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Mahallat or Mahal carpets

Mahallat or Mahal carpets

Mahal carpets are made in the city of Mahallat, which is located in the Arak (Markazi) province of west-central Iran. Carpet weaving in the region can be traced back for centuries. Because of Mahallat's location, the carpets of the region have Kurdish and Turkish influences. The fact that the Mahal carpets feature tribal and curved designs can be directly attributed to the fact that Mahallat is situated between the cities of Arak and Delijan. Skilled craftsmen use either Turkish or Persian knots depending on the style they are weaving.


Mahal, also known as Mahallat, is a city in Arak (Markazi) Province in west-central Iran. Mahal carpets have been on the market since the last quarter of the 19th century.
The designs of the Mahal rugs are semi-geometric, with medallion or all-over designs. Mahal rugs are influenced by the Sultanabad style but have more patterns spread throughout the rug. The designs show large palmettes with leaves and tendrils, Harshang (crab), Herati (fish), Minakhani (rosette trellis), open field with central medallion, Maighan design and other traditional motifs.
Mahal are generally brick red, dark blue or ivory in the fields and borders. Green, red, blue, beige, gold, camel, cinnamon, gray and brown tones are used for the design elements and contours. Mahal carpets are characterized by their ease of use and their loose weave. The carpets have a cotton ground and a wool pile tied with the Persian (asymmetrical) knot. They are generally of medium to good quality. Mahal sizes range from small mats to large carpets. Runners and gallery formats can also be found in the antique rug market.
Towards the end of the 20th century, some Mahal weavers abandoned traditional designs and made rugs and mats similar to those of other towns and villages in the region to meet domestic and foreign export demand.

The characteristics of the Mahallat carpet

Patterns: All variants of the Arak and Qom patterns are used in Mahallat. These include Gol-Farang, Lachak-Toranj (locket), Kheshti Bakhtiar, Daste Goli (bouquet), Derakhti (tree), Shah Abbasi locket and Shah Abbasi Afshan (scatter).

Raw Materials: Following the example of Qom and Arak, the main raw materials of Mahallat carpets are wool and silk. In recent years, the use of silk for both warp and weft has become more common, particularly in the village of Nakhjiran.

This village is one of the most densely populated areas where immigrant carpet weavers from Qom live and work. In other villages in Mahallat, wool is the main material for the veils. The warp and weft are made of cotton yarn.

Measurements: The Mahallat carpet weavers call their main sizes zaronim (1×1/5), dozar (2/10×1/35), six meters and rarely nine meters. Larger sizes and runners are rather rare in Mahallat.

Technical characteristics of the Mahallat carpet

Number of Knots: There are many old Mahal carpets where the number of knots varies between 20 and 25 knots per 7 cm. In the new ones the number varies between 30 and 35 and it is possible to reach up to 50 knots per 7 cm, especially in Mahallat itself.

node type: The asymmetric (Persian) knot is the standard knot in the Mahallat. Symmetrical (Turkish) knots are rare.

Loom: The Mahal frames are vertical and fixed.

frame warp: Both Turkish and Persian styles are common in Mahallat. There was also a fusion style that is not very common today.


“Errors and mistakes excepted”

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