Karaja Rug, The Azeri Enchantment

Karaja rug

Karaja rug (Also romanized as Qarājeh, Karadja, or Gharaja) is an area on the north-western part of Heriz, Iran, on the Azerbaijan Republic’s frontier. Heriz is a distinctive rug-weaving center with a world reputation. Still, Karaja rug doesn’t have much in common with typical Herizes except in the quality of raw materials.

Richened by Sabalan Hill’s minerals (chiefly copper), the Talxe-Roud river waters grass and sheep alike. This makes the wool coarse, which answers well to the need of mountain folks for warm and durable rugs. Karajas share this unique property with other Heriz rugs. Still, in other aspects, these rugs have their very own style, technically and aesthetically.

Technical Aspects and The structure of Karaja Rugs

Dissimilar to their neighbors, weavers of Karaja make single-weft rugs. If you see a double-weft Karaja designed rug, that would be Karadagh or Qaradagh, meaning Black Hill in Azerbaijani.

Karaja Knots are Turkish/symmetrical, and the pile is woolen. Moreover, the warp and weft consist of cotton. Completely woolen rugs are also available. Selvages are flat, similar to other Azeri rugs. Knot count reaches the average of 100 knots in inches. All rug sizes are made, but long and narrow rugs are popular.

Dyeing and Painting of Karaja Tug

Red is the dominant color for Karaja grounds. The Sabalan’s nature provides a special kind of madder that brings several shades of red on palettes. Dark blue and cream are also used for grounds, but such rugs are pretty rare.

Rose and brownish shades of red are also used for patterns and light blue and pistachio green.

Designs and Patterns of The Karaja Rug

Medallions are basic motifs for central designs. In fact, they’re the hearts of such designs. So it’s somehow strange to see them serving as a repeating pattern in an all-over design. That is exactly what makes Karaja patterns distinctive, not only in Heriz or Azerbaijan but all over Iran.

Another typical Karaja design is a three-medallioned one, appropriate for narrow rugs, which are very common in the region. Karaja medallions are hexagonal and hooked. This sort of medallion is actually well-known as “Karaja frames.” A bigger one, usually with a different color, is located in the middle. The two smaller ones hang upward and downward.

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