Persian Carpets
PERSIAN CARPETS-IN PROGRESS

this set is endless because of countless variety in design and patterns, colors, geographical distribution of cities and the tribes involved in and also for the textures and the method which they are made.

the shots are all taken hand held with no flash and due to the poor condition of the light in Bazars, the shutter speed in most cases in it's highest range is around 0.8 sec. I usually dont carry a tripod except for special cases. this is why some of my shots are blurred, this set probably doesn't include creative shots, but I LOVE PERSIAN CARPETS.
note: the set includes full range of carpet, rug, glim, gabbeh and so on ......all hand weaven.
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HISTORY OF CARPET


Carpets were probably first made by nomadic peoples to cover the earthen floor in their tents. It is not certain however, if the Egyptians, the Chinese, or even the Mayas first invented carpet making. It is quite possible that many peoples, none of
whom were in contact with each other, began to make carpets at about the same time.
We can be certain however, that by the fifth century BC carpet making had reached a high artistic level. This was proven by the Russian archaeologists Rudenko and Griaznov, who in 1949 discovered the oldest known "knotted" carpet in the Pazyryk
valley, about 5000 feet up on the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The Pazyryk carpet is of rare beauty and woven with great technical skill. It was found preserved in the fozen tombs of Scythian chiefs, which were 2400 to 2500 years old.Through out history, Persia has remained the epicentre of the carpet making craft, where it has developed into an art form.
When Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he was struck by its splendour, and it was probably he who introduced the art of carpet making into Persia. It is said that the tomb of Cyrus, who was buried at Pasargadae (Persepolis), was covered with
precious carpets. Even before his time, it is very likely that Persian nomads knew about the use of Knotted carpets. Their herds of sheep and goats provided them with high quality and durable wool for this purpose.
The first documented evidence on the existence of carpets, came from Chinese texts dating back to the Sassanid Dynasty (AD 224- 641). In AD 628, the Emperor Heraclius brought back a variety of carpets from the conquest of Ctesiphon, the Sassanian capital. The Arabs also conquered Ctesiphon in 637, and among the spoils brought back were said to be many carpets, one of which was the famous garden carpet, the "Spring time of Khosroe". This carpet has passed into history as the most precious of all time. Made during the reign of Khosroe I (531 - 579) the carpet was 90 Feet square. The Arab historians' description is as follows: "The border was a magnificent flower bed of blue, red, white, yellow and green stones; in the background the colour of the earth was imitated with gold; clear stones like crystals gave the illusion of water; the plants were in silk and the fruits were formed by colour stones" However, the Arabs cut this magnificent carpet into many pieces, which were then sold separately.
After the period of domination by the Arab Caliphates, a Turkish tribe, named after their founder, Seljuk conquered Persia. Their domination (1038 - 1194) was of great importance
in the history of Persian carpets. The Seljuk women were skilful carpet makers using Turkish knots. In the provinces of Azerbaijan and Hamadan where Seljuk influence was strongest and longest lasting, the Turkish knot is used to this day.
The Mongol conquest and control of Persia (1220 - 1449) was initially brutal. However, they soon came under the influence of the Persians. The palace of Tabriz, belonging to the Ilkhan leader, Ghazan Khan (1295 - 1304) had paved floors covered with precious carpets. The Monghol ruler Shah Rokh (1409 - 1446) contributed to the reconstruction of much that was destroyed by the Mongols and encouraged all the artistic activities of the region. However, the carpets in this period were decorated with simple motifs, which were mainly geometric in style.
Perhaps the most important time in the history of Persian carpets came with the accession to power of the Safavid rulers (1499 - 1722). Indeed the first concrete proofs of this craft date back to this period. Approximately 1500 examples are
preserved in various museums and in private collections world-wide. During the reign of Shah Abbas (1571 - 1629), commerce and crafts prospered in Persia. Shah Abbas encouraged contacts and trade with Europe and transformed his new capital Isfahan, into one of the most glorious cities of Persia. He also created a court workshop for carpets where skilled designers and craftsmen set to work to create splendid specimens.
Most of these carpets were made of silk, with gold and silver threads adding even more embellishment.
The court period of the Persian carpet ended with the Afghan invasion in 1722. The Afghans destroyed Isfahan, yet their domination lasted for only a short period and in 1736, a young Chieftain from Khorassan, Nader Khan became the Shah of Persia.
Through the whole course of his reign, all the country's forces were utilised in campaigns against the Afghans, the Turks, and the Russians. During this period, and for several turbulent years after his death in 1747, no carpets of any great value were made, and the tradition of this craft was continued solely by nomads, and craftsmen in small villages.
In the last quarter of the 19th Century and during the reign of the Qajar rulers trade and craftsmanship regained their importance.
Carpet making flourished once more with Tabriz merchants exporting carpets to Europe through Istanbul.
At the end of the 19th Century some European and American companies even set up businesses in Persia and organised craft production destined for western markets.
Today, Carpet weaving is by far the most widespread handicraft in Iran; it is also the best-known one abroad. Persian carpets are renowned for their richness of colour, variety of patterns and quality of design.
In the following chapters a brief overview of Persian carpets from Isfahan, Kashan, Kerman, Nain, Shiraz and Tabriz is provided.



ISFAHAN- Isfahan was the capital of Persia during the reign of Shah Abbas (1571 - 1629), and had the most beautiful palaces, mosques and libraries. Architecture as well as carpet weaving flourished at this time. Rare and precious carpets from this period are now kept in museums all over the world. Very fine well-knotted carpets are still being made in Isfahan today. The fascinating designs using lines and arabesques that appear on Islamic architecture also appear on the modern Isfahan carpets. Medallions are the most usual motif; however, animals and flowers are also used. Both warp and weft are of cotton, and there are between 130 and 360 knots to every square inch.



Tabriz is situated in north-western Iran, in the province of Azerbaijan, and is the capital of a very important carpet weaving region. The town is over 1000 years old and even centuries ago it was famous as a cultural centre.
The Tabriz carpets are of very good quality, finely knotted and made of strong lustrous wool. There are old carpets in private homes, used for years, which are still in excellent condition, and the colours have kept their brightness.
At the beginning of the century, the finest carpets had a silk pile. These are rare pieces and are among the most beautiful examples of Persian carpets.
The usual Tabriz design is a medallion surrounded by flowers and tendrils; however, some carpets have a design with repeating patterns. The warp and weft of Tabriz carpets are of cotton, and there are between 80 and 200 knots to every square inch.



Zobeida, the favourite wife of the famous Caliph Haroun-al-Rasheed, established the town of Kashan, which is situated between Tehran and Isfahan.
The Kashan district is possibly one of the best producers of Persian carpets. These carpets have taken the name of the region, and are simply referred to as the "Kashan". Due to the very high quality of the wool, the very fine weaving and the
beautiful colours and designs, Kashans have come to be classified among the finest Persian carpets. The knotting is very fine. The woollen Kashan has between 120 and 240 knots to each square inch, and there are 240 to 550 knots to each square inch in a silk one.
The warp and weft are made of cotton or silk. The designs vary from medallions with tendrils to vases, and from all-over patterns to very fine floral designs. However, the most common designs are those with a central medallion.
The usual kind of background colours for Kashan carpets are brick red and dark blue, and alongside these are a series of very rich colours that give these carpets a unique appearance.



The town of Kerman is in Eastern Iran, and has always been one the carpet Weaving centres. Kerman carpets are highly prized because of the quality of their design and colours. They are made of fine, lustrous wool, coloured soft red, green, blue, yellow and ivory. The village of Ravar situated twenty-five miles from Kerman, also produces very beautiful carpets of high quality and design. These carpets are known as "Kerman Ravar".
Kerman carpets are mostly in floral designs. Many have rich central medallions, the motifs of which are also used in the borders and in the corners. On the larger Kerman carpets there are animal designs or repeating patterns, the smaller ones are often decorated with vase patterns or pictorial subjects. The success of the Kerman carpets is mainly due to the skill of the pattern designers, called "ustad". The result is that while all Kerman carpets have something in common, which distinguishes them from those of other areas, they are also made in a wide variety of designs.
Both the warp and weft of the carpets are made of cotton, and there are 130 to 320 knots to every square inch.



Nain is a small town in the province of Isfahan, and it is situated on the edge of the desert uplands of central Iran. Until the beginning of this century, the main craft in Nain was the weaving of costly woollen cloth. The import of textiles from the west lead to the decline of this craft, and the Nain craftsmen switched to carpet making. They were soon to gain a place among the quality carpet producers of Iran.
The decoration of Nain carpets is similar to that used for Isfahans, and many of the carpets have backgrounds decorated with an interlaced pattern of flowers and branches. There are however, fewer carpets with central medallions as in the Isfahan carpets.
Plants and animals feature in a number of the Nain carpets, and the colour Scheme for both background and decoration is normally, beige, ivory and white, alongside light green and azure.
The Persian Knot is used at a very high density of 300 to 600 knots to the square inch.



Shiraz has been known for centuries as the city of roses, which is reflected in the motifs of many of the carpets. However, the most common motif, and one by which the carpets may be identified, is the diamond-shaped lozenge by itself in the centre of the carpet or repeated along the length twice or three times according to the size.
The diamond motif of the Shiraz carpets is usually in light or dark blue and the background is normally red with decorations of stylised plants and flowers. The border consists of a number of narrow bands framing a wider band, which is often decorated with motifs resembling pine, or palm leaves.
The Shiraz carpets are very soft and it is advisable that only the best are used on the floor, to protect them against wear and tear.
Among the better-known individual tribal carpets are those made by the Qashqai, living in the uplands of the Fars area. In contrast to other Shiraz carpets these are harder wearing, and have a compact pile. Their colours are also faster and more varied.
The warp and weft threads of the Shiraz carpets are either wool or goat's hair.


from IRANSAGA.
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