Sanandaj Rug

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Sanandaj Rug
Design of Sanandaj Rug (Rugman)
General information
NameSanandaj Rug
Original nameقالی سنندج
Alternative name(s)Sanandaj Carpet (Senneh Rug)
Origin Iran: Kurdistan
Technical information
Common designsHerati, Afshan, Medallion, Boteh, Tree
Common colorsCrismson, Navy Blue, Blue, Cream, Yellow, Green, Brown, Ivory
Dyeing methodNatural, Synthetic
Pile materialWool
Foundation materialCotton, Wool, Silk
Knot typeSymmetrical (Turkish)

Sanandaj rugs originate from Sanandaj, located in western Iran, is the capital city of the State of Kurdestan. Formerly called Senneh, it is world renowned for producing the finest quality Kurdish tribal wool rugs. Sanandaj has a long and illustrious history of weaving wool rugs which can be traced back into at least the classical period and perhaps much farther back than that. The older Sanandaj rugs are extremely valuable and durable, maintaining their luster and appearance for centuries. Interestingly enough, local artisans weave Sanandaj rugs using Turkish knots, in spite of the fact that the asymmetrical knot which is also known as the Persian knot or Senneh knot, was actually named after this city.


Senna, also spelled Senneh and known today as Sanandaj, is the capital city of the Kurdistan Province located in northwestern Iran. As a village in the early eighteenth century, Senna was of strategic value for the army. People settled near the village and it grew into the size of a city. Daj, which means "fortress" in Farsi, was appended to Senna (to become Sanandaj) because the village was so strongly guarded. Sanandaj is almost entirely populated by Kurds and is the largest city in the Kurdistan region. Senna rugs are woven by Kurds who can trace their weaving tradition back for centuries. Early rugs and carpets woven in Sanandaj are called Senna in the trade. Senna rugs are known in the antique market from the early nineteenth century. They are the finest rugs made by Kurd weavers throughout the Kurdistan region and are recognized worldwide as fine Persian woven artwork. Senna pile rug designs are semigeometric with allover, medallion, or Mihrab (prayer arch) styles. The rugs are traditional, using Boteh (paisley), the Gul (flower) known as Hasht gul (eight-flower bouquet), Herati (fish), Minakhani (rosette-linked trellis), Shrub, and medallion with an Open Field. Herati motifs are commonly rendered in the field. Senna flatwoven mum rugs are finely made and have either an allover or medallion style. Many designs used in the pile rugs also appear in the kilims, with the addition of the Mihrab (prayer arch) and Moharamat (stripes) styles. At times, the Moharamat design is woven above the prayer arch. The rugs have a cotton or silk foundation and a very short wool pile. The Turkish (symmetric) knot is always employed. Senna kilims are made with high-quality silk, cotton, or wool warps; these kilims are highly esteemed by collectors and hold an important place in the antique market. The silk warp for both the pile and flatwoven rugs is usually divided into several color groups, called haftrang (seven-color threads), which form separated alternating color arrangements. Senna pile and kilim rugs are usually woven with reds, dark blue, ivory, gold, or camel for the field. These colors are interchangeable for the border. In addition, shades of blue, brown, green, gray, cinnamon, and black are used for the motifs, minor borders, design outlines, and, rarely, for the background. The formats range from pillows to gallery-size carpets approximately sixteen by eight feet. Occasionally, cotton-foundation room-size carpets up to eighteen feet by twelve feet appear in the antique market. Cotton-foundation runners up to twenty-two feet in length are also found in the trade. Senna horse covers are made in pile and flatwoven styles. They are famous and in demand by collectors in the antique market. Senna rugs are generally woven from very good to very fine in grade quality. After World War II, Sennas tend to be more commercial, with very good quality weaves and a higher pile. Also, weavers began to incorporate other designs, coloration, and sizes into weavings that were marketed as Sanandaj rugs and carpets.