The Seirafian Family is known for the highest quality carpets coming from the Iranian city of Isfahan. These Seirafian Isfahans are considered the best of the best. They became very famous for their incredible construction, impeccable quality, and beautiful design.
The tradition dates back to 1939, when Haj Agha Reza Seirafian (1881-1974) left the banking and investment trade to enter the carpet business. He entered the trade by acquiring two unfinished carpets from a master-weaver for money he was owed. He completed those two rugs, and then set out to improve the quality of Isfahan carpets by tripling the knots per square inch. By doing this the knot counts jumped from 270 k/psi to 500 k/psi and higher.
He also made sure the highest quality materials used. Major upgrades to materials was almost exclusively using pure silk warp and wefts, kurk wool, as well as silk in the pile. Kurk wool is sheared from the chest and shoulders of lambs and is one trademark of a premium Persian Seirafian rug. This fine wool is what allows the weavers to achieve such a high knot count. Almost all Seirafian are branded with their trademark signature “Bafte Iran Esfahan Seirafian.” This is written in Farsi and knotted right into the pile of the carpet.
At the beginning although Seirafian rugs were admired for their quality, some competitors were disgruntled. Seirafian was sued by other carpet makers in the city, alleging he was paying his employees to high a wage. They stated that this made for unfair competition to procure skilled weavers. Luckily, the courts ruled in favour of the Seirafian Family. They were able to continue to produce high quality carpets and pay their employees a fair wage.
Through the years more and more family members became involved. Seirafian’s seven sons all entered the family business.
One of them being Sadegh Seirafian. Who joined the business shortly after graduating high school. He showed great skill and imagination when it came to his designs. Some of his famous and revered works include Flower Garden, Phoenix, Love Garden, and Seirafian Paradise.
Also Sadegh’s older brother Mohammad became a very highly skilled weaver. He was 19 when he first started producing carpets, which was also the same time his father (Haj Agha Reza) started. His work is of the utmost quality and is very often cited in books and publications when referencing “Seirafian Carpets”. One of his works is featured in “The Encyclopedia of Persian Carpets” that states it is a “master piece among the master pieces of this century.” Another notable Mohammad produced piece is a 25 square foot carpet that he donated to the UN. It now hangs on the wall in the UN Auditorium in New York City and is considered one of the most valuable carpets in the world. Mohammad wove a verse of a poem into the body of the carpet with pure gold. The poem is by Iranian poet Sheikh Musleh-Uddin Sa’di Shirazi. The verse is from a poem entitled Oneness of Mankind.
Translated into English the verse reads…
“All men are members of the same body, Created from one essence.
If fate brings suffering to one member, The others cannot stay at rest.
You who remain indifferent
To the burden of pain of others,
Do not deserve to be called human.”
The tradition was handed down yet another generation to Mojtaba Sierafian. Mojtaba was the first son of Mohammad and first grandson of Master Haj Agha Reza Seirafian. From an early age Mojtaba was seeing the master works of his father and grandfather. While still in high school, at the age of 16 he began weaving carpets on his own. He attended the National University of Iran, attaining Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He furthered his studies at Cambridge studying English for a year. He then returned to Isfahan and started producing carpets seriously. His carpets were keeping with the family tradition of utmost quality and craftsmanship. He now uses his knowledge of Seirafian Isfahan Carpets to prepare certificates of origin.
The legacy that Master Haj Agha Reza Seirafian began has in total been carried on by seven sons and twenty-four grandsons throughout the years. The number of workshops expanded as other relatives (cousins or uncles) of the founder were brought in and eventually received the approval of the Seirafian’s as competent rug producers. Thirty-two workshops with the Seirafian name have been opened throughout the years.
The carpets are not only revered for their magnificent beauty and craftsmanship. They have also become highly collectable pieces of the last centuries art history.
The name Seirafian is synonymous with Persian Carpet quality.