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Glossary

 

S

Safavid Dynasty
An Iranian dynasty beginning with Ismail I in 1501 and ending with Shah Sultan Hussein in 1722.

Safflower
A yellow dye is produced from the orange flowers of safflower (Carthamus tinctoria). This dye may have been used in some early rugs of China, India and Tibet. The flowers also produce seeds, which contain oil used for cooking, cosmetics, paints, and medicine.

Saffron
A plant (Crocus sativus) with purple or white flowers with orange stigmas. The dried aromatic stigmas are used as food coloring, cooking spice, and dyestuff. Saffron may have been used to dye some early rugs of China, India and the Balkans.

Samarkand
A city in Uzbekistan, which was used as a market place for rugs, and it is also known as the oldest city of central Asia.

Semi-antique
Rugs between 25 to 60 years old.

Shah Abbas
The Iranian Shah (1588-1629) of the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). The art of rug weaving reached its peak during his reign.

Shah Abbasi All-over
Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs in an all-over layout. See Shah Abbasi and islimi.

Shah Abbasi Medallion-and-Corner
A design consisting of a circular or diamond-shape medallion filled with Shah Abbasi motifs with Shah Abbasi pendants. If there are corners, then the corners will also be filled with Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs. The field also contains Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs. See Shah Abbasi and islimi.

Shah Abbasi motif
A group of palmettes that can be seen in all-over and medallion layouts as well as in borders. This motif is frequently seen in rugs of Kashan,Esfahan, Mashad, Nain, and in rugs of countries which copy Persian styles such as India, China and Pakistan.
Sheikh Lotfollah's Mosque
A famous mosque in Esfahan, Iran built during the reign of Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). One very common rug design is based on a large round medallion resembling the tile (mosaic) work of the interior of the dome of the Sheikh Lotfollah's Mosque.

Sheikh Safi Medallion-and-Corner 
Sheikh Safi who was an ancestor of the Safavid dynasty lived in the 14th century. Sheikh Safi medallion-and-corner copies the dome of Sheikh Safi's shrine located in the city of Ardabil in northwest of Iran. The Sheikh Safi medallion is surrounded by 16 leaf-like pendants; two lamps are also connected to the medallion, one to the top and one to the bottom. The corners look very similar to the medallion itself. This is also the design of the two famous Ardabil carpets now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum.

Silk
Comes from the cocoon of silkworms. Because it is an expensive fiber, it is less frequently used as a pile material in handmade rugs than wool.

Size
This attribute refers to the measurements of a rug. Handmade rugs are made in different sizes and shapes. Only rectangular shapes have been assigned standard sizes because most handmade rugs are rectangular. Size is a very important factor in pricing a handmade rug. Therefore, understanding the units of measurement used in determining the dimensions of a rug are important. The length and width of rugs can be expressed in both the British Imperial System (feet and inches) and the Metric System (meters and centimeters).

Soumak
A group of flat-woven rugs where no knots are used in the weave.

Spain
Spain is located in Southern Europe. The capital of Spain is Madrid. Spain is the oldest European producer of handmade rugs. Today, Spain is one of few European countries, which still produces handmade rugs. However, because only a limited number of rugs are produced, very few Spanish rugs reach the foreign market place.

Spandrels
The four corner elements in a medallion and corner layout.

Style
Style could be defined as the way different motifs, colors and patterns give character to a rug.

Sumac
Any of various small trees of the Rhus family with compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and usually red, hairy fruit. The wood of the sumac tree may have been used as a yellow dye in rugs of China.

Swastika
An ancient design shaped by a cross with four equal arms which bend at right angles. This design, which could also be a religious symbol, is used by many cultures. In some cultures it represents the sun. Swastikas are frequently used in the field and border of rugs. A version of swastika became the official symbol of Nazi Germany in 1935.

Symmetrical, Turkish, or Ghiordes Knot
The symmetrical knot is used in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes. It is also used in some European rugs. To form this knot, yarn is passed over two neighboring warp strands. Each end of the yarn is then wrapped behind one warp and brought back to the surface in the middle of the two warps.

Synthetic Dyes
Dyes made chemically beginning in the mid-nineteenth century for dyeing weaving yarns used in rugs.

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