The Makers Series: Heriz Carpets

Heriz carpets and rugs are a style of Persian carpet emanating from the town of Heris and its surrounding villages. With a population of just over 10,000, Heris is situated in the province of East Azerbaijan, in the far northwest of modern Iran. 

It is thought that the tradition of carpet weaving in the region combines the skills of the nomadic Azerbaijani Shahsevan people who settled in the area, with the designs of enterprising merchants from nearby Tabriz, seeking to increase production to meet the demands of Western fashion.

Heriz carpets have earned a reputation for their hard-wearing durability with many rugs handed down from generation to generation. The origin of this durability is believed to be the town’s location on the slopes of Mount Salaban.

Mount Salaban sits atop a major deposit of copper, and it is thought that traces of the metal in the local sheep’s drinking water adds a resilience to the wool, which is not replicated in other rug producing regions.

Heriz CarpetAs a rule, Heriz carpet designs can be identified by their bold pattern with the field centring on a large medallion. They also favour strong geometric designs with broken contours, in contrast to the flowing curves and smooth lines synonymous with Tabriz carpets.

Heriz weavings tend to be of grand scale, ideal of large rooms and open spaces, and are traditionally finished with a vine and rosette border. Many design elements are woven from memory and have been handed down through generations of master weavers.

The demand in Europe and North America for antique Heriz carpets grew so rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that dealers were forced to create subcategories to delineate regional variations in design. 

Hence carpets produced in nearby Sarab, which usually favour light, bright designs, are classified as Serapi, while the village of Gorevan gave rise to its own style of darker designs. Other local centres of production include Afshar, Bakshāyesh and Mehrabān.

Heriz CarpetIdeal for large spaces, Heriz works are common in many of the grandest houses and public buildings of the West. Fine examples can be seen at the White House and adorning the Palaces of the British Royal collection.

Click here to view examples of Heriz rugs and carpets currently available from BADA members.