The Persian carpet is an artistic representation of Iranian nature, culture, and authenticity. The art of carpet weaving is one of the oldest and most authentic arts among Iranians. As the oldest carpet in the world is considered to be an Iranian work belonging to the Achaemenid period. The point here is that this art, in addition to its authenticity and antiquity, is welcomed more and more among different nations and cultures. The art of carpet weaving has been kept alive among the different ethnic groups of Iran for thousands of years and is still woven by the hands of male and female artists throughout the country. The beauty of the design and patterns is one of the main factors in the durability of this art. Iranian artists have turned the Persian carpet into a unique work by observing the aesthetic points in the texture and edges of the carpet.
Iranians have always shown a desire to use hand-woven carpets in their homes and have tried to add more beauty and warmth to their homes by using this unique art. There are different types of Persian carpet, and knowing them helps to make the right choice when buying. In this article, Sito Travel tries to familiarize you with this authentic Iranian art by introducing the best Persian carpet and all kinds of motifs.
History of Persian carpets
The Persian carpet is a symbol of art, genius, culture, and authenticity. Iranians have been one of the pioneers of carpet weaving, who over time have brought this art to a level of perfection with precision, creativity, and tact, which can be referred to as the representative of Iranian culture and art. Historical evidence shows that the use of carpets has been common since the Achaemenid period. But the first documentary evidence about Iranian art in carpet weaving can be found in Chinese texts from the Sassanid period (224-641 AD).
The oldest sign of the art of carpet weaving dates back to the Bronze Age. This is a sign of a carpet-weaving knife found in Bronze Age graves in Turkmenistan and northern Iran. Wicker carpets, cloth, and weaving tools were also found in the burnt city (Sistan Plain, South-Eastern Iran), which belongs to 2800-2500 BC. In the Achaemenid period, according to Xenophon, the ancient city of Sardis was proud of its woven carpets, which were decorated with border patterns and figures of men and legendary lions. It should be kept in mind that the materials used in carpets, such as wool, silk, cotton, etc., rot over time, and this problem makes it difficult for archaeologists and historians to find out the age of the carpet. However, historical evidence and documents show that there were magnificent carpets in the Achaemenid court. It is said that Alexander the Great was surprised to see the magnificent Persian carpets in Pasargad. During the reign of the Seljuqs and Ilkhanids, carpet weaving was popular as a valuable art and a profitable business. As it is said that the mosques of that period were covered with valuable Persian carpets. Many historical quotes prove the antiquity and originality of this historical art.
The oldest carpet in the world is called the Pazyrik carpet. This carpet dates back to about 400 years before Christ. The Pazyryk carpet was discovered by a Russian archaeologist in the frozen grave of a Scythian ruler between 1947 and 1949 and was named so because of its location in the “Pazyryk Valley” of Russia. Besides this carpet, there were other ancient objects. This rug is made of wool and has a square shape, each side of which is 1.98 meters long.
The Pazyryk carpet is decorated with a floral border and images of horsemen, grazing deer, and mythical beasts with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. Sergi Rudenko, the discoverer of this carpet, after examining the structure of the carpet and its paintings, noticed the great similarity of the motifs of this carpet with the reliefs of Persepolis. Although most researchers consider this carpet to belong to the period of Parthians or Medes, there are still different theories about the actual age of this carpet. Today, the Pazyryk carpet is kept in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Another example of a Persian carpet is the Baharestan carpet, from the Sassanian period, known and associated with the names Bahar Khosrow and Bahar Kasra, it is well known as another symbol of the evolution of carpet weaving in ancient Iran. Unfortunately, it was fragmented and destroyed in its transmission to Medina after the Arab invasion.
During the Mongol occupation (13th or 14th centuries AD), coinciding with the reign of Ghazan Khan, the industry had reached its peak in terms of style and technique. However, the excellence of this classical Iranian art, also known as the Persian carpet revival, is believed to have occurred during the Safavid reign, especially at the time of Shah Tahmasb I and Shah Abbas I. During this period, the 16th to 17th century d. C., medallion rugs replaced the rugs that were then known for their Mongolian and Timurid motifs. In addition to these, rugs with images of animals or hunting areas in their designs became popular. Today there are around 3000 carpets from this period and they are kept in the most important museums in the world or in personal collections, as an example we can mention the magnificent Hunting Carpet of the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan.
In general, the motifs on the rugs represent the way in which artisans perceive the environment, the climate and nature. Drawings on handmade rugs sometimes convey a message that represents culture, history, architecture, climate and time. In addition, the geometric patterns on Iranian rugs sometimes evoke a poem, a verse or surah from the Qur’an, a legendary or historical tale, or an anecdote from the prophets.
Authentic Persian carpets
In Iran, each region has its own particularity of patterns, colors and raw materials. But they all have a common feature: the asymmetrical knot known as the Persian knot, which makes the fabric stronger and more compact. The carpet is usually woven on a vertical loom, but in Iran, in some areas like Bandar-e Turkman and Kurdistan, there are also horizontal looms.
The loom stretches the warp threads and the weaver, with a mental image (Nómad) or a drawing on paper (Urban), makes the weaving by knotting the threads along the horizontal lines. The threads used to tie the knots can be wool, silk or cotton. Therefore, the fine yarn defines the quality of the fabric and the carpet will have more value. After knotting, the warp threads are cut and create the fringe that emerges shortly after the outer edge. Lastly, the carpet is known for the number of knots that define the refinement of the fabric. At present, the main carpet weaving centers in Iran are the cities of Tabriz, Isfahan, Kashan, Kerman and Mashhad, Ardebil and other regions such as Kurdistan and the Qashqayi, Bakhtiari and Turkmen tribes.
Gabbeh is one of the types of hand-woven Persian carpets, which are usually thicker and coarser than other Persian carpets. One of the characteristics that distinguish this type of carpet from other types of carpets is that natural wool yarn and natural plant colors are used for the texture of the rug.
A Gelim is a type of hand-woven and lint-free rug that is often woven with natural wool. Geometric designs such as rhombuses, hexagons, quadrangles, and triangles are often used in the texture of these sub-sizes, and sometimes natural and animal shapes are also used in the depiction of rugs. In terms of texture, carpets can be divided into three simple categories: woven, embossed, and varnished.
Jajim is known as flat braids that are woven long and short in width. Jajim is a thin weave with more softness than the carpet. Jajim is woven in different regions and the residents of each region give it a special name. For example, Jajim is called “Jol” in Ilam.
4- Carpets of the northern areas of Iran
The carpets of the northern areas of Iran have special designs and patterns. Rudbar, Klardasht, and Bandar-Turkmen are among the areas that are famous for weaving carpets with a triangular patterns. The dark red color is dominant in most Turkmen carpets.
5- Tabriz carpet
The history of woven carpets in Tabriz dates back to the Safavid period, and Tabriz’s woven carpets are among the most finely woven Persian carpets. The raw material of Tabriz’s carpet is usually silk or wool. Among the characteristics of Tabriz carpet, the following can be mentioned:
- The woven carpets of this line are finely woven.
- They are often woven in high rows.
- The pile of Tabriz carpets is often short.
- These carpets have visual depth This characteristic is due to the use of the light shadow technique in the texture of carpets.
6- Kashan carpet
The height of the bed in Kashan woven carpets is average, and the carpets of this region are mostly finely woven and delicate. Previously, the colors of the carpets of this area were formed by sharp colors with high contrast; But nowadays, according to the customer’s taste and the taste of the market, soft colors are used in the texture of the carpets of this region. The common patterns of Kashan rugs and carpets are mainly a combination of decorative patterns. The colors in Kashan rugs and carpets can be limited to ivory, gray, brown, and tobacco colors.
7- Qom carpet
The carpet weaving industry was first popular among the nomads and villagers of Qom; But gradually, due to the importance of this industry in trade, it spread among other parts of this province as well. At first, Qom woven carpets entered the market with not very fine threads, but gradually, Qom artists with their ingenuity and tact began to weave very fine and regular carpets. The elegance and regularity of Qom’s hand-woven carpets are such that it makes the viewer doubt that these carpets are machine-woven.
Persian carpet designs
1- Shah Abbasi’s design
Shah Abbasi designs are based on special flowers and bushes known as “Shah Abbasi flowers”. These flowers along with salamis, khatam, and other common motifs in carpet motifs create the original pictures in the border and texture of the carpet. There are different types of Shah Abbasi designs, some of which are: Shah Abbasi Lechak and Taranj, Shah Abbasi Tessari, Shah Abbasi Afshan, and Shah Abbasi Torrei.
2- Eslimi design
In carpet design, a set of special decorative shapes that look like the open mouth of a snake is called “Eslimi”. Eslimi designs, which are mostly used in the central regions of Iran such as Isfahan, have different types, such as Dahan-Azhdari eslimi, Mari eslimi, and Shekasteh eslimi.
3- Goldani (Vase) design
In this design, the shape of a vase decorated with flower branches forms the main and dominant element, which in different sizes (sometimes large and as a unit and sometimes small and in parallel rows) cover the entire background of the carpet. The design of a vase has long been popular among the carpet weavers of Qom, Tabriz, Kashan, Abadeh, and Kurdistan, and it has various types, such as the Mehrabi vase, Zal al-Sultan vase, Haj Khanomi vase, and Hajri vase.
3- Botte design
Various opinions have been raised about the origin of Botte’s plan. The similarity of this image with the sacred flame of Zoroastrian fire, pine fruit, water drop, cypress, palm branch, seal bird, etc. has created different views about the origin of the bat.
Botte pattern is seen in carpet designs in various sizes and shapes. Sometimes it is so big that a few pieces are enough to cover the surface of the carpet, but in most cases, it is seen in small sizes in parallel rows in the texture of the carpet or one after the other in its border, which is sometimes used in the broken style.
The botte design is usually seen in Kerman, Sanandaj, Hamedan, Kashan, Saraband, and Qom carpets, and its most famous types are botte Jogheh, botte terme , Mother and child botte, Sarabandi botte, Esfahani penmanship botte, Kurdistan botte or Hashtpar.
4- Mahi-dar-ham design (Herati):
Since the first samples of this design were obtained in Herat, this design is also called “Herati”. The entwined fish design consists of two fish images and a flower between them. In some western regions of Iran, the middle flower is located in the middle of a rhombus and four fish or four curved leaves are woven on the outer side of the four sides of the rhombus. Markazi province, Khorasan, Hamadan, Bijar, and Sanandaj are the main locations of Mahi-dar-ham design.
5- Derakhti (Tree) design
The pattern of plants and trees, due to their sacredness among ancient Iranians, has always been the focus of carpet weavers, and nowadays the pattern of trees is still woven in many parts of Iran, but experts believe that the main root of this design is in Raver Kerman. The tree design is divided into various patterns based on the elements used in it, including the animal-bearing (animal), vegetable (water-front) design, bergamot, sarvi, all-round, and latke and bergamot. It should be mentioned that many Europeans take the pattern of the tree in the carpet as a good omen and consider it a sign of longevity and happiness.
6- Mehrabi’s design
The shape of the altar inspired the carpet designers to create this design. The carpets that are woven with the design of these crescent arches, usually do not have hunting scenes, because, in their design, they try to instill the holiness of the altar of worship to the viewer, and by having trees and flowers, it evokes the promised paradise in the eyes of the viewer.
An altar design for this base, in which columns supporting the arches are used in its decoration, or a candelabrum is hung from the arch of the altar, or trees and vases are used to decorate the texture. And a pot is divided. Mehrabi design is more common among the weavers of Qom, Kashan, Isfahan and Balochi.
7- Moharamat design
If the texture of the carpet is divided into strips of equal width and with different colors and decorated with small motifs so that the background of the carpet looks like stripes, it is called Muharram design. This design, which is also called “Qalamdani” in some places, is of interest to weavers in Tabriz and Qom, Kurdistan.
8- Afshan design
In Afshan’s design, there is no conventional format for separating patterns in the carpet, and there are no latches, straps, etc., and the components of the design are scattered but at regular intervals. According to the use of flowers, plants, and animals, Afshan design is divided into different types, including Slimi afshan, Khatai afshan, Bandi afshan, Shah Abbasi afshan and…
9- Design of historical characters and works
The basic form of these designs, as their name suggests, are views of buildings and pictures of famous personalities. Images of legendary kings, ancient warriors, political figures of the world, ancient buildings such as Takht Jamshid, etc.
10- Gulfarang design
The constituent elements of this design are red flowers with regular petals of five to eight in the form of bouquets, which are repeated throughout the background of the carpet. Gulfarang is sometimes designed inside a pot and sometimes without. The Bijar’s Gulfarang, Toranj-dar, Bazou-bandi, Daste-gol, and Mustofi, etc. are different types of this design.
11- Eghtebas (Adaptation) design
In this type, designs are taken from the carpet weaving areas adjacent to Iran, which were once a part of Iran’s soil, such as Turkey, Caucasus, Afghanistan, etc., and are used with changes.
12- Combined design
Inspired by various motifs and combining their rhythmic motifs, artists create original motifs, which are called composite designs. These designs do not follow specific patterns and colors, and their selection depends on the designer’s and painting’s taste so that sometimes the designs of bottehjogheh, gulfarang, frames, inscriptions, and vases are gathered in one carpet. There are various types of composite designs, such as bergamot branch, bergamot chain, potted bergamot, slim band, bouquet bergamot, plain bergamot, etc.
Persian carpet, with their eye-catching quality and beauty, have always been among the best throughout history and have had their fans all over the world. These carpets with a very high value have always been the guest houses of your loved ones all over the world. The use of beautiful and heartwarming patterns in the texture of these carpets, as well as the use of the most natural materials, including wool and natural silk, and the use of rhubarb, grape leaves, walnut skins, pomegranates, chamomile flowers, and berries in dyeing the threads used in Persian carpets, have led to over time, the beauty of this carpet will increase and never change the appearance of this beautiful hand-woven carpet.
The most important weaving centers of authentic Persian carpets are Kerman, Isfahan, Kashan, Yazd, Tabriz, Qom, and nomads. Iranian artists turned to the weaving of Persian carpets out of love and taste, so that each knot of an authentic Persian carpet tells a story of passion and love that the weavers put in the heart of the carpet. Paying attention row after row of these genuine and lasting carpets has stories that can only be understood with the language of love. Sito Travel Group, by honoring this weave of love, invites you to use this original art.