Sarouk Rug

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Sarouk Rug
Design of Sarouk Rug (Rugman)
General information
NameSarouk Rug
Original nameقالی ساروق
Alternative name(s)Sarouk Carpet
Origin Iran: Markazi
Technical information
Common designsMedallion, Afshan, Boteh, Herati, Vase
Common colorsRed, Blue, Beige, Copper, Beige
Dyeing methodNatural, Synthetic
Pile materialWool
Foundation materialCotton
Knot typeAsymmetrical (Persian)

Sarough rugs originate from Sarough, also known as Sarouk and Saruq, located in the Province of Markasi in central Iran. Sarough is a very important village for area rug weaving. Their output is most impressive in both quality and number. Antique Sarough rugs produced prior to 1900 is considered to be a masterpiece. Due to the extraordinary quality of craftsmanship and material, it is sought after by museums and private collectors alike. Talented weavers create Sarough rugs in both village and workshop settings using the Persian knot, although the Turkish knot is seen in antique Saroughs.


Sarouk is a village located in the Arak (Markazi) Province of west central Iran. Sarouk is a famous carpet name in the world market. The weavings of Sarouk and its many surrounding villages are among the most in-demand in both the domestic and overseas markets.
Sarouk carpets are divided into several periods. The first Sarouks were woven from the 1870s to the 1910s and are known as Farahan Sarouk or Antique Sarouk. These carpets were actively produced for the world markets and are still sought after in the antique trade and at auction galleries for use as floor coverings. Some smaller Antique Sarouk weavings are in demand by collectors. The designs from this period are semifloral or semigeometric, usually displaying a center medallion and medallion sections in the field corners. A small percentage of allover styles were also made. Palmette, flower head, and leaf-and-vine motifs appear in the background and borders. The Lattice pattern was occasionally woven for allover designs. Many attractive Prayer Rugs were also woven. The field colors were mostly brick-red or coral-red, with some woven in dark blue or ivory. These colors were interchangeable for the border and background. Antique Sarouks have a cotton foundation and a wool pile. The Persian (asymmetric) knot is employed. The carpets were made from good to very fine in grade quality, and are noticeably tightly woven and durable. Antique Sarouk formats range from small mats to large oversize carpets.
The second period of Sarouks encompasses weavings that date from the 1920s to the 1970s. These products were made especially for the American market and are called "American Sarouk." During this period, Sarouk designs and colors were popular in America and were mass-produced in the Sarouk area in sizes standard for that market, mostly twelve feet by nine feet. Some American carpet companies installed their own representatives in Sarouk for long periods of time to supervise the weaving production. The designs of the American Sarouk were semigeometric and generally had an allover pattern. The motifs included flowers, vases, branches, leaves, and vines mainly arranged to face the center of the carpet.
The American Sarouks were usually woven with a light brick-red color in the field known as ronass in Farsi. To better suit the American market, however, carpet importers would dye the backgrounds a deep red to match the decorative furnishings of the period. This process was done in a New York City washing facility, and the carpets came to be known as "Painted" American Sarouks. The borders were mainly dark blue, but some rugs with flower designs in the borders were also dyed. After World War II, the painted American Sarouks were very popular in the European rug market, especially in Germany. But because deep red was not suitable for European patrons, carpet dealers would chemically wash the carpets to remove the dark red dye. This wash process brought out a beautiful soft reddish gold or peach coloration in the background, and this carpet type is called a "Stripped" Sarouk in the market. The color was unusual for an Oriental carpet background and therefore there was great demand for the unique rugs in Germany. Many dealers took advantage of the great quantity of Sarouks in America and stripped them of their color for foreign export. Today stripped Sarouks continue to be exported to the European antique market. These carpets were made in grade qualities of good to fine.
After World War II, some Sarouk weavers, under the supervision of American carpet importers, chose to use a dusty-pink that was popular in the overseas market as a background color. To achieve this muted shade, they would soak red-dyed wool in doughi (buttermilk) for several days. The rugs are known as Doughi Carpets.
American Sarouk rug dimensions were generally twelve feet by nine feet, but a number of rugs were woven in formats ranging from small mats to large oversizes. Long and narrow rugs, runners, gallery sizes, and square formats were also custom-made and are available in the old carpet market. American Sarouk carpets have a cotton foundation and a wool pile tied in the Persian (asymmetric) knot.
The third period of Sarouks dates from after World War II and these are categorized as two types: "European" Sarouk and Mir Sarouk. Both types were widely produced in the Sarouk and Arak regions. European Sarouks were semigeometric, with either a medallion or an allover pattern. The designs have Shah Abbas influences with palmettes, leaves, and vines. The rugs were mainly produced for the European and domestic markets and were woven in grade qualities of very good to fine. The background colors of ivory, reds, and dark blues were interchangeable for the border. The sizes range from small room dimensions to approximately eighteen feet by twelve feet. The Mir Sarouks were made with the Seraband allover design using a variety of background colors. Mir Sarouks were predominantly made for foreign export.
Many villages surrounding Sarouk emulated the designs with similar coloration in order to sell them as Sarouk carpets. It should be noted that some villages from this region also used the Turkish (symmetric) knot for their weavings. Most of these weavings were brought to the city of Sultanabad (today Arak) for final preparation and marketing purposes. The surrounding villages and towns contributed greatly to the mass production of Sarouk carpets.[1]

See also

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  1. Moheban, 2015, 495-497


  1. Abraham Levi Moheban. 2015. The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets: Twenty-Five Centuries of Weaving. NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press.