Antique Kerman rugs are named after the province of Kerman in Southeast Iran. Its capital of the same name has been a center of rug production for several centuries and before that was already famous for fine textiles, especially cashmere shawls.
Kerman rugs became very popular in the west beginning in the 1940s, and were produced in large volume and variety. The quality of the weave and material remained excellent, but the drawing and color harmony lost something in the mass production, with either highly simplified or on the contrary overly intricate designs. One popular style adopted plain fields in ivory or other colors with a central medallion. Another type adopted a more ornate style with intricate floral motifs, in some cases letting them spill over between the field and the borders, in effect blurring the distinction between the border and the field. Indeed some designs did away with borders completely. Greater use was also made of some colors, such as green or blue, although generally speaking the colors remained very characteristic, with ivory typically used as background, and a combination of light blue, pink, and to a lesser extent green used for flowers and leaves (example).
Kerman carpets are recognized by their dense and elaborate leaves and floral patterns typically arranged around a circular medallion. The rich floral designs are usually rendered in pretty light earth tones with the exception of a characteristic pink-red derived from cochineal. The borders are often broad and do not use any one particular motif, but typically repeat the floral pattern in the field. The weave ranges from fine to very fine.
Please see our handpicked selection of Persian Kerman rugs at our Oriental rug store online.
The following is a short guide on Kerman rugs. Please contact us if you wish to sell your Kerman rug.
Kerman rugs have been mass-produced beginning in the 1940s for the western markets using simplified or quite the opposite very ornate designs with more or less strong colors (see section above). These commercial styles, like the commercial Sarouk, have somewhat gone out of fashion and therefore do not earn the same prices they used to, more or less a couple of thousands for a room size carpet depending on the condition and the colors. However, antique Kerman rugs, with more subtle and delicate drawing and softer colors are still very desirable and can earn several thousands if in good condition.
Lavar (or Ravar) refers to a town in the province of Kerman where master weavers migrated after the capital was attacked. They are distinguished by delicate, balanced, yet highly intricate, drawing, and soft mellow color palette. However, nowadays the designation Lavar or Ravar is given more or less liberally to high quality fine antique Kerman rugs.