RUG OF THE MONTH
All previous Rugs of the Month that have been showcased have been new rugs made in production centers in the Orient. This rare beauty is one of the many rugs you can find on consignment at Mousaian Oriental Rugs, which is not only a one-of-a-kind, but also a true antique as it is well over 100 years old. This Antique Tabriz dates back to the 1890s and is still in very good condition. This rug was woven in Tabriz, a provincial capital city in Northwest Iran, which has been a stronghold of rug weavers since the 16th century. This rug features some of the traditional characteristics of a Tabriz rug, but is quite unique overall. The paler colors and open field is unusual in Tabriz rugs; and although many Tabriz rugs will feature a central medallion, rarely will it cover the majority of the field. One particularly endearing characteristic of this rug is the color change noted through the middle of the field. This "abrash", as it is called, is a result of hand-dyeing the wool in different batches. The hand-dyeing process may produce wool of various shades and the abrash is created when the wool batches are switched. This look is often unintentional in antique rugs, but is reproduced today in many machine-made or hand-made designs. One reason this rug may have lasted so long in such good condition is due to the origin of the rug. Tabriz is know to have some of the most durable wool in the Middle East. The weather in NW Iran is harsher and colder than in most areas. The sheep here develop very hardy coats as a result. This makes for a very strong wool!
Many Oriental rug manufacturers continue to make rugs in the traditional Tabriz design. Most often, you will find a Tabriz rug with a central medallion surrounded by stylized flowers in the field. Lotus blooms can often be found in the border, reminiscent of the Chinese influence in NW Iran in the 15th and 16th Centuries. The colors of Tabriz rugs tend to be very traditional: rust, terra-cotta, forest green. The rugs tend to be very detailed in the field and in the borders and you can find them in any variety of knot-count qualities. The pictures below show some Indo-Tabriz (Tabriz design made in India) and Sino-Tabriz (Tabriz design made in China) rugs, which are popular today.