History, Characteristics and Considerations of the Persian Rug

by on March 9th, 2014
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Persian rugs play an important part in Iran’s history. Iran (Persia in the ancient world) was the birthplace of Persian carpet weaving. In the Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736), Iran , or Persia, was the gateway between the Eastern and Western worlds. As such, it was ideally situation as a trading post. The country gained a reputation for artwork and carpet weaving, and began exporting carpets in the 16th century. The mid-1800s saw English, American, and German colonization in Mashed, Kerman, Tabriz, and Sultanabad (now Arak). The foreign countries build their own factories, bringing additional business to the Persian carpet market and continuing the industry’s existence. Today Persian carpets maintain two roles: their traditional role in Iranian culture, and their role in the world, where they’re valued as design pieces.


Persian rugs come in hundreds of styles and colors. Each style holds a unique size, quality and design. A ‘Qum’ Persian carpet, for example, comes from the holy town of Qum. It has a very tight weave and is made of silk. It may contain a variation of patterns, including flowers, gardens, medallions and animals. Qum carpets almost always use shades of turquoise for coloration. Nain carpets, on the other hand, are made primarily of wool. These carpets contain light colors and detailed, complicated patterns.


A Persian rug is either a tribal rug or a city rug. Tribal rugs are woven by nomads or the occupants of small tribal villages. City rugs, conversely, are made in the city. Tribal rugs are inferior to city rugs, but all Persian rugs contain high-quality material.


Tribal rugs are more traditional, with muted colors and simple designs. City rugs contain brighter colors, more complex designs and generally higher-quality material. Individual regions also specialize in slightly different styles. Sizes are either 7 by 10 feet, 8 by 12 or 10 by 13, although some regions specialize in irregular sizes. An expert in Persian rugs may predict a rug’s region of origin simply through its characteristics.

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