The city of Herat is, strictly speaking, not Persian, as it is outside the present boundary of that country, and on account of its geographical position is often spoken of as the key to India. The Herat carpets are, however, classed as Persian fabrics. Old Herat rugs are seldom encountered in the market, but new ones of good quality may be purchased any day. The Herati design is the most widely copied of any pattern and is common to a great variety of rugs. It is as characteristica feature of the Ferehan as of the real Herat, but is used only in the field of the Ferehan carpet and is much smaller and less clearly drawn. The Herati design is never employed in the border of the Ferehan rug, which has a distinctive border of its own, consisting usually of three stripes, the middle one of alternating rosettes and palmettes upon a waving vine wrought upon a pale green background. The Senna knot is always employed in these rugs, while the Ghiordes knot is always used in the Herat rugs and is one of the distinguishing features of this make of carpet. The Herati design is of very ancient origin. By some authorities it is claimed to be of Chinese origin, and by others of Egyptian. The lancet like leaves representing the sacred fish of Isis an the lotus like rosette certainly suggest Egyptian derivation as very possible. In this design the four petals of the blossom are sometimes pegged down to the ground to serve as a pattern to the weaver and are so represented in the carpet. The leaves are also frequently prolonged so they meet those of the next series until thet form a sort of trellis.
The Herat rug shown in the illustration is one of a pair that I bought in a house in the interior of Turkey. They had covered the long low divans of the guest room for forty years, and were old rugs when they were purchased by this family. Only the lapse of many years could have produced the exquisite colouring and silken sheen characterizing them. The border as well as the field is covered with the Herati design. The Ferehan in the illustration is an old carpet containing the best traditions of this weave.