Persian carpets, one of the cultural riches of the country and the symbols it markets to the world, are also a great source of commercial income. It is known that carpets exported to many parts of the world have very large financial values. The most valuable carpets are still those produced in Iran. So, do you know about the history of Persian Carpets?
According to historical sources, the development of carpet weaving techniques in Iran dates back thousands of years. With the conquest of the region by the Persian Empire in 539 BC, woven carpets, which are a tradition of the ancient cultures living here, attracted great attention and were passed on as a legacy to the people of Iran today. Iranian carpets, which are first identified in this way in historical records, greatly affect the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great and he decorates his palace with these carpets. As it can be understood from here, Persian rugs continue to live today as one of the most beautiful examples of a human heritage of thousands of years.
It is determined that the art of painting in the Eastern world is not as advanced as in the West. However, Iranians created very creative works with the motifs and colors they used in carpets and expressed their feelings in this way. Before the development of technology and the use of chemicals, all dyes were obtained naturally and herbally and carpets were produced in a more authentic way. Today, many people use synthetic dyes because they are easier to obtain.
When we follow the historical developments and continue to trace the Iranian carpets, this time we come across the Safavids. During the Safavid era, which is a Turkish state that has a great share in Iranian culture and the cultural and architectural heritage of Iran, the Persian carpet is experiencing its most magnificent period. In this period, which coincides with the 16th century, the Safavids are making a great cultural development move in Iran and especially declaring the city of Isfahan as the capital and building mosques, palaces, and squares that we visit today.
Commercially, in the golden age, schools are opened to produce more special and beautiful carpets, artisans are encouraged, and a great income is obtained from the carpet trade. As a result of the great interest of Europe, today more than 1500 Persian (Iranian) carpets are spreading around the world to be exhibited in private collections and museums. If the Iranian carpet is so popular in the world today, it is largely due to the Safavid period. Another effect on the value and reputation of these carpets is the preference for silk in their production.
In addition to this, carpets with gold and silver threads have also been produced and are among the most special pieces of treasures. Today, they are exhibited in this way in many museums in Europe. Today, Persian carpets are divided into various classes according to their production places. Among these, carpets produced in cities such as Kasan, Isfahan, Kirman, and Herat are shown as the most famous ones. Iran is in competition with eastern countries such as China and India, which provides a large part of the annual carpet production in the world, and claims carpet weaving as its greatest value.
Persian Carpets: A Living History
With their unique colors, quality, and patterns in weaving, Persian carpets are one of the leading actors of today’s world in this sector. The artistry of poetry, song, and wine that permeates Persian culture on these carpets cannot be ignored. Persian carpets can be used in many different areas today. Due to its magnificent stance, the Persian carpet appears in many areas from fashion shows to concert stages.
Persian carpets are carpets made using woolen yarn and silk, mostly woven with Persian and Turkish knot techniques, in addition to these, colored with vegetable dyes. What makes the Persian carpet so valuable is hidden in a blend of what we have mentioned above. Some of the Persian carpet models are listed as follows:
- Kesan Carpets
These carpets, named after Keşan in central Iran, are among the most beautiful and precious carpets in Iran. Among the features of these carpets are their velvety shine and softness, as well as their fine embroidery. There are 10-14 knots in each centimeter of carpets. The patterns of these silk carpets are generally embroidered in dark colors.
- Isfahan Carpets
These carpets, which are in an eclectic style, reflect a certain view and composition in terms of technical design and composition features. It includes various regional features, as well, from various masters.
- Kirman Carpets
Kirman, which is located in the southeast of Iran and is a carpet center, is always long, pile, durable, soft, and very tight to the touch carpets when lamb wool is used. The main feature of these carpets is that the patterns are very mixed.
- Herat Carpets
These carpets with thin threads are tightly knit long and narrow. The wool used in these carpets is soft. In carpets with a soft touch and shiny wool; Pictures in the form of dates, fish, or pears constitute the majority. The dominant colors in carpets are pink, blue, and black.
Persian hand-woven carpet is a carpet that does not lose anything of its value and even puts on it day by day. If this Persian carpet is an antique carpet, it can be said that it is as valuable as the Picasso painting. Vegetable dyes are used in these old carpets. Chrome paint is preferred for today’s carpets. While chrome dyes produce much brighter and lighter colors, vegetable dyes make the carpets more beautiful by making shadows. Another way of distinguishing is that ancient Persian carpets have more visuals.
While talking about the features of Persian carpets above, it was mentioned between the lines why the prices of these carpets are high. To summarize; The prices of these carpets are high with their colors, textures, dyes, and patterns. While the effect of the Persian culture of Iran adds artistry to the carpets, the world dynamics add value to the Persian carpets with the glorification of those who own these carpets. It is a Persian carpet in the most expensive carpet in the world.
An Isfahan carpet, one of the varieties of Persian carpets, found buyers for 4.65 million dollars at the auction. Persian carpets with historical value find buyers from all over the world at great prices according to their quality. You can easily see the Persian carpet types in the online stores. You can easily find the current product range of these historical carpets here. There are all kinds of Persian carpets in terms of prices. People who are interested in these carpets can examine the details on the site and buy them with appropriate shopping options.
Features of Famous Persian Carpets
Iran is one of the first regions that come to mind when it comes to carpet. Persian rugs, also known as Persian carpets, are among the most precious carpets accepted in the world. Knot styles are also different from other carpets. There are Persian rugs woven in many different regions and periods. Today, carpet constitutes a large part of Iran’s export revenues. At the same time, there is a carpet weaving culture in Iran that dates back to ancient times.
Persian rugs are mainly woven in Kashan, Tabriz, Isfahan, and Heriz regions. Rugs are generally woven by men in Iran. They are woven using a special lock weaving method called the Iranian knot. This method of weaving ensures that these carpets are more durable and durable. In fact, the novices learned this durable double knot method unique to the Turks from the Seljuk women during the Seljuk Empire.
The carpet culture, which started in Iran in 500 BC, saw its brightest days during the Safavid period in the 16th century. In addition to valuable items such as gold and silver, Persian carpets have also been declared as spoils of war. Wool and silk are generally used for weaving. The warps of the carpets are cotton. Although production still continues, it has been woven quite a lot in the past.
After these carpets are collected from Iran, they are subjected to various processes. After categorizing the carpets according to their condition and colors, they are gone through shaving, washing, sunbathing, and dyeing processes. Persian rug models can also vary according to the region they are woven. Kashan, Heriz, and Tabriz carpets are generally navel carpets with a medallion motif in the middle. They have predominantly red and blue hues. The Bakhtiari type Persian rugs woven in nomadic villages in the Zagros mountains have garden patterns and floral motifs.
Rugs woven in the city of Tabriz, where Persians live in Iran, bear Turkish motifs. Again, the carpets of the Kirman region are very often woven and have extraordinary flower motifs. The nomadic Afşars in this region, on the other hand, weaved carpets with geometric patterns. It is possible to see the effects of neighboring geography on carpets woven in Iran. Beluç (Baluş) carpets with the tree of life motifs were woven in the border villages of Afghanistan. Again, Bijar rugs are made in Kurdish villages with a traditional Turkish knot. Kaşkay nomads are known for their plain Gabbeh rugs without a pattern.
Whether an antique or semi-antique carpet is a Persian rug can be understood by looking at the knot shape in the weaving. The age, area, and material of the carpet can only be understood by a qualified carpet expert. The sizes of Persian rugs in the collections are larger compared to other carpets. It generally measures 3×4 meters. Since the 12 square meter carpet is a difficult size, Iranian hand-woven carpets can be preferred especially for large halls. In addition, although rare, 8 square meters and 9 square meters can be found.
Persian rugs are the peak of the art of weaving, and the prices of Iranian carpets are higher than other hand-made carpets. These carpets have been seen as an investment tool for many years. Especially Persian carpets, which are one hundred years old and reflect the period they were woven, are considered to be Antique and are quite expensive. The city where the carpet is woven and the yarn quality are among the main factors determining the prices of Persian carpets.
How Did Persian Carpets Appear in History?
The origins of Persian carpets, which stand out with their color, pattern, and weaving style, date back 2500 years. Persian carpets, which are at the highest level of artistic splendor, succeed in dazzling people’s eyes with their fascinating handicrafts and colors that emerge during the process of passing through to the materials used in handmade. This carpet weaving talent, which was the pioneer of ancient civilizations, has passed from father to son since then.
These carpets used by nomadic people on the floors and tent entrances to protect themselves from the cold gained fame and prestige from the kings and ambassadors. Observing and researching Persian carpets follows the path of a cultural change that has not been seen in other civilizations in the world and has preserved its first day. Persian rugs, which do not lose their value and still rise by adding something to them, continue to be popular.
Persian rug does not consist of only one type. These carpets, which are designed specifically for Iranian cities with different patterns and structures, are produced by skilled hands in every city of Iran. Isfahan rugs are reflected in the form of technical patterns and compositions, and since they are made by different masters, they contain various patterns. Kirman carpets are made of lamb wool and are soft and tightly woven.
Herat carpets are soft and bright to the touch in these carpets with thin threads. Until today, Iranian carpets have come to the fore compared to other carpets with their brand, skillful craftsmanship, and quality. Persian carpets, which have managed to maintain their quality for centuries, obtain their quality yarns from special animal and quality cotton. In addition to the use of wool, it is used in Iranian carpets in silk.
Special plant dyes are used for Persian carpets that do not lose their old value. This plant dye used makes the carpet look beautiful by making a special shade to other carpets. The Persian rug is distinguished from other carpets when touched with its soft, multi-patterned materials used at the same time. The Persian carpet, which has many images, draws attention with its more visuality and dazzles with its brightness.
Persian carpets, which were first created for the purpose of protection from dampness, and later on, after the king and Persian civilization caught the eye, Iranian carpets started to gain value. Valuable carpets from this period to the present day still gain their reputation for their characteristics, natural and vibrant colors, complex and patterns, and are still gaining value.
Iranian people, who built carpet weaving talent on the skill, have taught this business to their children and protected them from their closest people for centuries and their profession has turned into a family secret. In order for a Persian rug to show its quality, first of all, its patterns and colors must have a lively structure. In order to understand the quality level in these carpets, the yarns must be made of soft, cotton or wool, and if shiny, silk.
Chemical dyes are not used on Persian carpets, which have been processed in this centuries-old tradition, and specially developed plant dyes are used. In addition, the density of knots and knots determine the quality of the carpet. Although the knot density determines the quality of such carpets, the higher the knot density increases the quality of the carpet.
A Brief History of Persian Carpets and Their Designs
The history of Persian rugs goes back 2500 years. Iranians are among the leading carpet weavers of ancient civilizations. Achieving a superior degree of excellence over the centuries in creativity and craftsmanship. Carpet weaving skill is passed from father to son, like a family secret protected from the closest ones, which they built on their skills and handed over to their next child.
While a simple item used as floor and entrance coverings to protect the nomadic tent from cold and moisture, the increasing beauty of the rugs found them, new owners – like kings and nobles who viewed them as a sign of wealth, prestige, and distinction.
Russian archaeologists Rudenko and Griaznov found the oldest “knotted” carpet known in 1949 in Siberia, in the Pazyryk valley, about five thousand feet high in the Altai Mountains. The carpet, found from the frozen tombs of Scythian chiefs aged 2400 and 2500, is preserved in the Leningrad Hermitage Museum. Another carpet found in the same area belongs to the first century BC.
When Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC, they were struck with their glory and probably became the person who spread the art of carpet weaving in the Persian Empire. Historical records show that magnificent carpets adorned the palace of Cyrus the Great, who founded the Persian Empire more than 2500 years ago.
It is very likely that Persian nomads knew about the use of knotted rugs even before his time. Their sheep and goat herds provided them with high quality and durable wool for this purpose. The first documented evidence for the existence of carpets is from Chinese records dating back to the Sassanid Dynasty (224-641 AD).
In AD 628, Emperor Heraclius returned from the conquest of the Sassanid capital, Ctesiphon, with a variety of carpets. When the Arabs conquered Ctesiphon in 637 AD and returned with the spoils, it is said that there were many carpets with them, among them the famous garden rug “Spring of Khosro”. This carpet went down in history as the most valuable carpet of all time. The carpet made in the 1. Khosro period (531 – 579 AD) was 8.3 square meters in size.
As for the statements of Arab historians regarding this; “A magnificent border of the blue, red, white, yellow flower bed and green stones; its background was imitated by the earth-colored gold; crystal clear stones that feel like water; silk plants and fruits shaped with colored stones. ”
Their domination (1038 – 1194 AD) is of great importance in the history of Persian carpets. Among the Seljuk women, there were highly skilled weavers who made carpets using Turkish knots. The Turkish knot, which has a strong influence and has a long life, has been used in the Seljuk-influenced Azerbaijan and Hamadan regions. In the Turkish knot (or Gördes) the thread turns twice around two adjacent warp knots, and the ends are pulled out between these two particles. In the Persian knot (or Senneh) the woolen yarn forms a single loop with the warp yarn. One end is on this thread and the other is on the next warp thread.
The Mongols conquest and control of Iran (1220 – 1449) was initially brutal. However, they were under Persian influence in time. Tabriz Palace (1295 – 1304) belonging to the Ilkhanid ruler Gazan Khan (1295 – 1304) has floors covered with precious carpets. The Mongolian ruler Shahrukh (1409 – 1446) contributed to the reconstruction of many places destroyed by the Mongols and encouraged people in the area to engage in all artistic activities. However, carpets in this period were mostly decorated with simple motifs in geometric style.
The Persian rug reached its peak in the 16th century during the Safavid Dynasty. As a matter of fact, the first concrete evidence of this craft belongs to this period. Approximately 1500 specimens are preserved in private collections and various museums around the world. Trade and weaving succeeded in Iran during the reign of Shah Abbas (1587 – 1629). Shah Abbas transformed one of the most famous Iranian cities, Isfahan, the new capital, and promoted relations and trade with Europe. He also established a palace school for carpets where talented designers and weavers would create magnificent examples.
Most of these rugs were made of silk, with gold and silver threads used for further decoration. Two of the best-known carpets of the Safavid period come from Ardabil Mosque in 1539. Many experts believe that these rugs represent successful background in carpet design. The larger of these two rugs is preserved today at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, while the other is on display at the Los Angeles City Art Museum.
The reign of the Persian carpet ended with the Afghan invasion in 1722. Despite a very short period of rule, the Afghans destroyed Isfahan, and in 1736 a young leader from Khorasan, Nadir Khan, became the shah of Iran. During his reign, all country forces were used in campaigns against Afghans, Turks, and Russians. During this period, and in the turbulent years following his death in 1747, no carpets of great value were produced, and only nomads and craftsmen in small villages continued these traditional weavings.
Trade and craft regained their importance in the last quarter of the 19th century and during the Qajar dynasty. Carpet making developed once again with traders from Tabriz, who were trading carpets to Europe through Istanbul. At the end of the 19th century, even some European and American companies started business in Iran and organized craft production for the western market. Persian rugs are famous for their richness of color, magnificent artistic pattern diversity, and design quality.
Persian Carpet Types in the History
Carpet weaving in Iran occurs with the Seljuks. Unfortunately, the first samples of Persian carpets cannot be found, only carpet shapes can be found in miniatures from the 14th and 15th centuries AD. Iranian carpet weaving started to gain quality in the 17th century. The most glorious period was in this period. In this period, the carpet was made for the palace and dependent on the palace. With the development of trade since the 19th century, Iran has become the most important carpet exporter in the world.
The history of Persian rugs, which is also pronounced as the highest level of artistic grandeur, goes back to the 5th century BC. Iranians have taken their place in history as the pioneer of all ancient civilizations by creating the most unique models of creativity and skill in carpet weaving. A deep-rooted tradition has been established by transferring carpet weaving talent from generation to generation. Studying the history of the Persian carpet means tracing the trajectory of a cultural evolution unprecedented in any other civilization on earth.
The oldest known Persian carpet was unearthed in 1949 by the Russian archaeologist Rudenko during his studies at an altitude of 5 kilometers in the Altai Mountains. In the middle of this rug, which is named as Pazyryk (Pazirik) rug, there is a dark red paint and two wide borders, one of which depicts the roe deer and the other Iranian horsemen. In our period, the samples taken from Pazırık Kilim preserved in the St. Petersburg Archeology and Hermitage Museum were tested by scientists in Russia and Switzerland and it was determined that the rug belonged to the years 383-200 BC.
The reason why the Pazırık rug reached our period without rotting is that the frozen water in the grave where it is located protects the rug from rotten microorganisms. The carpet was found in an ice ball, and when the ice was melted, it was observed that it was a symmetrical hand rug in excellent condition, except for a few tears and a missing corner. The wool fibers of the rug are in good condition and still remain flexible. The carpet was washed by appropriate methods, dried and a specific mixture of alcohol, gelatin, and glycerin was sprayed on it.
You will see a different restoration of the Pazırık rug in this state, since 1950, in St. Petersburg Hermitage awaits its visitors. The Pazyryk rug is almost square (1.83 x 2 m) woven. The first documented evidence showing the existence of carpets is based on the Sassanids who ruled between AD 224-641. In 628 AD, Ruler Heraclius brought a wide variety of carpets and rugs to the capital of the Sassanids after the capture of Tak-ı Kisra (Ctesiphon).
Among the carpets brought, there is the famous carpet named “Springtime of Khosro”. This 27 m2 carpet, woven during the empire period of Khosro I, has gone down in history as the most precious carpet of all times. According to the descriptions of the Arab historians, white, yellow, blue, red, and green colored flowers were used on the sides of the carpet, and the tones of the earth color were used as the background. There are also crystal-like sparkling stones that create an image of water. However, the Arabs cut this magnificent carpet into slices and sold each one independently. The Iranian carpet art reached its peak in the Safavid period in the 16th century.
The fact that the first certified proofs of this art belong to this period confirms this information. Approximately 1,500 samples of this period are protected in museums and private collections around the world. During the reign of Shah Abbas’s empire, improvements were made in trade and art. Shah Abbas increased the trade by supporting the contacts with Europe and turned the capital Isfahan into a magnificent city in the same period.
Apart from these, he built a royal workshop for carpets and encouraged skilled craftsmen and designers to create magnificent models in this workshop. Silk was preferred for most of the carpets made in that period. Many experts consider these rugs to represent the highest level in their art. Shah Abbas also developed the use of gold and silver thread in carpets.
One of the carpets produced with this method and used for the crowning ceremony is preserved today at Rosenburg Castle in Copenhagen. This exclusive piece has an air of velvet finish and a sublayer that glows from gold. Of course, these rugs were produced exclusively for members of the rulers and nobles, and are preserved as solid as any gold treasure.