Herati Carpets – Afghan Patterns on Carpets from Persia and India
When you think of oriental rugs, you will think first and foremost of noble Persian carpets, characterised by unmistakable patterns and designs. The Herati pattern, which originated in Afghanistan, is one of the most wide spread designs currently found on many Persian carpets from various carpet centers in Iran. There are highly diversified categories of Persian carpets which are normally named after the city or region where they were produced. All of these categories are exemplified by different features and qualities. The Herati carpet is not a category of Persian carpets; rather, it is a pattern that appears in many categories, i.e., among Bidjar or Mud (Moud) carpets. An oriental rug with a Herati pattern is called a Herati carpet.
Where does the Herati pattern come from?
As common for oriental rugs, the pattern’s name refers to the first region where it originated. The translation of the word “Herati” approximately means “(coming) from Herat”. Herat is the name of a city that is not located in Persia, i.e., in today’s Iran. It is located in Afghanistan. The Herati pattern is also very popular in India where many carpets are knotted with this special design. Herati carpets from Persia, i.e., today’s Iran, primarily come from Iran’s western regions, such as Bidjar or Tabriz.
How did the Herati pattern get from Afghanistan to Iran?
The name for the Herati pattern, which is frequently called the “fish design” or “Mahi-to-Hos”, actually has a local connection to the Afghan city of Herat where the term has been used for centuries. Alexander the Great founded the city in 328 B.C. as Alexandria Areion. Between the 17th and mid-18th centuries, the Herati pattern increasingly surfaced in Persia’s western areas, due to forced relocation of the population between 1688 and 1747. The fish design more-or-less moved with the people from today’s Afghanistan to today’s Iran, and also established itself there and likewise in India.
What does the Herati carpet look like?
The Herati pattern basically exhibits a typical repetitive design theme. The pattern displays a continuously recurring motif of a rhombus, standing on its tip, with a blossom in its center. A stylized lotus blossom is located at the rhombus’ top and bottom tips, and peonies are situated to the left and right of the tips. A crescent-shaped leaf is located on the respective longitudinal sides of the rhombuses. The leaf tends to be interpreted as a fish. This interpretation helped the fish design to acquire its name. The other term, i.e., “Mahi-to-Hos”, is likewise traceable to the fish interpretation because the translation of “Mahi-to-Hos” means “fish in pond”. In terms of general image, the carpet’s inner field is described as a pond, which is traceable to the term “Mahi-to-Hos”.
The colours of a Herati carpet will gravitate toward the respective carpet category. However, red, blue or cream are the primary base colours. The remaining colours are mainly natural colours. This means that Persian carpets can be combined with nearly every living style ranging from modern, country home and vintage to antique. Oriental rugs combine and harmonize very well with antiques because carpets and antiques mutually present each other in the proper light.
What makes a Herati carpet special?
Any category of a Herati rug is credible as a Persian carpet due to its quality and use of best materials. Persian carpets possess a very robust and made-to-last character despite the use of fine yarns when crafting them.
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