Senneh 167x113cms


Sanandaj, the modern day Senneh, is the capital of Iranian Kurdistan. The carpets and rugs and kelims are still called Senneh.

When Afghan tribes destroyed the great Persian Safavid Empire, sacking Esfahan and other cities in the 1720’s, they left Kurdistan alone. These mountain peoples proved impenetrable.

Then for over a century the Kurdish Khans had full autonomy and a fruitful period of fine weaving ensued, carrying on the regal traditions of the Safavid courts, but informed by their own nation’s uninterrupted ancient aesthetic.

Consequently the fine Senneh rugs and kelims of the 19th and 20th centuries represent an unbroken tradition of fine weaving. Whereas in the rest of Persia fine city weaving stopped, and only the tribal and peasant weaving continued.

By the 2nd half of the 19th century the new rich of an industrialised Europe and USA wanted fine city Persian rugs and a new industry was started to cater to this clientele. Hence connoisseurs refer pejoratively to these floral rugs as “revival’ weaving.

The defining feature of the true Senneh knotted rug is its “salt’ n pepper” back showing the signature single-wefted weave. There are other single wefted rugs like those of nearby Hamadan and there are Senneh patterned rugs made elsewhere such as Ardebil but none match the lineage of the Senneh.