“Few rugs are more decorative and delightful than a lovely Heriz” ~Col. Charles Jacobsen
The best of these Northwestern Persian rugs have a power and beauty that affects us both emotionally and aesthetically. The presence of these rugs can extend far beyond the decorative into the realm of archetypes. The life of these carpets originates from the rug’s center. Historically the center of the rug has always been its source of magic and transcendence. The early carpets were designed to project a cosmology of an infinite universe whose mystery emanates from a central godhead.
The medallion of antique Heriz-Serapi carpets present this concept in the geometric language of village weaving. But what makes the best of these rugs into such profound and moving statements and what is so special about the Heriz carpet being shown in the article? It can be argued that literally thousands of Herizs were woven commercially and that their design format of a medallion with four corners is common and unimaginative. However let us in this world flooded with images and visual static return to the use of open and intelligent viewing. Let us not allow ourselves to trivialize beauty as simply a passé’ fashion. All arts eventually follow the path into degeneracy and lose the spirit, vision and craft of their original inspiration. The corruption on these Northwestern Persia carpets is marked by the use of inferior wools, the worst of synthetic colors, and the use of a cluttered, confused and ultimately lifeless drawing. Dismiss these later weavings as unacceptable for the interior aesthetic of a home.
I return to the featured Serapi-Heriz carpet as an exemplar of what should be present in these rugs to make them significant works of art. Indeed much of what is about to be written is applicable to evaluating any rug. Of course this carpet exhibits everything we expect a great rug to have. Its drawing is articulate and sharp. Combined with the scale of the medallion they create a wonderful interior architecture. The rug’s color is remarkable, nuanced and saturated. It is a testament to the creativity and ability of the dye master. Yet beyond all these features is the salient fact that the rug uses a series of centers. They occur throughout the rug, in the medallion, pendants and borders. It could be said that this is, in fact, the use of detailed design that serves to animate this carpet. Yet look closely at the small flower heads, the connection of designs and you will encounter what gives this rug its life and power.
Indeed this is a carpet that will continue to fascinate and intrigue the viewer for many years. What else can one expect from a work of art?