Sultanabad Ditrict, Arak Province , N.W. Iran
The Sarouk ( Saruk ) carpet is, for many , exactly what an oriental rug should be:
thick of pile , red of tone , with a vaguely exotic central or repeating pattern of
floral sprays . It is something that asserts value and tradition.From about 1920
to 1960 the Sarouk carpet maintained a position high in the carpet hierarchy in
The Arak district was not a major producer of carpets in the 19th century , weaving
Ferahans in rug ( 4x6 ) size and Kalay format carpets, 6 x 12 and up for the domestic market .In the later part of the century , European firms began weaving
large pattern , coarse , big scale carpets for export.There was an additional small
production of Ferahan Sarouk carpets with finer , firmer texture in medallion
designs. This group is transitional to the Sarouk carpet .
Nouveaux riche Americans after WWI wanted something different from , and
more ostentatious and luxurious than the coarser Mahal carpets from Sultanabad.
The import – export firms of New York created the Sarouk which became an instant
and enduring hit. Most of Arak production shifted to the more profitable Sarouk
weave : thick pile in asymmetric ( Persian ) knots, good quality wool, all cotton
foundation , with patterns of detached floral motives on red grounds . The red
may vary from deep cranberry to light rust . For the 1920’s , a higher quality
variant , the Mohajeran , was woven , mostly on rich deep indigo fields displaying
vigourous, large detached quasi – floral devices . These elements are more
spaciously arrayed , with more open ground than the corresponding designs on
red Sarouks . By the 1930’s , however , this type had become simply a blue ground
Sarouk , otherwise identical to the red type.A very few Sarouks of this style were
woven employing ivory grounds .
Most Sarouks of this classic type are in the 9`x12` format , but examples , probably
custom , are known up to 20`x30` .Scatter sizes , especially 3`x5` ,but also 4`x6` ,
2`x3` , 2`x4` , and other odd sizes are available.Rarely found are older 6`x9` ,
7`x10` , 8`x10` sizes .
Sarouk weavers work in their homes , with usually two looms , not in large factories . This is the general practice in Arak regardless of the type of rug . Scale paper
cartoons were unknown in the 19th century in Arak and only were taken up by
the artisans in the early 20th century . Irregularities which never would have been
permitted in Tabriz , Kashan or Kerman carpets , add to the charms of what ,
on first sight , seem to be virtually identical Sarouks .
Because of the thick , high quality pile , Sarouk carpets are rarely found worn out.
Perfect condition examples , nearly a century old , are still available . Odd sizes
Are priced at a premium and few runners can be found .The overpowering
influence of the Sarouk pattern stretched all across Iran , in rugs from centers
as diverse as Kerman and Lilian , Dargazin and Kashan , from the 1920’s through
the 1950’s .Virtually any size , colour and format can be found to augment a
Sarouk – centered carpet scheme .
Probably no carpet ( type ) has been so popular , so successful for so long .
It’s success has even moved to Europe where originally it was dismissed as too
American, not Persian enough . The German market from the 1960’s and the
Italians starting in early 1980’s ,started taking them from America in quantity .
Even in Iran , they have become an exotic , expensive re – import .