What is the mahi design?
Mahi, is a pattern easily recognized and readily available. The more appropriate term is “herati,” named for the city of Herat in what is now Afghanistan. The mahi/fish/herati motif is one of the most common patterns found in Oriental rugs in general and in Persian rugs in particular. It is a repeating design, usually small-scale, of rosettes surrounded by lancet leaves. The mahi rug may feature a central medallion or an overall motif, and the general appearance suggests fish in a pond. Persian rugs with this design are woven in Hamadan (Hosseinabad), Sarab Meshayekhi, Tabriz, Bijar, Saroukh and many other places. What is nice about this repetitive design is that even though the basic idea is very simple, the weaver can still be quite innovative. This type of rug can often be a problem solver for designers. The mahi rug is ideal for those who don’t like large bold, floral or geometric patterns; it is a compromise between curvilinear and angular designs. Some clients report that the small fish design is so busy that it is not busy at all. Almost every rug-weaving country has copied the mahi pattern. The Indian version, especially the Indo-Bijar, is somewhat notorious. Be certain to find out the provenance if you are considering purchasing a mahi rug. Perhaps the best known of the Persian mahi rugs are woven in the city of Tabriz. If there is one type of rugs in which the number of knots per square inch counts, it is in the Tabriz mahi design. The tighter weaves of Tabriz are commonly referred to as Maralan. Tabriz usually has silk highlights, which the seller may suggest justifies a higher price, but the better gauge is in tightness of weave. What is the difference between Persian and Oriental rugs? Although they are often used interchangeably, these terms are not synonymous. The term “Oriental” is a much more general designation and is commonly used when the speaker cannot identify the specific origin of a rug. Orient is a colonial term used to distinguish the peoples and cultures east of Constantinople (Istanbul) from those of the Western world, or the Occident. It means “non-European” or “not us.” When we speak of a rug as being Oriental, we may mean that it is from Turkey or China or anywhere in between. For a rug expert, a Persian rug is any rug woven in Iran. This term also has its problems because Iran is a county of multiple nations. For example Turks, Kurds and Beluch living within the borders of Iran are not Persians, yet their rugs are advertised as Persian.