Saroughs are hand knotted on a vertical loom using warp and weft in cotton.  The weft consists of two or sometimes three threads.  In carpets made before the 1915, the weft is pushed down hard against the knots, which made the carpets very compact.  The pile is of very good quality wool and is cut very short.  However, more recent pieces seem to have deeper piles.  The Persian knot is utilized with a density of 160 to 400 knots per square inch.

Saroughs may be divided into two categories: carpets with traditional designs and those intended for export, particularly to the United States.  The traditional designs consist, for the most part, of the central medallion pattern.  The pattern is similar to those used in Kashans, but the different interpretations by different craftsmen give the carpets a special imprint.  Although they have floral patterns, this is executed in an angular fashion, resulting in an incomparable fusion of floral and geometric styles.  As well as the central medallion, there is also, in old and antique Saroughs, frequent use of the boteh motif.

In contrast, the American Sarough (or Lilian) design features large blossoming floral sprays radiating outwards from a central, medallion-like, floral form.  It is so named because it was adapted for the American market from a design originating in the village of Lilian; the true Lilian design has a spidery central medallion which American Sarough do not.  American Saroughs use either rich rosy reds with blues and paler rose outlining the motifs, or, less frequently, bright pastel shades (usually pale blues, turquoise or lemon yellow), used to create the same strong contrasts between motifs and field as in American Kermans.

In all Saroughs the border is simple, almost always consisting of two guards framing a wider central band, which is often decorated with heratis while the former is often of traditional rosettes and wavy line collections.  The colour scheme is often a bright orange-red in the field, which is softened by ivory, dark blue, red-brown and dull green.  Various shades of turquoise are common in the decorative motifs.


Sennehs are hand knotted, on a vertical loom, and utilize cotton in the warp. The warp threads are very fine and are tightly spun.  In spite of the common use of the term Senneh knot to indicate the Persian knot, it is, in fact, the Turkish knot that is used in Senneh carpets.  The number of knots per square inch is medium to high, sometimes reaching up to 500.  Kelims are also made in the same designs.

Although Sennehs are hand knotted by Kurdish craftsmen, they differ substantially from other Kurdistan carpets.  Kurdish carpets have a wool weft with deep, irregularly cut pile and primitive designs.  It would seem that the very fine work at Senneh came into being when Nadir Shah named Senneh the capital of Kurdistan and sent his Persian dignitaries there.  These Persian dignitaries didn’t think much of the local carpets and therefore ordered the craftsmen of Senneh to make carpets that were much finer and used cotton warps.  Over the centuries, this fine carpet making tradition was maintained and encouraged.

The designs frequently employ the herati motif, which often covers the whole field of the carpet and the boteh.  If the design incorporates a center medallion, this is distinguished by a different background color (dark blue field, light medallion).  The border is also decorated with the herati.  The boteh is used with more imagination than usual.  In some carpets it is arranged in the customary vertical lines, though in this case the boteh is usually rather large (8 in.).  In other carpets the botehs are arranged in a circle and each one forms the petal of a rose.  These roses are repeated to cover the field of the carpet.  Another common motif is the gul-i-Mirza Ali (flower of Mirza Ali).  This type of Senneh has a herati border and on the inside a floral motif. Senneh borders are the traditional three-band type with the central one usually decorated with border herati in an extremely angular form.  Border boteh is also quite common, while some specimens have a floral-type decoration enclosed in small cartouches.  Sennehs are usually dark, utilizing deep blue and wine, but sometimes the brilliant colours of ivory and yellow are used.  In any combination, the colours are always pleasing and harmonious.

Unfortunately, very few Sennehs are now made and only a limited number of small rugs, and even fewer room-sized carpets, come onto the market.  Indian weavers produce copies of traditional Senneh schemes, particularly those based on the herati and medallion-and-corner formats, but these are often rather crude in both colour and design.

Khal Mohammad

Khal Mohammad rugs are in some ways unique. Not named after a city or region they are named after the legendary figure that created the unmistakable design. Khal Mohammad, father of 25, created the design while living in Afghanistan. Today most Khal Mohammad rugs are woven in or around the town of Kunduz in north of Afghanistan.

Khal Mohammad are handmade by the Turkomans in the north of Afghanistan, and in some cases they can also be hand knotted in Pakistan by the Turkomans who have crossed over the borders into Pakistan. The primary colours are dark red in different nuances. Occurring motifs are göls (elephant like pattern) and octagonal (eight shaped) often with curvilinear flowers in dark blue, ochre and beige

Khal Mohammad rugs are characterized by their usually coppery-colored fields, by their highly lustrous finish, their usually clean, neat, and tidy appearance, and by the decorative, flat-woven finish on either end. Typically, they are heavier-bodied and finer-knotted than Kampbaff rugs. They are a welcome departure from the typical red, large-gul Afghan rugs that for decades were almost the only Turkmen rugs available.

Khal Mohammad rugs are very strong and durable 100% wool rugs renowned for their workmanship, wool quality, and beautiful finish. There is some debate and confusion regarding the origin of Khal Mohammad rugs. Some claim that Khal Mohammad is a living Ersari Turkman in Northern Afghanistan who 30 years ago pioneered the structural quality, color tones, use of top quality materials and application of less common tribal designs that Khal Mohammad rugs all share. Others believe that Khal Mohammad lived about 150 years ago and was an expert dyer, and provided the unique color palettes that Khal Mohammad rugs possess. Still others believe that Khal Mohammad rugs were originally woven (and still are) by various Ersari Turkmen in Northern Afghanistan, not any single individual or workshop. What is generally agreed is that the rug style originates from Northern Afghanistan, near Mazar-i-Sharif or Ankhui. Today the term “Khal Mohammad”re to very fine quality Afghan rugs that share the same base characteristics of weave, colors, quality, and patterns.


Turkoman rugs are handmade in north-western and eastern Iran, parts of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Syria, and other parts of the Caucasus.

The Turkoman art of knotting grew out of the practical necessities of a nomadic way of life appears to be a convincing hypothesis. Mobility was an important requirement of this lifestyle and all the nomad’s personal property had to be, as far as possible. Light, easily transportable and made from readily available raw materials, the most important of which was the wool from their own flocks of sheep. Piled carpets provided protection from the cold underfoot – in these climates, freezing temperatures seep up from the ground at night – and could also he used as covers and blankets.

They are generally very soft and lush and very similar to one another, and very distinguishable from other Persian rugs. The patterns are normally all-over , known as ‘guls’, repeated in straight lines on the field, with the most popular color being a rich burgundy, exclusive to the Turkomans.

These guls vary from one tribe to the other, and also appear in the Bokhara pattern of Kashmir where they are often called the ‘lucky elephant’s foot’. Background colors can also be found in navy blue, black or a series of beiges. These are sometimes referred to as Caucasian carpets.

Turkoman rugs have small, repeating geometric designs and are normally fine quality. The elephant foot and octagonal ‘gul’ motifs tend to look best in smaller sizes that make the most of the intricate pattern. Oriental Rugs Turkoman rugs are not the hardest wearing rugs. Oriental Turkoman rugs are recommended more for decorative use than high traffic areas. Turkoman rugs usually come in greens, reds, whites, and browns. You’ll hear Turkoman rugs referred to as Beshir rugs, Bokhara rugs, or Samarkand rugs.

The dying methods used are very similar to those employed by other global weavers and artisans. The use of vegetables, bark, roots and other natural items to make dyes has been a well known art for many thousands of

Madder root, indigo, St. John’s wort, onion, saffron, sumac, chamomile, rhubarb, turmeric, sage, poppy, buckthorn, quince, almond, walnut, chestnut and henna are just a few of the long list of natural dye sources, with madder and indigo perhaps the most commonly used. To this already complicated brew yet another ingredient is usually added, namely a fixative, a bonding agent known as “mordant”. It is applied to the wool before, often during, and occasionally after dyeing. Known as mordanting, this process has its ancient roots in China and India, reportedly passing to Europe via Persia and Turkey.