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Persian Rugs the O'Connell Guide
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Isfahan Rugs: Guide to Seirafian of Isfahan

When we hear Seirafian in the market place it may mean a carpet by any one of 32 Seirafians of Isfahan who produce carpets. Recently I started an Attribution Guide to Seirafian Rug Signatures to help sort the family out for the collector. Consequently the market value and the esthetic qualities vary greatly. My hope is that by collecting information as it becomes available it will help establish what is real and what is true.

The Seirafian Workshop was founded by Haj Agha Reza Seirafian who died March 18, 1974. Haj Agha Reza Seirafian was a banker and businessman in Isfahan Iran. While he had bought and sold rugs as a way to invest money he did not enter the business of producing carpets until 1939. He began when he decided to finish two rugs when a producer he had loaned money to died. In the beginning he made rugs at 91 knots to the square centimeter as did the best of the Isfahan carpet workshops. From there he embarked on a series of innovations that seemed foolish to many at the time. He used he best designers, the best weavers, the best materials, the best dyes, and made rugs of a higher quality than anyone else at the time. The part that bothered the other carpet men so much was that he also paid his weavers more than anyone else. In fact the other carpet men filed a complaint about these unorthodox business practices but Seirafian's quest for perfection was upheld by the local judiciary. By the way as an attribution clue Haj Agha Reza Seirafian started at 91 knots to the square centimeter and his rugs got finer over the years

Haj Agha Reza Seirafian did not do it by himself. From the time he started producing the rugs his son Mohammad Seirafian worked with him and they extensively used the work of Ahmad Archang the great Isfahan designer for much of their work. After Mohammad other sons and grandsons came into the carpet business to where I now understand that there are 32 Seirafians living and dead counted among the Masters of Isfahan Rugs.

Isfahan Rugs Persian Rugs Gonbad-e-mina by the Late Master Sadegh Seirafian

Gonbad-e-mina by the Late Master Sadegh Seirafian

Isfahan Rugs Persian Rugs Mohammad Seirafian's three sons are great masters in their own right. With a limited number of examples my wife Jodi and I found the carpets of Bagher to be most outstanding but we look forward to see more from Mojtaba and Mahdi. Of the rest of the third generation I can say little. However a European has a large assortment of mundane quality signed Seirafians which makes me wonder if all maintain the quality that Mohammed's sons achieve. I hope that we can get more examples and information on the whole family

Mohammad Seirafian

Haj Agha Reza Seirafian's seven sons:

There are also to my understanding 24 Grandsons who produce carpets. I do not have much information on the third generation except for the sons of Sadegh and Mohammad Seirafian.

  • Mohammad Seirafian

    • Mojtaba Seirafian B. 1946

    • Bagher Seirafian B. 1951

    • Mehdi Seirafian B. 1954

  • The Late Master Sadegh Seirafian

    • Amir Naser,

    • Mahmoud,

    • Karim,

    • Mohammad Mehdi

Mohammad Seirafian's three sons are great masters in their own right. With a limited number of examples my wife Jodi and I found the carpets of Bagher to be most outstanding but we look forward to see more from Mojtaba and Mahdi. Of the rest of the third generation I can say little. However a European has a large assortment of mundane quality signed Seirafians which makes me wonder if all maintain the quality that Mohammed's sons achieve. I hope that we can get more examples and information on the whole family

Examples from the
Seirafian carpet workshop in Isfahan

Signed "Esfahan Hossien Seirafian" Isfahan Rug

 

From my Attribution Guide to Seirafian Rug Signatures

Sadegh Seirafian medallion Rug Signature
The Sadegh Seirafian medallion Rug

This rug has been authenticated by the workshop of the late Master Sadegh Seirafian.

A worry today is counterfeit rugs with the Seirafian signature. See Fake Serafian Signatures. Mohammad Seirafian mentioned to me that it was a problem with the old signatures but that they added a signature in English and Farsi. Mohammad Seirafian said that he never saw one of these forged. Still one should keep in mind that the older Seirafians have the older signature. Provenance becomes important. It is best to know where the rug has been.

Estimating Dates

It is not unusual to see a Seirafian dated as early as 1910 or 1920. The father and founder of the house Haj Agha Reza Seirafian did not enter into the rug business until 1939.

Old Auction Notes:

Sale Title ORIENTAL RUGS AND CARPETS


Location London, King Street Sale Date Oct 14, 2004
Lot Number 106 Sale Number 6941
Creator BY MUHAMMAD 'ALI SEIRAFIAN, CENTRAL PERSIA, CIRCA 1920

Lot Title AN ISFAHAN SEIRAFIAN CARPET

Estimate 20,000 - 30,000 British pounds
Price Realized Unsold
Special Notice No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Lot Description AN ISFAHAN SEIRAFIAN CARPET
BY MUHAMMAD 'ALI SEIRAFIAN, CENTRAL PERSIA, CIRCA 1920
The ivory field with overall scrolling arabesques with palmettes issuing delicate flowering and leafy vine around a central tomato-red and ivory medallion with pendants containing palmettes and flowering vine enclosing a rosette centerpiece of similar design, the mid-blue spandrels similar, in a shaded tomato-red border of palmettes linked by delicate scrolling tendrils and serrated leaves between ivory and mid-blue floral meander stripes, plain narrow tomato-red outer stripe, signed at one end, "Iran Carpet, Isfahan, the order of Muhammad 'Ali Seirafian", full pile throughout, minute spot stains in the central field, may benefit from a light clean
11ft.5in. x 7ft.7in. (347cm. x 231cm.)

FINE ORIENTAL AND EUROPEAN RUGS AND CARPETS
SALE L09325
SESSION 1 | 21 Apr 99 2:00 PM.
London, New Bond Street
LOT 41
A fine Esfahan Seirafian rug
2,500—3,500 GBP
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 2,875 GBP
DESCRIPTION
A fine Esfahan Seirafian rug
Central Persia
with a signature cartouche reading: 'S Seirafian Esfahan. Iran'
183 by 113cm. 6ft. by 3ft. 9in.
Knotting V/H cm: 12/11

A Brief History About Sadegh Seirafian
The late Master HAJ AGHA REZA SEIRAFIAN 1881 - 1975 is the founder of Seirafian carpet. Mr. Seirafian was a very reputable private banker sarraf (1) in Esfahan and because of his credibility he was respected by all individuals. Although he was very active in his private banking but he loved the art of genuine carpet. This strong interest brought him about starting a new line of business in the field of hand woven carpet. His philosophy was to produce rugs which were unique and supreme in quality. To achieve his goals he managed to employ the most accountable designers and skillful weavers and natural dyes as raw materials for his rugs and carpets. To give the assurance of quality in his work he started to weave his family name "SEIRAFIAN" at the bottom of the carpet he was producing. The quality of his carpet was so that after a short time his carpets became very popular among the traders and interested individuals, who were attracted to them. His sons were persuaded by him in this film and they showed they interest by working a long. Sadegh Seirafian, one of his sons, who had just finished his high school, went after his father way while having a plenty of interest, began to produce carpets in his own while he was helping his father and marked his carpets Sadegh Seirafian. He followed the same philosophy as his father and took advantage of the well known modern masters, added his new ideas and developed this art to the point where you can see his works in many museums, collection and places around the world.
[22 February, 2003]
http://www.iran-e-abad.com/News/Detail.asp?NewsID=931794982954981


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Oriental Rugs the O'Connell Notes

Copyright Barry O'Connell 2004 - 2007
Last revised: October 05, 2009.

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