Haji Jalili Style Tabriz Carpets.

Haji Jalili Style Tabriz carpets.

The most notable and characteristic high quality Tabriz carpets of the late 19th century- early 20th century are those usually ascribed to the Haji-Jalili workshop. Unlike Kerman carpets which are often signed by the master weavers, Tabriz work is usually anonymous, and it is better to consider Hajji Jalli as a prevalent style rather than an attribution. Tabriz weaving revived in the later 1870’s and this carpet type appeared almost at once, fully developed, remaining popular until WWI.

Most of these carpets are woolen pile on cotton foundations in fine and regular Turkish (symmetric) knots. The wool is locally sourced from around Maku and is the best of any Tabriz carpet. The natural dyes include madder red that mellows to deep rust. The pile is dense, erect and short, with a tough luster. The carpets handle well and lack the stiffness of later Tabriz pieces. A few rare carpets employ cotton for design details.

A few Haji Jalili pieces are in silk pile, but it is unclear if these emanate from the same source. Most rugs are large, even exceeding 20’x30’,- scatters are few and runners virtually non-existent.

Unlike Kerman rugs, Tabriz is not noted for design families and the patterns tend to follow mainline Persian layouts; medallions, with matching corners on open fields, layered medallions and corners on decorated fields in which all major elements employ related patterns; overall palmettes and vines; garden/panel field divisions; adaptations of known Persian classical carpets.

Haji Jalili and later Tabriz carpets are very precisely drawn and amusing deviations from the cartoons are unheard of. Tabriz has always been a commercial and industrial center, and Haji Jalili carpets are a commercial art from at a very high level.

They have always been expensive and fetch very high prices at auction for the best ones in top condition. Unlike later Tabriz work, Haji Jalili pieces wear very well, they are particularly suited to formal decors. For 18th century furniture they are probably the most appropriated oriental carpets.

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