Introduction to Antique Sultanabad Rugs
In 1883, Ziegler and Co. of Manchester, England, established a Persian carpet workshop in Sultanabad, Iran, an area known as Arak. Ziegler & Co. employed designers from major western department stores, such as B. Altman & Co. in New York and Liberty of London, to adapt and re-color traditional 16th and 17th century Safavid designs for the more restrained western taste. In addition, traditional local dying techniques were improved, creating new possibilities in color and tonality.
With large scale, allover patterns and softer palettes than their vibrant Persian counterparts, Persian antique Sultanabad rugs and carpets attracted an immediate following leading to a demand for Persian rugs from the Sultanabad area. Subsequently, until the early 20th century a large number of oriental carpets were exported from Persia to both European and American shores. Stylistically, this group of Persian antique Sultanabad rug weavings is still regarded as the most compelling to European and American taste. The Ziegler or Sultanabad nomenclature continues to be used in denoting an outstanding antique Mahal rug from the 19th century.