About Antique Persian Serapi Oriental Rugs
Although both renowned for their bold elegance and somewhat formal geolinear patterns, it could be said that the Serapi antique rug is more finely featured and with a finer weave (higher knot density) and a more-subtle color palette than the Heriz rug. These rug styles - both Serapi and Heriz - are popular in the west and are often used in formal and official settings such as the interiors of government buildings in the United States of America (i.e. the Capitol Building, Washington D.C.). Although from a similar template - Heriz rugs typically are more rough-hewn with a less-refined weave and stronger contrast overall than the Serapi rug. Both of their names are westernized versions of their nearby places of origin - Heris (more rural) and Sarab (more metropolitan).
Serapi VS Heriz
Both Heriz and Serapi rugs can be readily identified by their rectilinear designs and highly stylized geometric detailing that often features a pure blue or blue and ivory large medallion on a field of deep red or terracotta. Within a knot range of 30 - 100 KPSI - Heriz on the lower end, Serapi the higher - antique Heriz rugs are usually coarser and sturdier, with bolder colors and somewhat more-angular and compact-looking woven detail while Serapi design is typically finer, less rigid looking and more spacious and open by comparison. Additionally, some scholars, do not acknowledge that there's enough difference to justify the existence of 2 separate rug categories - esp. since some workshops may have been producing both types simultaneously at around the turn of the century.
Although Heriz rugs were being mass-produced by the 1920s, Heriz rug production is a relatively recent - late 19th century - development that was triggered by the need to accelerate the rate of production in order to meet the ever-increasing western demand with a popular-grade product based on a proven model - the Serapi rug.
A city rich in history and renowned for its rugmaking, Sarab is the capital of Sarab County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, and with a population of nearly 50,000 is nearly 5 × larger than Heris.
The value of an antique Heriz rug, or Serapi rug for that matter, is determined by, first: overall condition; second: incidental factors such as weave density, color/color palette, and the design. The selling price at auction of a room-sized antique Heriz carpet in good-very good condition can range from several hundred, for a more-common type, to a few thousand dollars. The Sotheby's Heriz rug pictured above sold at auction for $21,000 - well above the estimated selling price.
"An antique Serapi carpet, North-West Persia (15ft. 5in. × 12ft. 3in.). The shaded light rust field with angular palmettes and hooked leaves around large stepped indigo medallion with bold hooked palmette pendants containing simialr motifs and bold palmette cartouches enclosing dusty-pink simialr panel centrepiece, ivory wide spandrels smilar, in an indigo border of turtle-palmettes and angular floral menader between ivory and dusty-pink floral vine stripes, some wear, areas of old repairs, localized tinting." ..... Christie's - London
An antique Serapi rug, comparatively rare due to more limited quantities produced,
is often older and of finer quality than a Heriz rug, and hence, usually commands a
higher premium i.e. the selling price at auction of a well-maintained room-size antique
Serapi rug can potentially be much higher than it's sibling Heriz.