Sarouk vs. Kilim

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You know how when you see something you LOVE, you can’t stop thinking about it? As in, go-to-bed-thinking-about then dream-about and wake-up-thinking-about obsessively thinking about it? Well, that happened this weekend. I found the kilim rug of my dreams. Actually, about four of them.

I have been obsessing over kilims for quite some time; Pinterest and home design blogs are going to be the death of my bank account. They can be extremely expensive, and plus: I haven’t been able to find the color I’m looking for (with pink hues as opposed to the more dark-red varieties).


West Elm

Sarouk 2

Richard Rothstein


We stumbled across an antique store this weekend, and about two minutes after I walked in, I spotted them: an entire rack of differently sized kilims, all with the most perfect coloring. We were blocks from where we parked the car, though (those babies are heavy!!), and  I didn’t want to my husband wouldn’t let me make an impulse decision. We decided to return on Saturday.

I woke up on Saturday morning thinking about rugs. Ridiculous, I’m aware. Anyway, we went back to the store that afternoon, and pulled every single rug off the rack, laid it on the floor, and went back and forth on our “favorite one” for about 25 minutes. And I couldn’t make a decision. Then the store owner showed us a gigantic (it’s about 8’ x 10’) Sarouk. As you can probably guess, this further contributed to my indecisiveness. About 25 minutes later, we decided to leave the store again, empty handed, so that we could think about it.


Sarouk (left) and Kilim (right)

I’ve been doing a little research on kilims and sarouks, but the main difference that I can see (since I am not a professional carpet-collector) is that kilims have more geometric/octagonal patterns and sarouk design is much more traditional, with curvilinear and floral designs. I am sure that I am offending professional carpet-collectors everywhere with that dumbed down explanation, but, like I said, I’m new at this…and very far from a collector. I just think they look pretty.

Here is a little more explanation, according to Wikipedia:

Kilims are flat tapestry-woven carpets or rugs produced from the Balkans to Pakistan. Kilims can be purely decorative or can function as prayer rugs. Modern kilims are popular floor-coverings in Western households.

Ardabil rugs feature motifs that are very similar to Caucasian rugs, but with more motifs and objects woven into the borders. The colors are also lighter. The patterns are predominantly geometric and the most common layouts on Ardabil rugs are medallions, multiple connected diamond-shaped medallions, and all-over octagonal shapes. The most recognized design found on Ardabil rugs is the famous Mahi (Herati) design – a diamond medallion and small fish throughout. Another widely used motif is the elibelinde, a stylized female figure. Some modern weavers have begun to favor bold geometric patterns over the traditional Mahi (Herati) design and have added colors such as turquoise and purple to the more traditional red, pink, ivory, green, and blue.

Sarouk Rug is a type of Persian rug from Markazi Province in Iran.

Sarouk (also Saruk or Sarough) rugs are those woven in the village of Saruk and also the city of Arak, Iran and the surrounding countryside. Sarouk rugs have been produced for much of the last century. The early successes of the Sarouk rug are largely owed to the American market. From the 1910s to 1950s, the “American Sarouk” also known as the “Painted Sarouk” was produced. American customers had an affinity for the Sarouk’s curvilinear and floral designs. What they did not appreciate, however, was the color, so for much of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, rugs exported from Iran would get a dye job to a desirable, deep, raspberry-red color, once they made it to the States.

Sarouk rugs continue to be produced today, using the same methods as during early production – with the exception of the post-production dye job. Known for their exceptional quality and ability to withstand decades of wear, Sarouks continue to be a best seller of the Persian rugs. They are made with a high quality, tough wool using a Persian knot. A tell tale sign of a Sarouk is usually its blue weft threads, salmon or tomato-red color mixed with ivory and blues, and a very traditional, floral style. The finest of the modern Sarouk rugs comes from the small town of Ghiassabad.

What are your thoughts?

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