This antique flatweave from Northwest Persia artfully blends formal Persian notions of space and proportion with folk elements from village weaving traditions in the Kurdish region of Northwest Persia. Here a column of two medallions floats against a red ground. Within these medallions and corner pieces the weaver has abstracted and rendered the various flowers and buds familiar to her. For the Kurdish villagers of this region, their flocks were not just a source of wealth but the foundation of their entire existence, providing meat and dairy as well as wool, which could be fashioned into clothing and domestic weavings such as this kilim. Rugs and klims could also be sold, providing enough value to purchase goods in the marketplaces of nearby towns. While men generally herded the flocks, weaving was exclusively the realm of women. Women would hand-spin the wool and bring it to local village dyers who would then generate colors from the various natural vegetal dye-stuffs that they could gather. The modulated red ground of this piece is the result of variation when dying in small batches with madder root. Instead of finishing with one spool and then proceeding to the next, here the weaver has chosen to modulate the color of the field creating bands of varying shade. This phenomenon is known in Farsi as ‘abrash’ and skill in its application is a hallmark of a master weaver. Throughout the Near East and Central Asia, madder was used to render colors on the red spectrum from orange to aubergine, while indigo from various plant sources exclusively rendered blues. Yellow—and hence green—differed greatly from region to region with various local plants, roots and flowers, each rendering suitable but differing tones. It is precisely this localized, un-mechanized mode and scale of production which gives genuine antique Oriental rugs their charm and distinctive character.