9’3″ x 12’1″
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While carpets of this type take their name from the district of Mahallat, they were generally produced in and around the town of Arak, formerly known as Sultanabad. It is very interesting to note how the town of Sultanabad came into existence. It is said that well over a century ago – in the early 1800’s – the principal market town of the area was Mushkabad, which was also the administrative center for the district. The story goes that there was some disturbance in the district – probably over taxes – and that the then Shah of Persia, one Fath Ali Shah, ordered the town “pounded to pieces” by artillery. When the job was finished, he founded the town of Sultanabad, so that Mushkabad would not be given the opportunity to regain its importance by rising from a mound of rubble. It, to this day, remains a melancholy reminder of the whim of a stupid Prince!
It is also important to note that this area did not contain much value in ancient times and was therefore ignored by Seljuk and Mongol invaders – suffering little from their deprivations – and thus allowing the weaving art to flourish. These carpets exhibit colors, and combinations of colors, that are highly sought after by the design trade. And really, this is very easy to understand, in as much as these carpets have been the “children” of European designers of the nineteenth century who influenced much about the way they look. At one point, as much as 90% of the carpets produced there went to Europe.
That work by those designers was long lasting, as these colors are now, and always will be, in great demand along with designs intended to be formal but executed in a somewhat naive, stylized manner by the weavers.