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2004/136/3 Senneh kilim (flatweave rug), wool, tapestry weave, Kurdish village weaver, northwest Iran, 1850-1900. Click to enlarge.

Senneh kilim from northwest Persia

This densely patterned woollen kilim (a flatweave rug) was woven by a settled Kurdish weaver in the Senneh region of northwest Iran (formerly Persia). The fineness of the tapestry weave and the use of curving wefts are characteristic of these lovely old Senneh kilims. Senneh kilims, especially those woven in the 1800s, are regarded as the finest in the region; their curved wefts are worked at an angle to the warp and produce a more curvilinear design. Although closely resembling Senneh carpets in appearance and design, these village rugs do not necessarily originate from Senneh however as they were also woven in the adjacent areas of Kurdistan.

The rug is part of a collection of five rugs and three nomadic trappings covering the main carpet making regions of Asia, from western Turkey across Iran into Central Asia. The collection was given to the Powerhouse Museum by Dr George Soutter to acknowledge the achievements of the Oriental Rug Society of NSW, an affiliated society of the Museum, to emphasise the significance of the Museum's rug collection and to encourage its growth. The collection, which includes floor coverings and tent partitions, horse decorations and saddle bags, documents different types of rugs and trappings and highlights their varying functions.

Christina Sumner, Curator Decorative Arts & Design, 2004


Object No.


Object Statement

Senneh kilim (flatweave rug), wool, tapestry weave, Kurdish village weaver, northwest Iran, 1850-1900

Physical Description

Senneh kilim (flatweave rug), wool, tapestry weave, Kurdish village weaver, northwest Iran, 1850-1900

A finely woven white-ground wool kilim with an overall design featuring a large dark blue-ground diamond pattern in the centre. Both field and diamond are intricately patterned with the floral herati design whose motifs are loosely arranged in lengthways bands. The main border alternates flowers and botehs within a black meander, while the guard stripes contain small scrolling flowers and leaves. The colours include varying shades of blue, red, pink and yellow with the addition of black and natural white wool.



1400 mm



Kilims, like this example from the Senneh region of northwest Iran, are flatweave rugs. They are often made using tapestry weave, in which the wefts are discontinuous, ie not extending from selvage to selvage. Tapestry wefts change colour to suit the design, turning back on themselves and often creating slits at the vertical colour junctions. In Senneh kilims however, these slits are largely avoided through the use of slanting or curved wefts, which are worked at an angle to the warp and enable a more curvilinear and much finer design.



The Senneh kilim has been in the private collection of the donor, Dr George Soutter, for over twenty years. It was exhibited in the 1983 exhibition 'Unravelling the rug puzzle' in Stage One of the Powerhouse Museum, and published in the catalogue of the same name on page 23. The kilim was later exhibited in 'Flowers of the loom' at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and published in the accompanying catalogue on page 39. Both exhibitions were curated by members of the Oriental Rug Society of NSW.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Dr George Soutter, 2004

Acquisition Date

8 October 2004

Cite this Object


Senneh kilim from northwest Persia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 February 2021, <https://ma.as/348173>


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