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A highly unusual and scarce find on today's market. An antique Senneh featuring a tree of life surrounded by mythical animals during a battle.
Antique Senneh carpets are strikingly different to the modern day carpets produced for today's market and demand. The pre- 1860 carpets tend to be much finer and are tightly spun using fine mountain wool. These earlier carpets are extremely durable and are an appreciated collector's item for the more discerned and educated Persian carpet connoisseur.
Sanandaj aka Senneh
Nestled in a valley between mountains lies the city of Sanandaj (Senneh), capital of the Kurdistan province in north western Iran. It is one of few Persian cities to have had a distinguishable carpet production before the modern commercial carpet period began and the old name Senneh is still widely used in carpet contexts. According to a wide range of different sources, weaving in this region dates back as far as the classical period (1750-1820) and according to some even further.
Turkibaft vs. Farsibaft
It is rather ironic that weavers in Sanandaj also use the Turkish knot (symmetrical knot) when the city itself is named after the Persian or Senneh knot (asymmetrical knot). The carpets produced in Senneh are often tightly woven with nodes so compact that they almost form bumps. This makes the carpets characteristically rough on the back and they are commonly compared to sandpaper.
Senneh carpets are in many ways reminiscent of Bidjar carpets and carpets of other Kurdish tribes, though they do have their own distinguishable characteristics. More often than not these carpets are geometric with Herati motifs featured in a medallion layout or with an All over Boteh motif. The city is by far the best producer of quality carpets in the region and Senneh carpets are in high demand, often with a much higher market value than similar pieces produced in the surrounding area.
This well preserved antique Senneh carpet has a high quality wool pile coloured with natural vegetable dyes. It features an intricate and naturalistic depiction of the tree of life embellished with refined floral and animalistic details. In Oriental carpets the tree of life typically represents the direct path from Earth to Heaven and this particular piece beautifully adheres to this representation whilst simultaneously offering a truly mesmerizing depiction of mythical animals in a power struggle, battling out good over evil.
End of an era
This particular carpet is one of the few finer carpets preserved from this region and era, and with the inevitable trend of an increasingly globalized economy they are all the more scarce to find on the market.
The carpets produced in Sanandaj nowadays sadly lack in both artistic quality and craftsmanship. Weavers often repeat the same design and colour composition over and over and cater exclusively for western demand. Furthermore, the use of chemical dyes is widespread and the quality and originality that once made these carpets so famous is rapidly declining. This indeed serves to make this antique piece a treasured and highly original asset to the educated Persian carpet connoisseur.
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