Fine Persian Tabriz Carpet – Mahi Design

Rug #239
Size: 312 x 200 cm / 10.2 x 6.6 ft
Handwoven in: 

Fine Persian Tabriz Carpet Medallion design Wool and Silk


An Exceptionally Fine Persian Tabriz Carpet, North West Persia, Wool and Silk on Silk Foundation,

Mid 20th Century.

The deep red field with a central deep blue leaf edged lobed medallion enclosing a similar ivory centre piece, linked to mirrored blue winged pendants, two layered ochre and pale blue spandrels, all with minute offset rows of flower heads, within a deep blue border enclosing continuous turtle palmettes alternating with flower head roundels and ivory medallions, supported by flowering vines ending in elongated serrated leaves

Since the 16th century the city of Tabriz has been an important historical centre for the production of outstanding and significant decorative handmade Persian carpets. Under the auspices of the Safavid Dynasty rulers, Tabriz was established as a primary centre for setting the standards of excellence in technical quality, styles of design, creativity, and presence and effective use of an extensive colour palette.

Historically Tabriz, primarily due to Geographical location has always attracted a multi-cultural populace, which over time has resulted in a huge and varied repertoire of design styles of ‘medallion’ and overall repeat patterns. The weavers of Tabriz are well known for their skill and ability to adapt to evolving demands. From the ‘Golden Age’ of carpet art creativity of the 17th Century, Tabriz has maintained continuity in pursuit of excellence and due to increase of interest and demand for ‘all things Eastern’ in Western markets from the late 19th century the talented Tabriz weavers responded accordingly. The considerable increase in demand from the late 19th Century onwards is often referred to as the ‘Revival’, and by the time of the Pahlavi dynasty, established in 1925, the ‘Revival’ was well under way. Persian Tabriz carpets made at this time and moving forward to the present day display designs  based on 17th century ‘Safavid’ carpet designs and also ingenious new styles of design based on wider influences and the desire to be adventurist.

This exceptionally fine Persian Tabriz carpet is a superb example of Tabriz ‘Revival’ artistry. It appears to be an example of an established ‘group’ of fine Persian Tabriz carpets, defined as follows:

The ‘mahi’ or fish design is an established pattern associated specifically to Tabriz and forms a specific group of fine Tabriz weavings. It is based on the established ‘herati’ design which is seen throughout the middle eastern carpet weaving world though is woven in small scale and in exceptional fine detail. This motif is then repeated to form an all-over pattern or is combined and applied to medallion formats. The ‘mahi’ and ‘herati’ motif is defined by a rhombus which encloses a rosette with smaller rosettes at each corner and with sets of four small, serrated leaves along each side. This motif is then repeated to form an all-over pattern.

The tight overall field pattern is drawn in extraordinary detail comprising a myriad of tiny floral elements arranged in such a way that various small circles, ovals and diamonds float in and out of the surface depending on the viewers point of focus creating a remarkable three-dimensional effect. The choice of contrasting yet complementary colours with terracotta, dark blue and contrasting ivory medallion and ochre and pale blue spandrels sitting majestically on a rich red background with subtle ochre, green, pale blue, tangerine, dove grey, cream, and caramel brown tones used as detail colours serve to enhance this amazing visual experience, and demonstrates great artistic skills associated with the Tabriz weaver capabilities. The use of white silk is present in this Persian Tabriz carpet, primarily employed as a framing colour to define the primary design elements further enhances the appearance and is a welcome addition to the composition particularly apparent defining the lobed centre piece.

Considerable weaving skills would be required to create this outstanding work of woven art, at very least given the sheer volume of minute detailing presented. This field composition epitomises a style of design associated with ‘Pahlavi’ craftsmanship at its best. Cleverly, and consistent with complementing this style of design, the border pattern is traditional to earlier established border treatment displaying ‘turtle’ palmettes arranged with other characteristic traditional floral elements drawn in such a way as to give a sense of movement and fluidity which magnificently compliments the formality of the small patterned field design. This is a truly remarkable mid-20th Century ‘Pahlavi’ Persian Tabriz carpet which demonstrates Tabriz artistry and adventurism at its best. Bold and elegant, contemporary yet traditional, this finely made Persian Tabriz carpet represents a stunning and highly sophisticated artistic statement.




Fine Persian Tabriz Carpet. This piece was handwoven in Tabriz , Iran. For further information please contact us and a member of our  team will be pleased to assist you. All pieces in the collection are under the auspices of Essie Sakhai, one of the world’s foremost experts and collectors of fine handmade Persian rugs and carpets.