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History

The art of carpet weaving existed in Iran in ancient times, according to evidences and in the opinion of scientists. An example of such evidences is the 2500-year-old Pazyryk carpet dating back to 500 B.C., during the Achaemenid period.
The first documented evidence on the existence of Persian carpets came from Chinese texts dating back to the Sassanid period (224 - 641 CE).
This art underwent many changes in various eras of the Iranian history to an extent that it passed an upward trend before the Islamic era until the Mongols invasion of Iran. After the invasion, the art began to grow again during the reign of the Mongol dynasties of Timurid and Ilkhanid.
With the passage of time, the materials used in carpets, including wool, silk and cotton, decay. Therefore archaeologists are rarely able to make any particularly useful discoveries during archaeological excavations. What has remained from early times as evidence of carpet-weaving is nothing more than a few pieces of worn-out carpets. Such fragments do not help very much in recognizing the carpet-weaving characteristics of pre-Seljuk period (13th and 14th centuries AD) in Persia.


Pre-Islamic period

The Pazyryk Carpet, the oldest surviving carpet in the world, 5th century BC.pazyryk
In a unique archaeological excavation in 1949, the exceptional Pazyryk carpet was discovered among the ices of Pazyryk Valley, in Altai Mountains in Siberia. The carpet was found in the grave of a Scythian prince. Radiocarbon testing indicated that the Pazyryk carpet was woven in the 5th century BC.[4] This carpet is 283 by 200 cm (approximately 9.3 by 6.5 ft) and has 36 symmetrical knots per cm² (232 per inch²) The advanced weaving technique used in the Pazyryk carpet indicates a long history of evolution and experience in this art. Pazyryk carpet is considered as the oldest carpet in the world. Its central field is a deep red color and it has two wide borders, one depicting deer and the other Persian horseman.
Growing the Carpet weaving after Seljukids (TURKS) in Iran and finding the oldest carpet of Pazyryk in "Altai Mountains" and also not being any equal word in the Old and Modern Persian languages for it, obviously shows that the main inventors of carpet are the Turkish people. Even in Iran, the best Persian Rug comes from TABRIZ city, which is the Azeri-Turkic Speaking territory.
However, it believed that the carpet from Pazyryk is not likely a nomadic product, but a product of an Achaemenid carpet production centre.
Historical records show that the Achaemenian court of Cyrus the Great at Pasargade was decked with magnificent carpets. This was over 2500 years ago. Alexander II of Macedonia is said to have been dazzled by the carpets in the tomb area of Cyrus the Great at Pasargade.
By the sixth century, Persian carpets of wool or silk were renowned in court circles throughout the region. The Bahârestân (spring) carpet of Khosrow I was made for the main audience hall of the Sasanians imperial Palace at Ctesiphon in Sasanian province of Khvârvarân (nowadays Iraq). It was 450 feet (140 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide and depicted a formal garden. In 7th century CE With occupation of the Sasanian capital, Tuspawn, the Baharestan carpet was taken by the Arabs, cut into small fragments and divided among the victorious soldiers as booty.
According to historians, the famous Tāqdis throne was covered with 30 special carpets representing 30 days of a month and four other carpets representing the four seasons of a year.


Islamic period

From the yarn fiber to the colors, every part of the Persian carpet is traditionally hand made from natural ingredients over the course of many months.
In the 8th century A.D. Azarbaijan Province was among the largest centers of carpet and rough carpet (ziloo) weaving in Iran. The Province of Tabarestan, besides paying taxes, sent 600 carpets to the courts of caliphs in Baghdad every year. At that time, the main items exported from that region were carpets, and small carpets for saying prayers. Furthermore, the carpets of Khorassan, Sistan and Bukhara, because of their prominent designs and motifs were on high demands among purchasers.
During the reigns of the Seljuq and Ilkhanate dynasties, carpet weaving was still a booming business so much so that a mosque built by Ghazan Khan in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, was covered with superb Persian carpets. Sheeps were specially breeded to produce fine wool for weaving carpets. Carpet designs depicted by miniature paintings belonging to the Timurid era lend proof to the development of this industry at that time. There is also another miniature painting of that time available which depicts the process of carpet weaving.
During that era dyeing centers were set up next to carpet weaving looms. The industry began to thrive until the attack on Iran by the Mongol army.
The earliest surviving of the Persian carpets from this period is of a Safavid (1501-1736) carpet known as the Ardabil Carpet, currently in V&A Museum in London.This most famous of Persian carpets has been the subject of endless copies ranging in size from small carpets to full scale carpets. There is an 'Ardabil' at 10 Downing Street and even Hitler had an 'Ardabil' in his office in Berlin.
The carpets are woven in 1539-40 according to the dated inscriptions. The foundation is of silk and the pile of wool with a knot density at 300-350 knots per square inch ( 470-540.000 knots per square metres). The size of the carpets are 34 1/2 feet by 17 1/2 feet ( 10,5 metres x 5,3 metres).
There is much variety among classical Persian carpets of the 16th and 17th century. There are numerous sub-regions that contribute distinctive designs to Persian carpets of this period such as Tabriz and Lavar Kerman. Common motifs include scrolling vine networks, arabesques, palmettes, cloud bands, medallions, and overlapping geometric compartments rather than animals and humans. Figural designs are particularly popular in the Iranian market and are not nearly as common in carpets exported to the west.


Modern period


Although carpet production is now mostly mechanized, traditional hand woven carpets are still widely found all around the world, and usually have higher prices than their machine woven counterparts due to them being an artistic presentation. . There are an estimated population of 1.2 million weavers in Iran producing carpets for local markets as well as export. In recent times Iranian carpets have come under fierce competition from other countries producing fakes of the original Iranian designs as well as genuine cheaper substitutes. Most of the problems facing this traditional art is due to absence of patenting and branding the products as well as reduced quality of raw materials in the local market and the consistent loss of original design patterns. The absence of modern R&D, is causing rapid decline in the size as well as market value of this art.


Materials

Wool is the most common material for carpets but cotton is frequently used for the foundation of city and workshop carpets. Silk carpets date back to at least the sixteenth century in Sabzavar and the Seventeenth century in Kashan and Yezd.[citation needed] Silk carpets are less common than wool carpets since silk is more expensive and less durable; they tend to increase in value with age. Due to their rarity, value and lack of durability, silk carpets are often displayed on the wall like tapestries rather than being used as floor coverings.


Designs, motifs, and patterns

Traditional centers of carpet production in Iran (Persia)

The major classical centers of carpet production in Persia were in Tabriz (1500-1550), Kashan (1525-1650), Herat (1525-1650), and Kerman (1600-1650).[citation needed]
The majority of carpets from Tabriz have a central medallion and quartered corner medallions superimposed over a field of scrolling vine ornament, sometimes punctuated with mounted hunters, single animals, or animal combat scenes. Perhaps the best-known of the Tabriz works are the twin Ardabil carpets most likely made for the shrine at Ardabil (today in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles County Museum).
Kashan is known for its silk carpet production, most famously, for the three silk hunting carpet masterpieces depicting mounted hunters and animal prey (currently in the collections of the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts (aka the MAK), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Stockholm Museum). The Kashan carpets are among the most valuable in existence.
The Herat carpets, or ones of similar design created in Lahore and Agra, India, are the most numerous in Western collections. They are characterized by a red field with scrolling vine ornament and palmettes with dark green or blue borders.
The seven classes of Kerman carpet were defined by May Beattie. She identified their unique structure and named it the "vase technique." Carpet types in this group include garden carpets (ornamented with formal gardens and water channels) and the ogival lattice carpets. A fine and well-known example of the latter was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum under the guidance of William Morris. The influence of Persian carpets is readily apparent in his carpet designs.
The Seraband rug is produced in Arak.


see our gallerie' for better view


The Knots


Two basic knots are used in most Persian Carpets and Oriental rugs: the symmetrical Turkish or Ghiordes knot (used in Turkey, the Caucasus, East Turkmenistan, and some Turkish and Kurdish areas of Iran), and the asymmetrical Persian or Senneh knot (Iran, India, Turkey, Pakistan, China, and Egypt).
To make a Turkish knot, the yarn is passed between two adjacent warps, brought back under one, wrapped around both forming a collar, then pulled through the center so that both ends emerge between the warps.
The Persian knot is used for finer rugs. The yarn is wrapped around only one warp, then passed behind the adjacent warp so that it divides the two ends of the yarn. The Persian knot may open on the left or the right, and rugs woven with this knot are generally more accurate and symmetrical.
Other knots include the Spanish knot looped around single alternate warps so the ends are brought out on either side and the Jufti knot which is tied around four warps instead.



Anatolian and Persian carpets


The difference between Anatolian (Turkish) and Persian carpets is today largely one of tradition.
Typically, a traditional Persian carpet is tied with a single looping knot (Persian or Senneh Knot), while the traditional Anatolian carpet is tied with a double looping knot (Turkish or Ghiordes Knot). This means that for every 'vertical strand' of thread in a carpet, an Anatolian carpet has two loops as opposed to the one loop for the various Persian carpets that use a Persian 'single' knot. Ultimately, this process of 'double knotting' in traditional Anatolian carpets results in a slightly more block like image compared to the traditional 'single knotted' Persian carpet. The traditional Anatolian style also reduces the number of Knots per sq cm.[citation needed]
Today, it is common to see carpets woven in both Turkey and Iran using either of the two knot styles. When comparing carpets the only way to definitively identify the knot used is to splay open the pile by bending the rug against itself and looking at the base of the knot.
See also: Knots per sq cm


Types of Persian carpets & rugs


Carpet dealers have developed a classification for Persian carpets based on design, type of fabric, and weaving technique. The categories are named for cities and areas associated with each design:
Abadeh
Afghan/Yomut (Turkmen)
Ahar
Afshar
Arak
Ardabil
Ardestan
Bakhtiari see also Afghan carpet
Beluch
Birjand
Brujerd
Chelaberd
Dorokhsh
Farahan
Ferdos
Ghayen
Gonabad
Gonbad Ghaboos
Gorgan
Hariz
Herat
Heriz
Isfahan
Joshghan
Jozan
Kashan
Kashmar
Kerman
Lilian
Mahan
Mahalat
Maku
Mamasani
Marand
Mashhad
Mazlaghan
Meshkin Shahr
Moshk Abad
Mood
Nain
Nishaboor
Rafsanjan
Ravar
Saraband
Sarab
Saraband
Sarukh
Semnan
Sha Savan
Shahre Kord
Shiraz
Shahr Reza
Qazvin
Qom
Tabriz
Tehran
Torghabeh
Veramin
Yalameh
Yazd
Zanjan
Zabol
Rugs for a specific purpose include:
Hunting Scene Rugs


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