Bakshaish Rugs

Examples of Antique Bakshaish Rugs and Carpets

Relation to Heriz Rugs
These rugs can be grouped with rugs woven in a particular style and time frame in the Heriz area.

The Heriz Rug producing area has gone through a number of name changes over the years. At one point the region was known as the Khanate of Serab. After that the region was called Bakshaish. It is possible that the town of Bakshaish was the administrative center of the District. It is also possible that the district and the region takes it name from a person or group of people.

Bakhshaish was a Khanate in the Khajar Dynasty perion of Iranian history. Bakhshaish the old name of the area of the province of Azarbayjan-e Sharqi that runs from Lake Urumia to Heriz. Now the region is called Heriz and Bakhshaish is called Kovanaq.

Through the 19th century border wars between Persia and Russian would send waves of Moslems south and Christian Armenians north. Bakhshaish is one of the first areas in the Mount Sabalan Persian Azerbaijan area to begin production of Carpet size. Sotheby’s has attributed two carpets to 1800; Sotheby’s Bakshaish Rug circa 1800 Lot 106 and Sotheby’s Bakshaish Carpet c. 1800 lot 177. Which pre-date the next oldest by 75 years. It is easy to see the 1800s dates as adventurous but it may just as well be that other dates are conservative. Most Bakhshaish are attributed to circa 1880 and it is very improbable that all the rugs dated circa 1880 were made then. As Harold Keshishian used to say in his textile Museum Lectures, “They can’t all be made in 1875, some must be older”.

Rug Structure
Heinrich Jacoby the great German Rug Expert who ran PETAG wrote in 1949 that Heriz Rugs and Bakshaish rugs could be distinguished from similar rugs elsewhere in Persia by their “soft coloring” which he attributed to the local water. It is very possible that the coloration is influenced by the copper in the ground water in the greater Heriz region. Jacoby also mentioned that Gorevans and Bakshaish carpets were coarser than Heriz Carpets and that they had large wefts almost the size of the warps but Heriz used thick warps with much thinner wefts.

Turkish Knot, Pulled Right, Depressed Warps

Structure: Depressed symmetrical knot pulled right. Knot counts can range from 25 to 100.


Country of Origin: Persia/Iran

This is a striking example of the Mini Khani Carpet.

Bakhshaish Rugs: Bakhshaish Herati Carpet c. 1880

The indigo field with overall herati pattern in a pale blue flowerhead and angular vine border between rose-pink and rust-red floral meander stripes, localised spots of wear, corroded brown, selvages fraying in areas
10ft.4in. x 4ft.8in. (314cm. x 142cm.)

A 4th Quarter 19th C. Bakshaish Carpet

A Bakshaish carpet, North Persia, last quarter 19th century, oxidized browns, missing open end guard borders, repaired slit, patch, holes, approximately 10 ft. 9 in. by 8 ft. 10 in. (3.28 by 2.69 m.)

A Bakshaish Carpet 19th C.

North Persia late 19th century, partially oxidized browns, approximately 11ft. 8in. by 9ft. 4in. (3.56 by 2.84m.)

Bakhshaish Carpet c. 1900

Bakhshaish Rug with Zoomorphic Motifs c. 1870


Bakhshaish rug with zoomorphic motifs
Northwest Persia
Circa 1870
180 x 148 cm (5’11” x 4’10”)
Symmetrically knotted wool pile on cotton warps and wool wefts

The zoomorphic motifs found on this particular design help to define a subgroup of rugs made in the northwest Persian village of Bakhshaish. These representations can be seen in the two pairs of stylised dragons attempting to encircle a smaller animal-like figure on the blue field, beside a cruciform, almost totemic element. Such motifs can also be seen in the spandrels, where the green and red scales of the dragons are abstracted in order to create quarter medallion corner motifs. This typology originates from a group of very early Anatolian rugs decorated by an axis element surrounded by two pairs of stylised animals (see C. Klose, ‘The Origin of the Serapi Carpet Design’, Hali, vol. 6, no. 4, London, 1984, pp. 401-402).

Bakshaish rug C. 1890

circa 1890. Partially oxidized browns, minor partial ends.

Bakshaish Carpet c. 1880

circa 1880 illegible inscription to one end, oxidized charcoals, hole, partial end guard borders, partially reselvaged, foldwear, small reweaves to one end,

Tree Carpet Examples

Trees are one of the most common designs. Trees include willows, cyprus, and flowering trees.

Minor knot loss at ends, approximately 5 ft. 7 in. by 4 ft. 3 in. (1.70 by 1.29 m.)

Antique Bakhshaish Carpet c. 1875

Bakhshaish Oatmeal Ground Tree Carpet c. 1880

The oatmeal field with an overall directional design of serrated flowering trees, in a shaded salmon-pink flowerhead, serrated leaf and angular vine border between golden yellow and sky-blue flowering vine stripes, mill-pattern minor stripes and a broad plain oatmeal outer stripe, scattered areas of repiling and small repairs, spots of moth damage at one end, selvages replaced
13ft.4in. x 11ft. (406cm. x 335cm.)

Bakhshaish Birds & Trees Carpet c. 1880

This carpet has Cypress trees with interspersed Bulbuls (birds). This rug is notable for a very unusual Chicken Border.

Bakhshaish Camel Ground Tree Carpet c. 1890

3l The camel field scattered with minor geometric motifs within an overall ascending design of cypress, willow and other angular flowering trees, in a shaded dusty brown angular flowering vine border between rust-red leaf and flowerhead stripes with a plain shaded camel outer stripe, areas of localised light wear, scattered repair and repiling throughout
12ft.9in. x 8ft.11in. (390cm. x 271cm.)

Camel-colored Examples

Another high quality old type from the Heriz area is the ‘Bakhshaish’. This medium-sized village may deserve its reputation, if only because it has been acknowledged as a center of excellence for so long. But the range of weavings described as Bakhshaish is too broad to have come from one village. Many so-called Bakhshaish carpets are predominantly camel-colored, and I believe that a large proportion of these weavings also come from Sarab, which is larger, has more weavers, and has about the same access to herds of camel-colored sheep. Other carpets ascribed to Bakhshaish are so flashy and sophisticated that it is hard to imagine that they were woven in such an isolated village. I suspect that much early Bakhshaish export weaving is camel colored, almost always on a cotton foundation, with shorter pile than Sarabs, and knots not packed so tightly. Since there are more Bakhshaish-style export carpets with woolen warps – an indication of earlier production – it is possible that large-format weaving was started there before elsewhere in rural East Azarbayjan. R. Tschebull on Bakhshaish Carpets

circa 1880 oxidized browns, Kashmiri repiling, tinting, reweaves

circa 1875 oxidized browns, rewoven end guard borders, minor moth damage, minor repiled foldwear

Mid 19th c. Eskenazi Bakshaish Carpet Rippon-Boswell

Description: BAGSCHEIESCH CARPET Origin: North West Persia, Azerbaidjan, mid 19th c.
Size: ca. 329 x 235 cm