Herati Rug, The Untold Marvelous Story of Afghanistan

Mahi [fish in pond, Mahi darham (twisted fishes), or Herati] represents various Persian rug patterns. These patterns come from the city of Herat (nowadays in Afghanistan) and have spread westwards across Persia, Anatolia, and Caucasia. It had many interpretations applied to different types of design in these regions. Also, this applies to both rectilinear and curvilinear renderings.
This article gives the history behind the Herati Rug and its unique features that have influenced many other rug styles.

The History of The Herati Rug

Herati serves mainly as a repeating pattern. The general form consists of a flower framed in a diamond with curving leaves parallel to each side. Rug weavers call these curving leaves Mahi, most probably by weavers and merchants.
But, the Herati rug weavers actually included fishes in the ancient predecessors of the general form. Mithraism iconography in the Iranian visual traditions greatly influenced them.

These predecessors show two fishes holding a lotus or embracing a round face, symbolizing the birth of Mithras in water. Painters would take advantage of such a design in books’ illustrations. During the Timurid rule in Herat, the more abstract renderings were quite popular in royal rug designs.

Scholars believe such patterns originated in Qaen and Birjand, Khorasan. Nevertheless, Herati was the capital of Persia under Timurid kings. It makes sense if the western Iranian lands know an eastern pattern as Herati.

The Influence of Herati Pattern

The renaissance of the Persian arts began in Herat. Tabriz and Isfahan. That was the next Iranian capital and was deeply under the Influence of the Herat Library. Great masters had studied there, such as Behzad, who established the first Safavid royal library called the Second School of Tabriz. The royal painters and book illustrators were rug designers of the Safavid royal workshops as well. Accordingly, the style has come directly from the royal library into the best of court rugs.
During the next centuries, the Herati pattern found its way to almost all rug weaving centers of the orient! Nowadays, it is a universal pattern with far too many interpretations.

Some Eye-catching Examples of Herati Patterns

A Kerman’ Herati’ Design rug. Southeast Persia, late 17th century. 8ft 3 in x 5ft (251 cm x 151 cm). This Herati rug sold in Oriental Rugs and Carpets, 19 April 2016 at Christie’s in London, selling for £962,500.

Some Eye-catching Examples of Herati Patterns
Herati Rug Sample

‘Herati’ Design: The Bacri-Clark Kerman Sickle-Leaf Throne Kerman rug, South Persia, the second half of the sixteenth century, 1.95m x 2.65m (6ft 5in x 8ft 8in). Wool piles on a cotton and silk foundation. Sotheby’s New York, 5 June 2013, lot 12. Estimate $5,000,000-$7,000,000, sold for $33,765,000

Herati rug
Herati Rug Sample

This one is an Antique Persian Tabriz Rug. Origin: Persia, Circa: substantial borders and guard-bands surround late 19th century, 1880. This antique Persian Tabriz rug created by the master weaver Haji Jalili features an all-over arabesque. It was inspired by Herati flowers woven in oatmeal, camel, and copper-brown with dark sepia accents.
The main border of this antique Persian rug features a reciprocating Herati pattern. It contains segmented flowers and interlocking leaves. It also has guard bands that use a variant of Shah Abbas-style palmette and cloud-band border.

Herati rug
Herati Rug Sample

This is an Antique Senneh Kilim, Origin: Persia, Circa: Turn of the 20th Century, takes traditional flat-weave patterns to great heights. This Persian kilim features vibrant colors, intricate small-scale patterns, and unique composition details.

These are intrinsic to the highly recognizable village style of Senneh, also called Sanandaj, and the marvelous blending of discrete colors, patterns, and designs add to this Senneh Kilim’s significance.

The composition favors a formal style with a colorful Herati motif medallion, detailed guard bands, vine-filled borders, and the inset medallion composition is so familiar to Senneh. It incorporates polychrome Herati motifs surrounded by a spectacular lozenge-shaped field. And, this is dotted with bronze botehs that blend into the petal-strewn ground. This iconic pairing is juxtaposed against superb spandrels. They display many strap-work stripes, each with unique colors and decorations.

Herati Rug Sample

Antique Persian Bijar Rug, Origin: Persia, Circa: Late 19th Century – A delicately rendered medallion. It is also enhanced with soft green floats within a scintillating Herati mesh. Plus, it contains a yet larger hexagonal medallion in red on this antique rug.

The remainder of the field consists of blue corner pieces filled with a Herati mesh on blue.
The central medallion is adapted to produce the main border design with an inversion of color. But simpler vine-scroll minor borders enclose the main one. The design of the borders and their color provide a nice contrast to the Herati ornament that dominates so much of the field.

Herati rug
Herati Rug Sample

Small Tribal Antique Scatter Size Persian Bakshaish Rug, Country of Origin: Persia, Circa date: 1900. Plus, it’s has a sophisticated style. This antique Persian village rug exhibits the best features of Bakshaish rugs. The heavily patterned lozenge medallion is filled with rectilinear Herati motifs. Star-like palmettes and polychromatic Fish Design leaves are outlined and skillfully arranged around a host of small-scale figures.

Terra-cotta spandrels embrace the posh ivory medallion. They also display an excellent continuation of the all-over pattern. It takes on a strong masculine appearance thanks to the earthy clay-tone ground. Narrow strapwork borders are featuring monochrome stripes. They also have zigzagging running-water figures and floral vines around the regal field. The carefully composed borders provide an understated conclusion. One that allows the beauty of the detail-rich Herati pattern to become the star of this classic antique rug.

Herati rug
Herati Rug Sample

Antique Persian Room Size Sultanabad Rug, Country Of Origin: Persia, Circa Date: 19th Century – Sophisticated antique Persian rug. It features an impressive all-over Herati pattern surrounded by delicate guard bands. And with wide main borders decorated with radiant medallions and a variety of complex floral bouquets. The fantastic main borders feature clear burnt sienna details set over a soft Persian blue background. While the field, also, is full of detailed Mahi patterns arranged in a dense all-over composition.

The Herati motif features polychromatic leaves with plume-like contours, flame-like palmettes, and colored vine scrolls. The carefully colored motifs and saturated borders contrast the clear ivory field. It enhances the floral motifs and Herati pattern, a predominant design in the Persian Sultanabad region.

How did you like Herati rugs? Then visit our Louisville, KY Rug Store or website now. There you can get to know the enchanting Herati rugs more in detail. And with our on-approval policy, you can try these rugs in your room and make the final decision there comfortably. FREE OF CHARGE. Our team will gladly bring the rugs to your home and place them in your room.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top