Persian Carpets Are the Best Quality Carpets in the World and Here Is Why
Since ancient times, Persia has been known for their unnaturally perfect talent and style of carpet-weaving. This subject is essential to understanding the Persian culture The way carpet-weaving is done in Persia is without a doubt unique and not to mention historical.
Persian Carpets – The Highest Levels of Art
The craftsmanship of the Persian carpet is in such way that looking into its pattern is like looking at a pool of beautifully mixed colors, representing a universe of magnificence and beauty. Persia, the ancient Persian name of Iran, is world’s most superior culture in carpet manufacturing. The art of weaving and dying is inherited and carpets of all styles and sizes are made in different parts of Iran.
History of Persian Carpets and Rugs
This artistic creation traces its origins back 2500 years, and has not stopped improving over time. It has become richer and more beautiful through ages. Persians were the first carpet weavers of the ancient civilizations. In ancient Persia most carpets were custom-made and hand-woven and each of the patterns belonged to different tribes so no two carpet patterns were identical and over time, these carpets and their pattern became meaningful symbols of nomadic cultures.
Persian Carpets are the best in the world
The Persian carpet is considered to be the finest in its own category and thus is one of the highest levels of art that was ever achieved by mankind to this day. By tracing back the lineage of the Persian carpet, you would be familiarizing yourself with one of the world’s greatest civilizations. If you learn the meanings of Persian carpets’ patterns, you will be able to “read a carpet” and story behind it and its creator. The Persian carpet patterns are named after the city, village, or tribe that the patterns were first woven. Most Persian patterns usually include curved shapes, and carpet and weaving experts believe the curved-design weaving is much more difficult to make than simple geometric patterns.
Persian Carpets’ Popularity
Due to this nature, the Persian carpet has always received international praise. Given the fact that this kind of carpet is considered invaluable, you can always find them in museums, palaces, the home of the wealthy populations, and so on. The designs of Persian carpets have been copied and used by weavers from all over the world. Iran is the world’s biggest handmade carpet and rug producer and exporter by producing more than 75 percent of the world’s total output. In spite of competition from other countries, traditional Persian carpets are still very popular especially because of their artistic value. Persian handmade carpets are also well known for their longevity. Even the earliest Persian Carpets are now in existence.
The First Persian Carpet
The first, or should we say, the carpet that was discovered the earliest was by a Russian professor called Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in the year 1949 whilst excavating graves in Altai mountains located in Siberia. Interesting fact is that this carpet could have easily been destroyed. The reason behind it was a grave robbery that took place. The robbers raided the gravesite, but they left an opening. Through this opening, water (most probably caused by rain) poured into the mound and froze. The opening was frozen from the cold and this way, the carpet was protected.
The Pazyryk Carpet
This rug is currently being preserved in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad in Russia, one of the world’s largest museums of art and human culture. This carpet is 183 by 200 centimeters (72 by 79 inches) and has 36 symmetrical knots per cm² (232 per inch²). Pazyryk carpet’s visuals are a deep red-colored center plus two borders on the sides, one showing a deer and another showing a Persian rider riding a horse. This rug has a Chiordes knot. It is assumed to be from the 5th century B.C.
There is another rug which was also found in this area. This one had a Senneh knot, and is thought to be much older than the previous one, dating back to the 1st century B.C.
But still these are not the oldest carpets that belonged to Persia. According to historical statements, Cyrus the Great’s courts and halls were full of breath-taking and fascinating carpets. Also in classic stories, we are told that Alexander the great finds many glorious carpets inside Cyrus the Great’s burial mound.
Common Characteristics of Persian Carpets
At first Persian Nomads used to hand weave carpets with wool from their sheep and natural silk. They made dyes from vegetables. With patterns and motifs incorporated into the weaving, these carpets became the finest form of art. Persian carpets were durable, long-lasting, and their natural colors hardly faded. The symbols used in these Persian carpets were usually medallions, trees, geometric shapes, and flowers.
Different Types of Persian Carpets
- Heriz Carpets: Heriz rugs are one of the most famous rugs from Iran, because of their very unique and distinguishable style. Heriz is a city in East Azerbaijan in northwestern part of Iran. Heriz rugs usually have oversized geometric medallions that are crisply delineated against a rich red, rust or dark blue field. The antique Heriz carpet is probably the most popular of the Persian village carpets. Heriz carpets, with their high wool quality, are famous for their longevity.
- Tabriz Carpets: Tabriz has been a center of carpet production longer than any other city in Iran, perhaps for hundreds or even thousands of years. Since the middle of the 19th century, Tabriz has led the renascence in Persian carpet weaving both for domestic use in Iran and also for export to different parts of the world. Tabriz carpets are symmetrically knotted. The material used in Tabriz carpets are wool, silk, or a combination of the two.
- Isfahan Carpets: Isfahan carpets are very balanced and symmetrical. Typically it will consist of geometric medallions, trees with animals surrounded by vines and woven on an ivory background, vase and garden. The ancient buildings and architectural history of Isfahan have influenced the rug designs of this city. Especially the famous mosque of Shah Lutf Allah is a particular inspiration for many of the carpets woven in Isfahan.
- Kashan Carpets: Kashan carpets are among the very finest Persian rugs and carpets from Iran. Since the late nineteenth century most Kashan rugs are made of wool, although their wool is sometimes known for its exceptional, silk-like softness though their older pieces are made from pure silk. The finished texture of Kashan rugs is normally tight, yet soft to the touch. In these carpets they usually would use natural dyes like vegetable to achieve this unique texture. They are woven to have 120 knots per square inch to a maximum of around 840 knots per square inch. The common design of Kashan carpets include medallion—curve linear motifs like palmettos, leaves and arabesques designs.
- Nain Carpets: Nain carpets are woven in the city of Nain in Isfahan province. These carpets have a high reputation and are very popular especially because of the level knot density, often more than one million knots per square meter. The special characteristic of Nain carpet is the high percentage of silk that is used in making of these carpets. The colors of Nain carpets have been influenced by Isfahan carpets. Nain carpet patterns with a medallion in the center and arabesques and floral motifs are common which is also similar to Isfahan carpets.
- Mashhad Carpets: Mashhad is located in the northeastern part of Iran in province of Khorasan. Mashhad has been a prominent center of the carpet weaving industry for centuries. Mashhad carpets are knotted asymmetrical and have a knot density between 160,000 and 350,000 knots per square meter. Most of the Mashhad carpets have corner-medallion design strewn with flowers and very busy curvilinear floral motifs in the background. The center medallion can be either a geometric or more free form pattern. Mashhad carpets are mostly double-wefted, with ridged-back construction. Dark red, blue, and khaki are the main colors in Mashhad carpets.
- Qum Carpets: The city of Qum is located 140 kilometer to the south of Tehran. Qum carpets are considered to be among the most beautiful and the most exclusive Persian carpets and one the main reasons is the thin threads of silk used in these rugs which show small fine details like wrinkles, drapes and fine lines in their designs. In Qum carpets gardens, medallions or figural carpets with plant and animal motifs are common. Most of these carpets are small to medium in size and are regarded as the world’s finest silk carpets.
- Tribal Carpets: These rugs usually feature primitive designs and limited colors, mostly reds and blues. The nomadic nature of the weavers plays a major influencing role into how the finish product turns out. Examples of tribal rugs include Gabbeh, Bakhtyari, and Belouchi.
Measuring the Quality of a Carpet
The knot density and the country of origin are key factors in measuring the quality of a carpet. As mentioned before Persian carpets have the highest quality but what about the other factor? Knot density is a traditional method for evaluating quality of handmade carpets. The knot density is the number of knots per square meter typically either per square inch (kpsi) or per square centimeter (kpsc). The quality of carpet is related to the number of knots per unit area this means if two carpets are from the same country and completely identical, the one with the higher number of knots will be the more valuable. In a simple word, the more knots, the higher the quality.
Authentic Hand-made Persian Carpets
Since handmade Persian carpets are hand woven, they may not have the perfect symmetry and a perfect design on the back as well as the front of the rug and that actually makes them more valuable. On the contrary machine made rugs will always be perfect on the front as well as the back of the rug.
Interesting Facts about Persian Carpets
Here are some interesting points about Persian carpets:
- Around 5 million square meters of carpets are produced in Iran each year. These carpets are mostly sold in international bazaars and markets.
- 3/4th of the world’s output on carpets is produced by Iran, making this country the world’s largest exporter of this popular, handmade art.
- Also, Iran holds the record for producing history’s largest carpet up to date. (The carpet is 5,624.9 square meters). It was created for the Abu Dhabi mosque and was measured in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 2007. The carpet was created in 9 parts and assembled in the mosque. The carpet would have been around 6,000 square meters originally, but parts of it had to be taken away in order to fit it onto the floor in the mosque.
- Almost all Persian Carpets and Rugs – if they are truly hand-made and made well will increase in value over time. The older your rug, the more valuable it is. In fact, some rug merchants in the past wouldn’t sell a newly made carpet, instead waiting several years for it to age so it would bring more money.
Persian Carpet Size Categories
Basically, we can sort Persian rugs in three different size groups:
- A Farsh or Ghali is a carpet larger than 6×4 feet.
- A Ghaliche means a small rug would be a carpet about 6×4 feet and less. The Che suffix means small in Persian.
- A Gelim includes flat weaves and piled rugs.
Below you will find a picture of:
How a Ghalicheh (Small Ghali) is handmade:
And a picture of what a Gelim looks like:
Persian Carpet Designs
Generally Persian rugs are divided into 4 pattern designs:
- Central medallion
Sometimes some abstract unique designs can be seen in some carpets but mostly they are categorized as one-sided, and sometimes unidirectional.
Persian Carpet Gallery