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Malayer area-IranMalayer area-Iran


The weaving of Malayer oriental rugs has a long history. Rug production in the 19th and 20th centuries in Malayer and the surrounding smaller villages was of small rugs and runners all woven by individual weavers.

Larger and over-sized rugs were usually only woven on commission by families.


Malayer oriental rugs are woven in the Malayer area in NW Iran between the 2 major weaving areas of Sarouk and Hamadan. The close proximity to these areas gave the Malayer weavers the opportunity to choose characteristics of both for use in designing their own rugs. Two types of Malayer rugs were the result. One of these more closely resembled the Sarouk and the other the Hamadan.

The Malayer weavers were able to use classic Persian designs from both the Sarouks and the Hamadans in their art but the rugs they created were distinctly their own.


The rugs woven by the Malayer weavers in the SE area of the Malayer region more closely resemble Sarouk rugs while those from the NW area are more similar to Hamadan rugs.


The rugs in the SE (similar to Sarouk rugs) can be distinguished from the Sarouks by their intricate scrolling vine borders and their somewhat rectangular all-over medallion fields. 

Like the Sarouks, they are double-wefted with 2 cotton wefts (side-to-side cords) usually dyed blue. As with the Sarouks, they have depressed cotton warps (top to bottom cords). Depressed warps occur when the wefts are pulled tightly from either side rather than put in with minimal tension. This will displace the warps into 2 levels.

Another difference is the knot used. The Sarouks use the Persian asymmetric and the Malayers use the Turkish symmetric knot.


The village of Jozan in the Iranian Malayer area produces Jozan rugs. They are rugs of the Sarouk type and may be labelled as Jozan Sarouk or Malayer Sarouk by rug dealers. Jozan Sarouks are the finer rugs with higher knot counts and the less fine knotted rugs are labelled Malayer Sarouks.

Malayer SaroukMalayer Sarouk


The rugs in the NW area of Malayer similar to Hamadan rugs typically use the same single-wefted cotton construction but often are a much finer weave.

They also use the Turkish (Ghiordes) symmetric knot as do the Hamadan rugs.

Malayer - NWMalayer - NW


Both areas of Malayer construct their foundations with cotton warps and wefts. As mentioned above, the SE (Sarouk-like) has a depressed warp and a double cotton weft. Like the Sarouks, the wefts are usually dyed blue.

The NW (Hamadan) has a non-depressed warp and single cotton weft like the Hamadans. 


Since many of the weavers in the Malayer region were of ethnic Turkish stock, the Ghiordes or Turkish symmetric knot is used for both types of Malayer oriental rugs.

Ghiordes or Turkish Symmetric KnotGhiordes or Turkish Symmetric Knot


The designs of the Malayer oriental rugs tend to be fairly geometric and abstract. Typically, they range from diamond or hexagon shaped medallions to all-over patterns such as the classic Herati and various other motifs. Stylized birds, flower heads, and vine and lattice patterns are also used by these weavers.

Herati MotifHerati Motif
Herati DesignHerati Design

One favorite motif found in antique Malayers is the Boteh, representing a sprouting seed a sign of rebirth and growth in nature. Often, entire fields in smaller rugs and runners will be covered with botehs.

Boteh MotifBoteh Motif
All Over Boteh DesignAll Over Boteh Design

Rugs woven in the SE (Sarouk-like) tend to have medallions with corners and are more floral in design.

Rugs woven in the NW (Hamadan-like) are more geometric with botehs and medallions on a Herati field.


The pile is wool in all Malayer rugs. The wool pile is often cut fairly short to accentuate the detail and clarity of the design.


The rugs in the SE area (Sarouk-like) like many Sarouks usually have a cotton kilim (a flat area of varying size woven at the end of the rug before the fringe is finished) at one end.  Some Sarouks have knotted fringe at the other end while others have knotted fringe on both ends. The Malayers typically have plain fringe on one or both ends.

The rugs in the NW area (Hamadan-like) have a cotton kilim on one end and plain fringe on the other as do the rugs woven in the Hamadan area.


All Malayer rugs are finished on the sides with a single cord overcast in wool, as do their neighbors in the Sarouk and Hamadan areas.


The SE Malayer rugs typically have deep navy blue fields with red, sage green gold, and ivory colors throughout. The red colors can run.

The NW Malayer rugs contain all colors, and the common orange-red color may run.

Both types of Malayer rugs may be painted if worn.

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Oriental and Area Rug Washing at ABC Oriental Rug 

Rugs on the wash floor are gently scrubbed before thorough rinsing.

Gentle scrubbing continues. Note the wringer in the background-the next step in the washing process after rinsing.

After thorough rinsing, the rug is sent slowly and carefully through the wringer to take out as much of the water as possible before being hung on racks in the drying room. 

Rugs are hung on a rack in the temperature controlled drying room until completely dry.