Arak, known as Sultan Abad and Iraq of Iran in the old days, is
located at a 285 kilometer distance west from Tehran. It was founded
in the 19th century AD on the order of Fat'hali Shah of the Qajar
period. Although it doesn't have a long tradition of carpetweaving-
less than two centuries- but it has been one of the most important
centers of carpet export for more than a century. In 1883 a foreign
company from Manchester opened offices in Sultan- 'Abad and placed
an order for the weaving of some carpets with their desired colors
and designs to the carpet- weaving workshops of Arak and it outskirts.
That is why some designs known as "American Sarough" Babe
(for) America "substituted the traditional designs of the region.
The best carpets of Arak region areSaroughcarpets,
which were at first woven in a village with the same name in the
north of Arak, but nowadays the best quality carpets of the region
are called Sarough. One of the most common designs of Sarough carpets
is Herati, but nowadays other patterns and motifs are also used
in Sarough carpets.
Some of theSarough carpets have a special red color known as Doughi-red.
This color is gained by dipping madder-red dyed wool in dough [yogurt
solved in water]. All the American Saroughs have doughi-red ground
color. Sarough carpets are double-wefted, knotted in Persian or
asymmetrical knots, with ridged-back construction, and mostly in
two sizes: zaronim and small rug.
Other carpetweaving centers in Arak region are: Farahan (Sarough
is one of its main villages), Mahallat, Moshk-Abad, Ghiyas- Abad,
Lilian, Vees (one of the villages in Khonsar) and Saraband. The
typical classic Farahan carpet or in other words the Farahan design
(i.e. the same Herati design), because these two names are always
together) was appreciated by European tradesmen in late 19th century.
The characteristic feature of Farahan carpets, in addition to their
design, is their madder- red (brownish red) color which is used
as the dominant color of the field which is blue or cream. In addition
to Herati design, plain ground geometriccorner-medallion design
and a kind of American Sarough, botteh (Paisley) and Mina khani,
designs are also used in Farahan carpets. Farahan carpets have cotton
warps and wefts, asymmetrical knots, and they are mostly double-
Lilian is an Armenian settled village in Kamareh of Arak that mostly
weaves single-wefted, medium weave carpets, that is why they are
categorized as, Hamedan carpets, but in coloring and designing they
look like Sarough carpets, and Persian or asymmetrical knots are
used in them as well. In addition to Herati and American Sarough
design, Lilian weaves a special design of its own which consists
of a spider- like medallion with a concealed cross in the middle,
and bunches of flowers, often carried out on a pinkish light red
field. The weft threads in Lilian of Lilian carpets are pink, a
good clue to identify them easily.
Saraband is located in Bouroujerd region between the mountains of
Arak and Bouroujerd. It is more than a century that the weavers
of this region weave rugs and carpets with over all paisley motif.
Sometimes a lozenge- shape medallion also decorates these rugs.
Red is the most common ground color in Saraband carpets, but sometimes
blue and cream are also seen in them. The most characteristic feature
in Saraband carpets is their border color which is a kind of whitish-cream
(known as Shekari border). Saraband carpets are usually woven with
Turkish or symmetrical knots and sometimes with Persian or asymmetrical
ones, and in different sizes.
The high quality Saraband carpets are called
"Mir Saraband "always knotted with Persian or asymmetrical
knots, and known as "Sarough Mir" also. "Mir Saraband"
carpets are characterized with their very wide main. Shekari border
flanked by many narrow stripes.