Bashir Carpets

Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"

Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"

Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"
Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"
Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"
Serapi - Circa 1920: 11'4" x 9'8"

What's the price?
NameSerapi - Circa 1920
Size in feet 11'4" x 9'8"
Size in meters3.45 x 2.95
Pile (Fiber & Yarns Used)100% pure lamb's wool
Type of fabricationGenuinely hand-knotted rug with Senneh knots
Country Made InPersian
Design OriginTribal
ConditionPre-owned, in good condition. One of a kind.
Carpet IDSP215241018
Sizes Are Approximate. Photos Are Representative And Not Necessarily Exact For Color
New Rugs Are Of The Highest Quality In Its Category And Are Handpicked Overseas By The Bashir Family
A Brief History of Serapi Carpets

Traditional Serapi Carpet DesignFor centuries, the weavers in villages and small towns of northwestern Iran have created some of the world's most cherished rugs. The Serapi rug is no exception. Serapis are known for being timeless due to their simple design and limited color palette that enables them to meld quite well into almost any interior room. Serapis, also known as Saraba, Serabia or Siraba, are hand-knotted in Iran and usually showcase a center medallion as its outstanding feature among geometric designs. Their background are surrounded by a few large motifs. They are made up of wool and constructed of a cotton warp and cotton weft. This type of carpet comes in a variety of knots but commonly they are Ghiordes knots or Senneh knots.

The origin of the Serapi name is quite contested. According to some rug dealers, the term "Serapi" is western born as there is no city, village, rural area or tribe by that exact name in Iran. In 1876, about the time these rugs were coming on the English European market, the Prince of Wales made a trip to India on the Euphrates-class troopship knows as the H.M.S. Serapis. It was commissioned for the transport of English troops to and from India. The similarity of the names led to the form "Serapi" for the rugs. However, some other scholars believe "Serapi" is a westernized version of a north western Persian village by the Caspian Sea known as: Sarab.

Sarab is a city in the capital of Sarab County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran which is famous for its rugs. However, this city is notorious for producing long and narrow carpets and not the room sized ones that one is used to seeing in Serapis. Another group of scholars claim that "Serapi" is a term that started to be used in order to distinguish between the older, tribal and more open designed Heriz carpets at the time from the "newer" more structured examples. They believe that Serapis are therefore derived from the Heriz family of rugs and not the reverse.

Nowadays, newly hand-knotted rugs made in the district of Heriz are not as similar as they use to be to Serapis so these new pieces are generally just called Heriz carpets. New Heriz models are more intricate, complex and detailed in design than Serapis although they follow similar geometric designs. In some cases, these Herizes don't even contain the center medallion. Every new generation of weavers and designers have added a few more motifs to the older designs. Often Serapis are called Herizes which, as mentioned, is the name of a similar type of Persian carpet made in the district of Heriz in Iran. Both have light and bright color schemes with simple, geometric designs and a coarse weave despite the fact that antique Serapis are known for being less coarser. Sometimes a client thinks he is the owner of a Heriz only later to find out that he has in fact owned a Serapi for many years.

An easy way to tell them apart would be to turn over the carpet and carefully examine its backside. At the the back of a Serapi carpet, one will notice that the warps and the rows of knots along them are firmly pressed down so that the warp threads don't show up and down the back. In a Heriz weave, the knots are not pressed down and are offset so that the warp is noticeable along the back. Another way to confirm if a carpet is a Heriz or a Serapi would be to run your hand side to side across its back. A bumpy feel would confirm that it is a Heriz. A smoother feel, would confirm that you are caressing a rare and valuable Serapi carpet. Authentic Serapi carpets were mostly produced up until the 1920's. They are therefore generally older and difficult to encounter as well as being more tribal and artistic. For these reasons, they traditionally cost more than their Heriz counterpart but of course there can be exceptions. To learn more about iranian rugs, please visit our Persian Rugs section.

Sources and inspiration: Bérinstain, Valérie, et al. L'art du tapis dans le monde (The art of carpets in the world). Paris: Mengès, 1996. Print.; Jerrehian Jr., Aram K.A. Oriental Rug Primer. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1980. Print.; Herbert, Janice Summers. Oriental Rugs, New York: Macmillan, 1982. Print.; Hackmack, Adolf. Chinese Carpets and Rugs, Rutland and Tokyo: Tuttle, 1980. Print. ; De Moubray, Amicia, and David Black. Carpets for the home, London: Laurence King Publishing, 1999. Print.; Jacobsen, Charles. Oriental Rugs A Complete Guide, Rutland and Tokyo: Tuttle, 1962. Print.; Bashir, S. (n.d.). Personal interview.; Web site sources and dates of consultation vary (to be confirmed). Without prejudice to official usage.

About Antique Rugs

"Antique" refers to carpets at least 100 years old, whereas rugs between 50 and 99 years of age are classified as "semi-antique".

Typically crafted with hand-spun wool and eco-friendly organic dyes, old carpets have a more luminous surface, creating an illusion of depth. Newer pieces are rarely able to capture the patina and character of an antique, which can add warmth to even the most pristine and minimalist spaces.

Oriental & Persian carpet designs began to change at the turn of the 20th century, as Western influence expanded across the Middle East. The authenticity of the unique designs produced by local cultures declined with the introduction of larger-scale production that aimed to accommodate foreign tastes. Preserving the traditional techniques involved in the craft also became more challenging following the effects of the Industrial Revolution.

Tips for Collectors
  • Antique rugs are made of wool, cotton and silk. New rugs can be made from a variety of fibers, both natural and synthetic, including wool, cotton and silk, but also silk blends, faux silk (often called "Art Silk" or "artificial silk"), mercerized cotton and olefin.

  • If a rug has signs of wear but still looks vibrant, this is an indication that it is a genuine antique.

  • For insurance purposes, you should always obtain a certificate of authenticity from the dealer. This document should include the size, origin, age, style, materials, knot density, condition and estimated retail value of the carpet.

  • An authentic antique will not have a brand name associated with it, nor will it be hand-tufted.

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