Persian carpet is one of the oldest handicraft in the world. The oldest Persian carpet is located in Hermitage Museum and is called Pazyryk. This carpet is about 2500 years old.
The advanced technique used in the Pazyryk carpet indicates a long history of evolution and experience in weaving. It is considered the oldest known carpet in the world
Much of the progression of the Persian carpet lies in conjunction with the various rulers of the country throughout time when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he was struck by it’s splendor and many historians credit him for introducing the art of carpet making into Persia. It is said that the tomb of Cyrus, who was buried at Pasargadae near Persepolis, was covered with precious carpets. Even before his time, it is very likely that Persian nomads created at least very simple designs for their own homes. Their herds of sheep and goats provided them with high quality and durable wool for this purpose.
A Persian carpet or Persian rug is a heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purpose, produced in Iran for home use, local sale and export. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and Iranian art.
Famous traditional Iranian carpets making areas include Mashhad, Tabriz, Arak, Isfahan, Kashan and Kerman. Well-known varieties of Persian rugs some from the aforementioned towns include the Khorasan, Meshed, Herat, Shiraz, Korman, Tabriz, Senna, Sarouk, Heraz, Hamedan, Sultanabad and Isfahan. Among some other rug-making towns are regions include Bakhtiar, Bidjar, Bakshaish and Heriz, Foreghan, Bibikabad, Tehran, Qom, Joshegan, Malayer and Sarab.
Iran use some materials for their carpets such as wool, cotton and silk.
In most Persian rugs, the pile is of sheep wool, it’s characteristics and quality vary from each area to the next, depending on the breed of sheep, climatic conditions, pasturage and the particular customs relating to when and how the wool is shorn and processed.
Cotton forms the foundation of warps and wefts of he majority of modern rugs.
Silk is an expensive material and has been used for representative carpets. Silk pile can be used to highlight special elements of the design. High quality carpets from Kashan, Qom, Nain and Isfahan have all-silk piles.
Moreover, Iran have some different kinds of carpets like Gabbeh, kilim, Jajim, Silk verni ,…
Gabbeh is a hand-woven rug characterized by an abstract design that relies upon field of color and a playfulness with geometry. The Gabbeh is usually crafted by women. Gabbeh carpets are much thicker and coarser than other Persian carpets. Gabbeh are made of natural, handspun wool yarn and all the colors are crafted with natural plant dye. Due to it’s less precise pattern, small number of knots. A Gabbeh is one of the less expensive varieties of Persian carpet. The patterns of the carpet are of a simple type with only few elements of decorative, mostly rectangular objects containing animals.
Weavers from India have acted quickly to copy these carpets but one must pay attention to this, there is a major difference between a Persian and an Indo Gabbeh. Mostly this can be determined by the quality of the wool that is noticeable, the Persian variant is much softer and also much more durable and the quality Is definitely better.
A Kilim is a flat tapestry-woven carpet or rug traditionally produced in countries of the former Ottoman Empire, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkic countries of central Asian. Kilims can be purely decorative or can function as prayer rugs. Modern Kilims are popular floor-covering in western households.
Jajim is flat weaves made in narrow panels to very great length, Almost by the hand of one woman from the spinning to the finish, usually on a horizontal loom. There is a great tradition of flat weaves of this type, always with stripes as a dominant feature in the design. Jajim were made in many areas throughout the country like East Azerbayjan, Ardebil, Kermanshah, Kordestan, Hamedan, Lorestan, Mazandaran and Fars.
Carpets and rugs woven in different towns and regional centers and each of them have a differences. Here we discover most of them.
These are high quality traditional Iranian carpets with a wool, silk pile and a cotton or silk warp. The patterns range from teardrop medallions to floral, trees and hunting scenes.
These traditional Iranian carpets are distinguished with their brightness. These are very high quality and are sent to generations. Heriz carpets are with a double or triple outline and large corner pieces.
The medallion and corner pattern on an ornately patterned floral field is a trademark of Kashan rugs. The colors used in the designing is usually a combination of deep blues, rich reds and ivory with occasional splotches of yellow, green and burnt orange.
Woven by Qashqai and Luri weavers in the Zagros mountains, the tribal influence is very evident in Gabbeh carpets.
The design of Isfahan carpets is very balanced and symmetrical. Typically it will consist of a single indigo, rose or blue medallion surrounded by vines and woven on an ivory background.
The designs of Shiraz carpets tend to come from settled tribal weavers so they mimic Qashqai, Khamesh (Basseri and Khamesh Arabs), Afshar, Abadeh and Luri designs. The rugs of Bassari trib,one of the Persian tribes of Fars province, is famous by it’s colorful designs. Orange is the specific color of Bassari rugs
The best of Hamedan carpets are sold under their own names such as Nahavand, Tuiserkhan, Malayer or Hosseinabad. Among individual patterns the Herati is the most common patterns. The colors are dominated by different nuances of indigo blue and madder red.
Nain carpets are high quality with very fine quality wool. The patterns are very intricate and usually consist of blue or green intertwined branches with tiny flowers woven on a white or light ivory background.
Mashhad carpets typically feature a lone, oversized Shah Abbasi medallion in the center on an elaborate background filled with floral motifs in a curvilinear design. These rugs are usually large with a wool pile and a cotton foundation.
Because of their nomadic tribal original, you will rarely find a large sized Baluch carpets. These small rugs have simple geometric patterns and are woven with sheep wool that is dyed blue or dark red.
Qom carpets are very high quality traditional Iranian carpets that are tightly knotted with a luxurious pile of silk or cotton and intricate designs that include a combination of flowers, birds, medallions, hunting scenes and gardens in dark blue, reddish brown or orange. Turquoise is always used in some element in a Qom carpets.
Varamin carpets have geometric patterns with repeated medallions, especially on runners. There are made by tribal people who either live in or pass by Varamin. The principle colors used in Varamin carpets are usually dark brown and dark red or dark blue backgrounds. The most common design among Varamin rug is the ‘Mina Khani’ design. The foundation is mostly made of cotton.
Qashqai rugs bring a unique approach to the Persian rug market. The Qashqai find themselves adorned with prominent. Thorough designs paired with luminous colors across their composition. These rugs foundations is wool. Aside from red, the other colors usually found in a Qashqai are a dark blue or light yellow.
The Ardebil carpets are a pair of famous Iranian carpets in the collections of Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Los Angeles Museum of Art. The foundation is of silk with wool.
Persian rugs from northern Iran
Kelardasht, Bandar-Turkamen, Roudbar, Qazvin are the most famous cities in this region. All of the carpets from this region are in a tribal formats, which means they have triangular patterns. All Turkmen rugs have geometric patterns. Dark red is the dominant color in Turkmen rugs. Qazvin rugs usually have curvilinear patterns. Dark red and powerful blue colors predominate with ivory forming a beautiful contrast.
Bakhtiari rugs are woven in the province of Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari located in west central Iran. The pattern of Bakhtiari rugs tends to be mostly geometric, sometimes semi-geometric and seldom curvilinear. What distinguishes Bakhtiari rugs from other rugs in that they are colorful and bright, their design also tends to be very crowded. The commonly used colors include deep reds, bright blues, navy, green, brown, ocher and beige. Bakhtiari rugs maybe sold under specific village name where they are woven such as Chahalshotur, Saman or Farah Dumbah. The very fine-knotted Bakhtiari rugs are sometimes referred to as ‘ Bibibaffs’ which means “woven by a woman” in Persian. The specific Bakhtiari carpets’ name is Chaleshtor.
Bidjar is the name of a small Kurdish town in western Iran. Kurdish carpets are often very strong and compact. The most common patterns is the Herati ( also called fish pattern ), but also medallions and floral motifs occur.
The city of Zanjan lies in the north-western areas of Iran. Zanjan carpets are renowned for their rich, bright and exotic colors. The foundations of these rugs are either cotton or a cotton/wool mix. Colors used to tend to be dark reds, brown and light blue with geometric designs which make them appear very similar to Bijar rugs.
Sultanabad and Mahal rugs are produced in the area around the city of Arak, which has a history of rug weaving dating back to the Mid-17th century. Mahal and Sultanabad carpets where made using deeper blues and reds with white backgrounds. The design has been well executed with good symmetry and interesting floral motifs.
Malayer rugs were woven in the small town of Malayer, located south of Hamedan on the road to Arak. The designs range from diamond or hexagon shaped medallions to all-over patterns such as the classic Herati pattern. Malayer carpets where made using dark blues and reds.
At the end, Iranian carpets are known for their richness and beauty. characteristic and quality of traditional Iranian carpets differ particularly when created in different areas.
For many families soft, hand-woven wool Persian rugs were the most valuable possession they had.