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Posted on: April 6, 2021

Antique Spotlight – Persian Semnan Carpet

Created almost one hundred years ago, this antique Semnan continues to captivate audiences to this day with its kaleidoscope-styled design. With true antique Semnan carpets becoming harder to find, continue reading this week’s Antique Spotlight to discover more about this example of one of Persian carpetmaking’s more obscure provenances.

Measuring 4’7” x 6’6”, this antique Persian Semnan carpet utilizes a traditional hand-knotted Persian weave. Charming shades of black, blue, gold, pink, and green wool were dyed using organic vegetable dyes, while the shades of cream and brown are natural, undyed shades of yarn. The hand-knotted weave produces a plush and soft pile while still producing a functional foundation. This piece is identified as a Semnan carpet due to the specific motifs utilized in its pattern. Semnan carpets are derived from the weaving traditions of the Mashad region in Northwest Iran, the creators of the Herati design. Unlike other types of Persian rugs that use the Herati motif, Semnan carpets implement this motif as part of the carpet’s pattern, increasing the level of difficulty and craftmanship needed to craft this piece.

Like most traditional Persian carpets, this Antique Semnan design depicts a lavish flower garden. The garden design incorporates a beautiful border, which represents the path surrounding the bagh. The medallion in the center, detailed in orange, pink, blue, black, gold, and cream wool, represents a hoz, where the family would collect their water for cleaning, cooking, and leisure. Within the center of the medallion, butterflies and flowers dance playfully, symbolizing the circle of life in which one needs the other to survive.

Outside of the medallion, bouquets cover much of the cream foreground, detailed in blue, pink, gold, green, and cream wool. Two large Herati motifs located inside their rectangular frames support the symmetrical kaleidoscope design.. Within these frames, latticed vines and flowers contrast with the black background. Outward, four large semi-circles are home to additional flower and butterfly motifs. These semi-circles intertwine the rest of the carpet’s design with its ornate flowered border. The detailing of the carpet’s interior border is immaculate, and with a careful eye, the viewer can see where the artisan overlaps leading lines to create depth and clarity for the design. Surrounding the carpet’s intricate field design, an interweaving main border, detailed with blue, green, black, and cream, incorporates new and additional flowers and butterfly motifs.

Since this antique Semnan measures just under 5′ x 8′, this piece would be perfect for a living room, bedroom, office, or wherever a small area rug is needed. If you found this carpet interesting, and want to check out other antique rugs, check out our Antique Collection on our website, or look at our digital 1stdibs showroom!