Since the 1970s, simple, archaic-looking flat-weaves such as the one depicted here grasped the attention of avant-garde rug dealers. This was also when the first (incorrectly attributed) kelims were added to collections, such as the one belonging to Ignazio Vok. It was only in 1998 that Parviz Tanavoli confidently identified Mazandaran as their place of origin. The light kelims that were often sewn together from several panels were laid over felt or knotted rugs (Persian “rufarshi”) or were used as wall coverings to keep out the cold.
The Mazandaran depicted here has a very soft, pleasant handle is the only completely silk piece known to exist in this group. Like most Mazandarans, it is sewn together from several panels – in this case three. The field is unicolour with shading layered like sediment – here in grey-black. In the photo, the base tone appears much lighter and browner because silk reflects light. The exceptional red ends have not been added, but are woven all the way through. During the Safavid period, silk was produced in the Mazandaran region and was even mentioned in Dutch trade journals from the first half of the 17th century. Even still, silk is a completely unusual material for this type of flat-weave. It might have been a special wedding cloth on which to place gifts. It is in perfect condition.
Property of Herbert Bieler, Austria
Age: late 19th century
Format: 194 x 172 m (approx. 6‘ 4“ x 5‘ 9“)
In perfect condition, no restorations