About Persian Sarouk Antique Oriental Rugs
The first World Oriental Carpet Exhibition of 1891 in Vienna represents the growing familiarity - both in Europe and throughout the west, especially America - with the hand-woven form of textile art known as the Persian rug. The popularity of any consumer product, however, hinges upon its continued availability (Supply and Demand), so when local supply started to dwindle, replenishment involved something of a mideast-west joint-venture to manage production, shipping and marketing. An influx of British and American firms enlisted local carpet producing facilities for the mass-production of the popular styles of Persian rugs to be sold in the west. By 1883 the British-Swiss company Ziegler & Co had set up offices in Sultanabad - now Arak - the hub of the major rug-producing area which included a small village by the name of - Saruq.
The Sarough Rug Style
The Sarouk, or Sarough, Rug Style -- known to the western market as an American Sarouk (not the same as the traditional Sarough) design, consists of loosely-connected richly-colored, opulent floral sprays which radiate symmetrically-outward from a medallion-like central figure - all rendered on a background-field of salmon red. This large, lush, well-wearing and decorative carpet certainly proved to be a successful entry into the American rug-buying market and continues to be a popular choice today.
Yes, Saruq, also known as Qal'ehye Saruq, Qal'ehye Bala, Qal'ehye Bala Saruq, Saruqi and even Surakh, is the same place that the rugs otherwise known as Sarough, Sarouk or Saruk, have been produced for well over a hundred years. The village itself, with a population of just over 2000, is the capital city of Saruqi - or Saruq District (the district population, including the city, is 8,000) - with a subdivision known as Saruq Rural District, in Farahan County, Markazi Province - whose capital city, formerly called Sultanabad and later known as Iraq e Ajam, is Arak. Some of the trade names - names/styles typically recognizable today - for the rugs produced in the Arak area include Ferahan (Feraghan / Fereghan), Sultanabad and Mahal: i.e. some early examples of Sarouks being similar in design to Ferahans (Sarouk-Ferahan) which were produced not far from where Sultanabads (also called Zieglers) were made - while different styles - i.e. Sarouk and Mahal - may be made in the same village etc.
An antique Sarough rug is considered to be one of the most-luxurious exceptional-quality
examples of Persian carpet-making. Noted for their ability to withstand decades of wear,
Sarouk rugs were made with a high quality, tough wool that is soft yet durable and feature
a heavy, plush pile.
Most were room-sized with central medallions and generally displaying floral
motifs in multiple shades of ivories, ochres, oranges, greens and browns
against a background field of indigo, cream or a pale and/or salmon red.
Sarouk rugs can be geometric or curvilinear in pattern and are easily identifiable
by their classic florid style - featuring classically-derived themes with some notable
variation in individual design elements.