Saruk is a town 25 miles north of Arak on the old road to Hamedan. It has a long carpet weaving history.
At the end of nineteenth century Saruk was already known in Persia for it’s excellent weave. They used to weave rug sizes only. Very tightly woven and clipped thin with stiff backs. Designs were medallion.
In early twentieth century the name Saruk was applied to any closely woven carpet or rug in western Farahan. However, the early Saruks were very different. They were mostly medallion designs on a cream and dark blue grounds. Rose grounds were unknown. They were closely woven and their pile was cut short.
In many of the earlier pieces because the village weavers had not mastered the art of weaving from scale-paper the designs were wrongly executed.
After 1913 execution improved considerably. Gradually weaving from scale-paper spread through out the whole of Arak. This technique is used in all qualities except Meshkabad and Mahal.
After World War I America was a steady market for finer Persian qualities and the early type of Saruk was not what the importers over there wanted. There were 3 criteria which had to be met for that market:
1. A sturdy construction with a high pile to withstand alkali washing.
2. Floral designs covering the whole field of the carpet.
3. 90% Rose ground.
Thus in the 1915s the modern Saruk carpet was born. Machine spun cotton was used for the warp and the thin weft and handspun for the thicker weft. The yarn was handspun and of good quality and designs well executed.
As the continental demand fell the demand from America for the two cheaper grades rose.
Arak designs in the 1910s to 1960s were not very distinguished mainly because of its cheap and medium qualities.
The dyes in Arak in the 1940s were mainly vegetable dyes apart from indigo and some good quality Swiss dyes, which was used for medium blues and also green.
Since 1980s there has been a large revival of hand spun wool and natural dye weaving in the area; with producers getting more organised to produce to order. This has increased the variety of designs coming from the area.