Mir rugs originate from the Arak province of Western Persia. They used to be referred to as 'Seraband' (also spelled Saraband) rugs in the 19th and 20th century but for unknown reasons have more recently been called Mir rugs. Mir and Seraband rugs are very popular pieces commercially, as they have relatively standardised designs that are available in a vast variety of sizes.
Characteristics of Mir and Seraband Rugs
Mir rugs are easy to distinguish from other Persian rugs as the majority feature the same trademark design- an all-over 'Boteh' (known as Paisley in the west) pattern in the foreground, which is framed by a large geometric border. Most weavers have their own variation on this signature style and occasionally may also incorporate a central medallion with corner pieces as seen in the example below, the core design however tends to remain the same.
Mir rugs are made with wool which is hand-knotted onto cotton warp strings (the warp strings form the carpet's foundations). They are woven with the highest quality of wool that can be used for a floor covering, called 'Kork' in Farsi. As a result the rugs have a beautiful sheen and are extremely soft to the touch.
Any rug from the region woven in the 19th and 20th century is referred to as a Saraband rug. They are nearly identical to modern day Mir rugs but tend to have a lower pile, which results in a more clearly defined foreground. The quality of Mir and Saraband rugs is nevertheless equal as the knotting in both is identical. A traditional Saraband rug can be seen above.
Pictured below are more examples of Mir and Seraband Rugs. In order: Mir rug, Seraband rug.