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American Sarouq

What is an America Sarouq

Sarouq is village in north-western Iran. It is renowned for producing good (and sometimes great) carpets typically in all-over floral design and, on occasion, animal motifs. What distinguishes Sarouqs from other Persian rugs is that their variation became part of the American heritage.

In the 1920s, between WWI and WWII, a number of Sarouq rugs reached the shores of America. They were made the way people in Sarouq made them for generations: naturally dyed peach-rose coloured fields, blue borders and busy floral patterns.

The American consumers did not fall in love with the colour and  stocks of Sarouqs began piling up and collecting dust in showrooms across the country.

Then, a New York-based company came to the rescue; Rug Renovating was commissioned to hand re-dye several samples of the ‘sitting ducks’, and change the light pink into deep burgundy red. It was a desperate experiment that worked a miracle.

It was love at first sight this time, and hundreds of hundreds of Sarouq rugs were re-painted by Rug Renovating  firm over the following  decades. The new, re-invented rug was named the American Sarouq.  

The ‘painted Sarouq’, as it is also called, survived as fashion nearly up to the second half of the 20th century, but its story does not end there.

In the 1970s, some American, or ‘painted’ Sarouqs appeared in Germany. Again, they were not too popular at first.  

Then some German importers decided to chemically strip them of the burgundy paint which resulted in yet another colour change;  American Sarouqs that appealed to the German consumers had a lively brick red and silver shine.  Sales in high volume continued for years

‘First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin’ (-) Leonard Cohen

For more stories on rug colouring  experiments wait for our upcoming  article  London Wash

If fluent in Italian, read La ritintura del “Saruq americano” in Vaghireh Pubblication 

A.G.

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