Hajji Jalili Carpet
Tabriz NW Persia Azerbaijan Iran
Late 19th Century. Circa 1890.
Pure wool pile of approximately seven million hand tied knots
The lobed central medallion and spandrels with flora, and similar borders, all in tertiary hues of the type.
The Tabriz Bazaar is the largest in the Islamic world. For hundreds of years trade between Persia, China and Europe all passed thru Tabriz. With the rise of foreign military power influence, particularly Russia and Britain, and culminating in the opening of the Suez Canal, what was traditionally an economic powerhouse declined. Refugees from the Caucasus flooded the area, and a state of lawlessness ensued.
The people of Tabriz were part of the great Ak Koyonlu Turkic horde that moved west out of Central Asia 500-800 years before this period. Just 300 years earlier their tribe, the Qizil Bash, unified Persia and began the great Safavid Dynasty and cemented Shia as the state religion. Tabriz became the glorious Persian Capital, one of the richest, most civilized cities in the world.
By the second half of the 19th Century the new Industrialized wealthy of Europe favoured the great Safavid Dynasty Persian Carpets but as this stock of antique carpets dried up new ateliers started producing revivals of these great Safavid period carpets.
Tabriz experienced an artistic revival and successfully reasserted itself into the forefront of the rug-making world. The most important figure in this reawakening of Tabriz as an important rug-making centre was the master weaver Haji Jalili, from the nearby town of Marand.
Haji Jalili is famous for his unique approach to rug-making. Whereas most of these revival carpets were made in strong red and blue hues, his preference for distinctive tertiary colour palettes and sophisticated design elements has stood the test of time. The best vegetal dyes and a superior fineness of knotting to correctly portray his open designs have allowed a fine mellowing of hues and succinctly drawn motifs to showcase the Art of the Persian Carpet.