshah, and Tehran bazaars. Kolyai rugs are known in the old rug market from the eighteenth century.
In the antique market, especially in the United States, the Kermanshah name has been interchangeable with Kerman. Some American dealers originally did this for better marketing purposes. This has caused confusion, since the actual province of Kerman in southern Iran has a completely different weaving texture, coloration, and design style than the Kermanshah Province weavings. Dealers have been correcting this mistake and use the origin names of Kerman or Ravar Kerman.
Kolyai rugs have a wool or cotton foundation and a wool pile. The weavers use the Turkish (symmetric) knot. Kolyai designs are nomadic geometric patterns in either an allover or medallion style. The motifs are tribal, with flower heads, large palmettes, Star motifs, lozenge-shaped designs surrounded by Hook motifs, animals, birds, and other primitive elements. The Minakhani (rosette-linked trellis) pattern also often appears on early Kolyai carpets.
The coloration of Kolyai rugs has dark blue or reds for the background. In addition to these colors, blues, browns, ivory camel, greens, and black are used in the borders, design elements, and outlines.
Sizes made by Kolyai weavers range from three feet to five feet in width by six feet to nine feet in length. Small bags, tribal items, runners, and large gallery sizes up to approximately twenty-two feet by eight feet are also made. Kolyai weavings generally are from medium to good in grade quality. Early Kolyai rugs that measure approximately four feet by eight feet can have a market value up to S10000.
- Moheban, 2015, 306-307
- Abraham Levi Moheban. 2015. The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets: Twenty-Five Centuries of Weaving. NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press.