Arak Rugs

Arak rugs are hand-woven Persian pieces made in Arak (formerly known as Sultanabad), the capital city of the province of Markaz, which sits on the high plateau of central Northwestern Iran. This remarkable city is famed for ceramics, metallurgy, hand-woven area oriental rugs and a centre of agricultural trade.

The foundations of its professional rug making business may be traced back to the 17th century, making it a significant region in manufacturing Persian area rugs. Following WWII, the province of Arak became recognised for a rug type known as the Sarouk. These lovely area rugs often have an all-over design of disconnected floral sprays on a red backdrop.

Original name: قالی ساروق

Alternative name(s): Saruk rugs, Sarouk rugs, Sarough rugs, Sarouk Carpet

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Origin: Iran (Arak/Markazi)

Sarouk rugs and Arak carpets are Persian rugs from Iran’s Markazi Province. Sarouk (also spelt Saruk or Sarough) rugs are made in the village of Saruk and Arak and the surrounding territory.

The quality of the Persian rug is largely dependant on the number of knots per square inch and may vary from rug to rug.

These carpets are beautiful and unique pieces that will enhance any room employing lively colours and warm motifs in their patterns. There are also beautiful antique pieces of this type still in existence.

Arak Rug Characteristics

Rugs in this region are created in a variety of grades, ranging from medium to fine. All rugs are 100% handcrafted. The pile of carpets is made of wool, and the colours are mostly made with vegetable dyes. To tie each loop one by one, the rugs are weaved using asymmetrical Persian knots. While more common in older or antique pieces, silk pile or silk foundation is rarely, if ever, seen here. In other situations, the rugs’ pile is made up of a silk and wool blend. The base is made of cotton or goat hair (mostly cotton), and the rugs’ wool is handspun, generally from the weaver’s sheep.

Arak rugs are woven using asymmetrical Persian knots.

Common Designs: Medallion, Afshan, Botteh, Herati, Vase

The designs from the first knotted Sarouks were semi floral, or semi geometric designs, and are standard throughout this period with a central medallion and medallion parts in the field corners. A modest number of allover styles were created as well. The background and borders feature palmette, flower head, and leaf and vine designs. The Lattice pattern was used for allover designs on occasion. There were also many beautiful Prayer Rugs produced.

Weavings from the 1920s to the 1970s are included in the second period of Sarouks. These products are known as “American Sarouk” since they were created specifically for the American market. The knotted American Sarouk’s patterns were semi geometric and had an allover pattern. Flowers, vases, branches, leaves and vines were among the motifs, generally oriented to face the carpet’s centre. However, to appeal to the American market, carpet importers would dye the backgrounds a rich red to match the period’s ornate furnishings. After this treatment in a New York City cleaning facility, the carpets became known as “Painted” American Sarouks.

After World War II, the third period of Sarouks began and there were two types: “European” Sarouks and Mir Sarouks. In the Sarouk and Arak regions, both sorts were commonly produced. Semigeometric European Sarouks included a medallion or an allover motif. With palmettes, leaves, and vines, the designs are influenced by Shah Abbas. The rugs mainly were made for the European and local markets, and they were knotted in very good to fine grades.

Common colours: Red, Blue, Beige, Copper, Beige

The field colours were predominantly brick red or coral red, with dark blue or ivory woven in here and there. For the border and background, these colours could be swapped around.

Material: Wool, Cotton

Generally, the foundation is made of cotton, and the pile is made from wool.

The History Of Antique Persian Arak Rugs

Lot’s of towns and villages around the Arak region began producing carpets and rugs in the mid-nineteenth century and have gained international prominence in the carpet business.

The first Sarouks, known as Farahan/Feraghan Sarouk or Antique Sarouk, were woven between the 1870s and 1910s. These carpets were created in large quantities for international markets and are currently in high demand in the antique trade and at auction houses for use as floor coverings. Some smaller Antique Sarouk weavings are in demand by collectors.

In 1883, The Manchester Firm of Ziegler established an office in Arak. Initially, an importer of English goods, the company quickly discovered the financial benefits of installing a carpet factory in this location to create carpets for export to Europe and the United States. By the turn of the century, Ziegler was reported to have about 2500 looms in operation in this territory. Mahal is a high-quality rug produced by the Mahallat, and Sarough is also recognised for making excellent rugs.

Antique Sarough rugs from before 1900 are regarded as masterpieces. A Persian rug sought after by museums and private collectors alike due to its exceptional craftsmanship and material quality. The Persian knot is used to weave Sarough carpets in the village and workshop settings; however, the Turkish knot is evident in antique Saroughs.

Weavers in this region began to shift away from their traditional designs and toward those that were more suited to the American market in the 1920s. By the late twentieth century, many weavers in Arak Province were producing carpets similar to those in other provincial Iranian cities and villages in response to customer demand from foreign and local markets.


We at London House Rugs are rug experts. We’ve spent more than 40 years learning and refining our art, as well as cultivating long-term, ethical ties with weavers across the East. A London House Rug has undergone rigorous sourcing, manufacturing and finishing procedures to ensure its quality and beauty.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the Middle East looking for the best rugs and building long-term, ethical connections with weaving cooperatives. We have a large selection of new and antique carpets in a variety of sizes in our store.

We work with individuals and businesses to provide, manufacture, or locate carpets for any location or situation. Please view some of our most recent projects to see the broad spectrum of services we offer, from a single hearth rug for your home to a hundred handcrafted carpets for a hotel roll-out.

Because we have over 40 years of experience, we can assist you in finding the right rug for your space.

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