Senneh Rugs

Antique Senneh rugs are one of the most distinctive of all Persian Rugs. Even though the designs are often copied by Bidjar Rugs and Tabriz Rugs but just touching the rugs . Antique Senneh rugs use very tightly spun fine mountain wool. The pile is wondrously silky but the back is scratchy so much so that people compare the backs to sandpaper. Once you eel it it it is unmistakable thereafter. Antique Senneh rugs are fine and durable and are most appreciated by people who know Persian Rugs. The new Senneh rugs are completely diferent.

Sennah, Senneh, Sana, Sanandaj or Sanandag.
Senneh is one of a small handful of Persian cities with an appreciable carpet production before the modern commercial carpet period began. For a discussion of Senneh carpet production before 1870 see Leonard M. Helfgott’s Ties That Bind pages 135, 209, and 221. What we see from a variety of sources is that weaving in Senneh dates back into at least the classical period and perhaps much longer.

map of region

The Kurds of Sannandaj
Sennah rugs are called Sennah because that is the dialect of the weavers. In most of the world dialect is more than just language it is an identity. The majority of the Kurds of Kordestan speak dialects of Central Kurdish and are Sunni Moslems. In the east of Kordestan are some Southern Kurds which include the Bijari Kurds who are Shia. We deal with the Bijari Kurds in the Guide to Bijar Rugs.

kurdish men
Kurdish men in their traditional garb Kurdestan province.

There is a temptation in “rug scholarship” to assume or imply that rugs are the product of their collection market centers. Sennah rugs are usually assigned to Sennah/Sanandajr but they are really the product of the Sennah speaking area around Sannandajr. There is a small production of Sennah workshop carpets that have a higher knot count and often have silk warps. These are the product of Sannandajr.

Pre-1870 carpets tend to be finer. The wool tend to have a lot of twist. Normally warps are straight and wefts interlace around the warps but with Senneh rugs the wefts are straight and the warps interlace. The knots in a Senneh rug are compact so that each nodes are together making one bump. This with the high twist makes a rough back which is commonly compared to sandpaper.

Both the Bijar and Sennah rugs use a symmetrical knot on a two level foundation. There is little difference between Sennah and Bijars rugs. Bijars may have a slightly higher knot count but some of these Sennah are of exceptional quality.


Senneh Carpet Circa 1820 – 1840 Galerie Arabesque/Craycraft

Very fine weave, unusual design, perhaps the oldest Sennah I’ve seen.

Senneh Carpet Circa 1870

Ivory Ground Senneh Carpets Circa 1870

The ivory field with flowering vine around groups of eight addorsed boteh, in a tomato-red turtle-palmette and flowering vine border between minor apple-green floral stripes, even overall wear throughout, selvages replaced, overall good condition

Senneh Rug C. 1920-1930

Antique Senneh Rugs: Senneh Saddle Cover

Senneh Saddle Cover, Northwest Persia, second half 19th century, (small areas of wear, selvage damage, small repairs, creases)

circa 1900 oxidized browns, minor moth damage, small reweaves at edges, reselvaged,

Senneh baf carpet Northwest Persia Circa 1925 lot 88

SENNEHBAF is the Persian for Sennah Knotted. This referes to the unusal weave used in Sennah. The yarn has a high twist. The wefts are larger than the warps and it is single wefted. I have seen very few Sennahbaf carpets over the years until I was in Memphis Tn. then one day I say a surprising number. Memphis is a town for Sennah and Karaja carpets

4 by 4′ 9″ Persian Sennah Bijar Rug

Condition: New, no dye run, no holes, no tears, and no repairs. This rug lays flat.

Size: 4 foot by 4 foot 9 inch

Use: Ideal for floor use. The wool is densely packed and stands erect because of the construction. This make these rugs to be one of the nicest rugs to walk on.

Origin: Persian, imported from the Sennah area in Kurdistan Iran.

Senneh Carpet, Northwest Persia

Yellow Ground Senneh Carpet Circa 1890

The golden yellow field with an overall design of floral swags, trailing leaves, rose sprays and perching birds, some in their nests, in a fox-brown border of polychrome floral cartouches between indigo flowering vine stripes, multicoloured silk warps, both ends replaced and selvages rebound, small scattered repairs.

Senneh Rug with Polychrome Warps

Senneh Rug: Northwest Persia, circa 1910. Original silk selvages and polychrome fringes. Approx. 6 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft 4 in (2.03 x 1.32 m.)

Senneh Wagireh

Northwest Persia, Kurdistan, late 19th century. Approx. 75 x 69 cm.

Silk Warp Senna Rug, circa 1900

Circa 1900. Polychrome silk warps, minor partial ends, oxidized browns. Approx. 6 ft. 1 in. x 4 ft. 4 in. (1.85 x 1.32 m.)

A Silk Weft Senna Rug

A Senna rug, Northwest Persia, circa 1880. Silk wefts, one end with partial original end finishes, other end with partial end guard stripe. Salvaged. Approximately 6ft. 9in. x 4ft. 9in. (2.06 x 1.45m.)