The Persian Carpets

The Art of Persian Carpets

The Persian carpet or rug is an indispensable part of Persian art and culture. Carpet weaving is surely one of the most important indications of Persian culture, art and dates back to the old Persia. The exquisitely intricate patterns and natural dyes have represented it as one of the most Iranian worthwhile skills.

Persian carpets can be divided into three groups:

  • Farsh/Qali (sized anything greater than 6*4 feet)
  • Qalicheh which is a small rug (sized 6*4 feet and smaller)
  • Gelim as nomadic carpets that includes Zilu  which is a rough carpet

Zilus are flat weaves but carpets or rugs are pile weaves. the pile can be from silk, wool, or fine wool that is called Kork.

Persian Rug Tools

Persian carpets and rugs are mainly made on the vertical loom but in the case of being lucky to visit the Iranian nomads, we can see the horizontal loom as well. They use the horizontal one in order to fold and carry them easily from camp to camp.

There are other tools such as comb, hook, spindle, scissors, knife, and of course the design plate that you can see and experience the way of using these tools on our journey.

 

The Pazyryk Carpet: The world's oldest carpet! 


The Pazyryk carpet is the oldest carpet in the world which was found in the Pazyryk Valley at the beginning of the Altai Mountains in Russia in the frozen tomb of a Scythian ruler along with other ancient artifacts such as a wooden vase, a mummy and the image of a horseman,…by Sergei Rodenko, a Russian archaeologist From 1326 to 1328 (1949-1947). Sergei Rodenko after studying the structure, texture and design of the carpet and its patterns, noticed the great similarity of the motifs of this rug with the reliefs of Persepolis; “It reminds us Persepolis.” He said. Most researchers consider this carpet to be part of the handicrafts of the Parthians or Medes. But there are still different theories about the true history of this carpet. As above mentioned the Pazyryk carpet was found in a tomb of a Scythian king. The Scythians, also known as the Saka or the Iskuzai, were nomadic peoples who lived in the years before the Achaemenids in parts of Iran. 

Pazyryk carpet is a wool carpet with vivid colors. This quadrate carpet is almost square and its dimensions are 1.98 by 1.89 meters. The patterns in it include a picture of horsemen, grazing deer, and mythical animals with eagle heads and lion bodies, and floral fringes. The rug is currently kept in the Armitage Museum in Russia. It has 3600 symmetrical knots and is one of the most beautiful rugs ever woven in the world and is truly one of the glorious symbols of Iranian art.

There are various patterns woven on the rug, which were designed with great care and art, and behind each of them lies a long story; There are flowers on both sides of the carpet that have a Babylonian design, and this design was popular before the birth of Christ. This rug has five margins around it. In the middle of this carpet, you can see flowers with four lotus leaves. All around these flowers, you can still see blue and very dazzling flowers, which are more common in Turkish carpets today. The colors used in Pazyryk are vivid and beautiful colors, such as blue, yellow, red, etc., which are dull today due to antiquity, but must have had bright and dazzling colors in the past. Thousands of carpets have been simulated and copied from it since the discovery of Pazyryk.

Among the unique patterns and motifs of this rug are 28 horsemen whose image has been immortalized in this amazing ancient masterpiece and each of their faces, clothes and even helmets, which are completely Iranian, have been designed delicately with all elegance. The pictures of these horsemen were woven with amazing delicate details. For example, the tails of the horses are woven (this custom has been common during the wars and battles), or even the riders’ clothes and outfits have been designed with incredible care and accuracy. Legendary animals with lion’s head and horse’s body, which are Iranian mythical creatures, can also be seen around the carpet, reflecting the beliefs of the ancient people of Iran.

Apart from the fact that the designs woven on this carpet are a perfect mirror of the history, culture and art of ancient Iranian people, another noteworthy point is that its material is made of fibers and wool, which decomposes after a short time and disappears but this amazing wool carpet has survived to this day. Researchers say the only reason given for this was because of the mountain cold. It is completely frozen and remains the same to this day.

 

Persian Carpets of any kind


Urban Carpets

Yazd Carpets

Naein Carpets



CLOAK WEAVING LOOM (ABA BAFI)




CARPET WORKSHOP – NAIEEN


Isfahan Carpets

Qom Carpets

Qom rug: A true masterpiece!
One of the most famous Iranian hand-woven carpets is Qom Silk Rug. Qom silk rug market is not limited to Iran but has its own customers and enthusiasts all over the world. One of the most important features of the silk carpet in Qom province is that it is woven in such a beautiful and natural way that makes it look like a painting. It was about a century ago that the carpet weaving industry in Qom gradually began to develop, and the weaving of hand-woven silk carpets and rugs in this province began in earnest, using various designs and patterns, and this made this carpet become a reputable and valuable carpet in the world.
The carpet weaving industry has been popular in Qom province since long ago. This industry was first common among the villagers and nomads of this province but the modern form of the Qom silk carpet became popular about eighty years ago and in the second decade of the twentieth century. This period coincided with the arrival of Kashani merchants in Qom, who took the carpets frame loom to Qom and started this type of carpet weaving on a limited scale.
The rugs that were first woven in Qom were not like today’s modern silk carpets because they usually did not use high quality raw materials and their texture was also large and coarse. As a result most of these silk rugs were not delicate and did not have a high quality. Gradually, in the following years, fundamental changes were made in the weaving process of carpets and rugs in Qom province, and carpet weavers and rug pattern designers of Qom turned to all-silk carpets that were delicate fine-textured, and provided precious and luxurious carpets.
In less than two decades, this type of carpet weaving developed its way in Qom and entered the commercial phase and became famous as a valuable Iranian Carpet.
Qom hand-woven rugs, considering the variety of designs, colors, lint, type of texture and fibers used in them, can be called a true mirror of Iranian art! The variety of carpets design in Qom is so great that no other province has been like this. In general, in Qom carpets, one can easily see a skillful adaptation of all styles of carpet weaving in Iran.
In Qom carpet weaving workshops, woolen, cotton and silk threads are used for weaving. At first, the carpets produced in Qom were made of not very fine wool. In the following years, the artists of Qom developed the carpet weaving industry and used high-quality silk in warp and pile into woolen and fluffy carpets, which are known as “Cheleh Abrisham” and “Gol- Abrisham” carpets. And today, they produce all kinds of all-silk and delicate carpets with a very high quality and excellent number wates, which are made entirely of silk. The knots are tied in a Persian and asymmetrical style, and the knot density in fine-textured and silk rugs in many cases approach the limit of one million knots per square meter. The designs and patterns used in Qom’s silk carpets have a wide variety of colors, ranging from 20 to 30 colors, and in some cases 100 colors.
One of the most important features of Qom carpets is the existence of absolute order in their weaving. In other Iranian carpets, sometimes a few irregularities can be seen behind the carpets, although this type of disorder is negligible, but Qom carpet is even free of this kind of disorder, and this factor has become one of the main reasons for the popularity and great reputation of Qom carpet.

Kashan Carpets



Silk Fibers – Kashan


Mashhad Carpets

Kerman Carpets

Tabriz Carpets

Turkaman Carpets



Carpet Museum – Gonbad


Rural Carpets

Qashqai Carpets

The Qashqai Carpet:
The Qashqai nomads usually live in the Fars province in the southwest of Iran but they can also be found in other parts of Iran such as Khuzestan, Isfahan, Chaharmahal Bakhtiari, Bushehr and… They move two times a year, between the winter pasture near the Persian Gulf and the summer pasture in the Zagros Mountains.



QASHQAI CARPET



In Fars province, most of the kilim and carpet production is done by Qashqai nomadic women and girls. Qashqai kilims and carpets are famous and demanded not only in Iran but also in the world due to the originality of beautiful patterns and colors and the excellent quality of the texture. The most important kilim production centers in Fars province are Firoozabad, Mamasani, and Darab. Persian nomads, especially Qashqais and Khamseh tribes, are more involved in this art than other nomads. This “art-industry” is mainly done by women. In general, the production of this handicraft is done by women from the initial stage to the last stage. The most professional weavers of Qashqai are mainly from Kashkuli, Boli, Igdrogah, and Chegani tribes.
One of the interesting features of Qashqai carpets is that pre-designed patterns are not usually used for their weaving and the patterns are designed mentally, the women who weave these carpets create patterns of their choice. Designs that have been passed down from previous generations are usually used, and minor changes are made based on the local culture and customs in the area so usually, no two rugs are exactly alike. But these days, with the advancement of kilim weaving industry, pre-designed patterns are sometimes used.
The most common motifs seen in Qashqai carpets are the tree, bird, sun, different flowers like eight-petal and six-petal flowers, lilies, Common sunflower and other traditional motifs and patterns such as palm trees, fish, lion, Peacock, and very delicate paisley patterns.
Herbal dyes or chemical dyes are used to dye woolen yarns used in kilim weaving. The oldest Qashqai carpets do not have more than eight distinct colors, and only in the carpets woven in the late twelfth century AH, the number of colors exceeds ten, and in the middle of the thirteenth century, it reaches fourteen colors. It should be noted that the special dark red color (known as Persian red) is an essential color in the art of Qashqai carpet weaving. This red color is mostly used in the coloring of bergamots, and sometimes the curls and background of the carpet are painted in this color, but it is rarely used at the margins. For coloring the text and background of the carpet, the most cherished color among the Qashqais is turquoise blue, followed by green as well as white.


QASHQAI CARPET



The Qashqai carpet weaving frame loom is horizontal and the weaver sits on the ground to weave because it is much easier to carry on the backs of horses and cattle. The Qashqai carpets are mostly soft and almost delicate and thin, and that’s the difference between them and other Persian carpets. Knots are used in Qashqai carpets both symmetrically (Turkish) and asymmetrically (Persian).
One of the advantages of these woven fabrics, especially Qashqai carpets, is that no matter how much they are used, their value increases. The older, the more valuable!
Most of the old Qashqai carpets are made of wool. The Qashqais, exclusively for weaving very fine and delicate rugs, used yarn and rarely silk. But today, the scarcity of natural wool has caused Qashqai carpets to be mostly weaved from thread (cotton); therefore the original wool Qashqai carpets are scarce and rare.

Gombul: Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad handicrafts!
The Gombul or tassel is also used as a finishing feature in fabric and clothing decoration. It is a decorative ornament weaved in different parts of the world and depending on the culture of each region; it has different uses and is woven in different shapes, sizes and colors. In Iran, it has been woven for a long time by nomads, especially Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad nomads, under the name of Gombul, and is generally used as a black tent (Siah chador) decorations.
Gombul or Mangule or Sharabeh or tassel is a hand-woven yarn (a ball-shaped bunch of plaited) that most nomads hang on to the black tent (Siah chador) for decoration mostly for celebrations. It is interesting to know that nomads use some beautiful decorations during weddings and mourning ceremonies. They use colored Gombuls to decorate their tents. Gombul weaving is one of the handy crafts of the people (special nomads) of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad. The Gombuls are tied to each other like a thread and are used as a colorful decoration on tents and…
Gombul-weaving:
For this purpose, they prepare a knitted fabric and every 20 cm (like the colored threads of the wedding ceremony) they make cotton balls from colored woolen or yard threads and hang them in front of the tents. Gombul is weaved in different sizes and for different uses. Coarse and woolen Gombuls is used for ropes, black tents and small button gombuls are used to decorate the sacks and saddlebags. Colored Gobuls are even used to decorate ribbons on pavilions. Other uses for gombul include decorating horse saddlebags, kilim and Jajim decorations and as the decorative knitting of the house, and is also used as a colored curtain and garments.
The average length of the gombuls is 15 cm and their headline is 5 to 8 cm and to fasten the straps, they sew these straps with thread and needle. Gombuls can be hung on a strap 2 to 5 cm in diameter, or a strip 10 to 7 cm wide.

The Asad-abadi Carpet





The Asad-Abadi (Abarkuhi) Carpet:
Asadabad (Abarkuh) is a village in Bahman section of Abarkuh city in Yazd province of Iran. This village is located in Esfandar Dehestan. Historical evidence suggests that the people of Yazd used to weave cloth in the past and used traditional weaving devices, such as “Sher-Bafi”, for this purpose. In Yazd, carpets are generally produced with vertical rotating loom and asymmetrical Persian knots and two wefts. The warp is made of cotton and weft are also made of cotton and sometimes “wool”.
At present, 1020 carpet looms have been active in this city by Asadabadi carpet weavers. Among the original and traditional carpets of Asadabad region, we can mention Mahi-Darham (tangled fish), Malmahdareh mahi, Termeh, and Angelas.
Annually, about 1060 meters of handmade carpets are produced and marketed by Asadabadi carpet weavers. Iranian carpets, including Abarkuh carpets, can be found in almost all countries and are a symbol of Iranian culture and art.
After the closure of the caravanserai desert roads, the city of Abarkuh gradually fell into forgetfulness, and it’s very prestigious carpet weaving industry declined.


CARPET WORKSHOP-ABARKOUH



The first example of the rare Abarkuhi rug is kept as an ancient masterpiece of Iranian carpet weaving in the Iranian Carpet Museum. This beautiful elegant rug that looks like painting has three bergamots in its pattern that tell the story of Sheikh Sanaan and the Christian girl (an ancient Persian love story) make this carpet a unique and legendary woven miniature. The ancient and Islamic-like style, the Shah Pasandi’s margin (a pattern taken from Safavid carpets), the accuracy, fine and precise weaving of pottery and vase motifs, and finally the shiny and velvet wool of the carpet, have given it great value. This carpet is woven in the dimensions of 380 x 200 cm and was woven at the end of the 13th century AH.
Another Abarkuhi carpet is kept in the Iranian Carpet Museum. This carpet is 229 x 150 cm and it was woven in the early fourteenth century AH. These rugs are woven with asymmetrical knots with two wefts. The pottery patterns known as Zel-e-Sultani have been one of the most common hand-woven patterns of Abarkuhi Carpet.

Other Carpets

Gabbeh

Gabbeh:
Gabbeh or gabba is a very delicate and beautiful kind of Persian rug. It is also called Gava or Khersak. Gabbeh or Khersak (which means bear cub) is a rug made of animal wool, which is usually woven in small size by Lor and Qashqai nomads in Iran. It literally means thick and rough and is a kind of carpet that has a huge and coarse texture. It was originally woven as an underlayment and rug.
Gabbeh weaving is common in most rural and nomadic areas. Among the important centers of Gabbeh weaving, we can mention Dou-gonbadan, Basht, Arro in Gachsaran city, Tal Gar, Cheshmeh Belqis, Deh Sheikh and Charam in Kohkilouyeh city, Boyer-ahmad and the rural areas of Bushehr province. Fars province has long been one of the most important and largest tribal centers. The Qashqai, Khamseh, Mamasani and Bakhtiari tribes were engaged in Gabbeh weaving.
Gabbeh has relatively long warp and weft, and more wefts are used in its texture, which has a significant effect on Gabbeh’s softness. The number of wefts of some gabbehs sometimes reaches from three to eight wefts per row and the height of the wefts sometimes reaches up to one centimeter. The average weight of Gabbeh is 3 kg per square meter.
In the past, Gabbehs were woven in simple designs and without any patterns. Weavers were often inspired by the environment and nature around them, and used their mental designs on Gabbeh. Because the weavers used to produce it for their personal needs and consumption, they mainly used their mental ideas and imaginations in its weaving, and sometimes they displayed their hopes and wishes on Gabbeh. So every Gabbeh has a story!

Gabbeh is an original hand-woven rug, and the patterns used in its texture distinguish it from other hand-woven carpets. As above mentioned most of Gabbeh’s designs are inspired by the nature around the weavers and based on their mentality and imaginations, which make Gabbeh special!
Gabbeh often have bright colors such as white, cream or milky in the background. The common feature of all Iranian Gabbehs is the traditional patterns.
In the past, the Qashqai and Lor tribes used to weave Gabbehs just for their personal use in the shape of carpets and rugs with wool yarn, but today Gabbehs have found many fans and are woven more than before. Gabbeh is mostly woven in the “Persian weaving” method, but the “Turkish weaving” method is rarely seen among the tribes and nomads, and the Gabbehs are woven on horizontal looms.
The best gabbehs are made of spring cut wool, which are dyed in a natural and herbal way. Gabbeh’s designs and patterns are entirely subjective and mostly contain the traditional geometric designs. In general, the main pattern of Persian Gabbehs is formed by a rectangular square and a row of rhombuses in the middle of which the vertices of each rhombus are connected to the vertices of other rhombuses and are called “kam” in the local term. In Gabbeh, geometric patterns are usually symmetrical.
The most common patterns of Iranian Ghabbehs have been developed over thousands of years. The geometric shapes and motifs of birds and animals in the background that may be composed of geometric shapes or flowers (something like Turkmen rugs) or it is like a Qashqai rugs, with one to three bergamot in each corner.
Gabbeh, which is also known as Khersak carpet, has long been the handiwork of nomads in different regions such as Bushehr, Shiraz, Khorasan, etc., and is in fact one of the main activities of these people. It should be noted that Fars province, with a 150-year history in the field of Gabbeh weaving, can be considered one of the pioneers of this art in Iran. This region includes tribes and nomads such as Qashqai, Khamseh, Mamasani and Bakhtiari tribes, and the Gabbehs of the Qashqai Turks of Fars is one of the best, so that it has a special reputation abroad.

Kilim

Kilim:
Kilim is a hand-woven rug made of warp and weft, usually woven from the wool of domestic animals and generally used as a rug or carpet. Although Kilim weaving may have other uses for nomads other than carpet or rug, including handmade salt shakers covers, horse-saddlebags, and tents. In Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa, kilims are woven wherever goats, sheep, and camels are bred and whose people specialize in carpet weaving. The Turkmen, Caucasian, Turkish, Arab, and Persian people have produced and used kilims since a long time ago. According to historical evidences, the history of this beautiful and valuable art dates back to 2500 BC; the oldest kilim woven from this period has been discovered among ancient Egyptian artifacts.
This beautiful handicraft is produced in various countries in the Middle East, such as Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and so on. In our country, in addition to tribes and nomads, in Khorasan, Fars, Kurdistan, Baluchistan, Yazd, Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, different types of kilims are made. Most famous Iranian kilims are Shahsavani, Lori, Khamseh, Balouchi, Harsin, Qashqai, Turkmen, Afshari, Zarandi, and Saneh.



Kilim – Kashan



Kilim is different from Zillow and Jajim. In Persian literature, kilim with Zillow or Jajim and… is generally used as the same, but actually kilim is a special type of carpet that is made of weaving wefts on the threads that are weaved on the vertical frame loom and auxiliary devices such as Masoureh are not used for weaving kilim.
Kilim or Palas is a type of rug and land covering that is woven from silk, goat hair, fleece, or wool of domestic animals. Traditional kilims are commonly used to cover the land, walls, prayer rugs and also as veneers for animals, but are now also purchased as an artistic handicraft for decorating modern urban homes.
The designs used in these types of weaves are generally geometric patterns that come in a variety of shapes and motifs, such as triangular, rhombus, hexagonal, and quadrangular. Of course, many original and traditional motifs (which sometimes take the form of animals, and sometimes Termeh, flowers, and plants) adorn the Iranian kilims. The different designs used in these arts depend on the type and area in which they are woven.
In the past, dyed yarn with natural dyes has been used in weaving of kilims, and this tradition continues to this day for weaving of high-quality and original traditional kilims. Dyeing materials are generally made from plant and mineral sources, although animal sources such as “Ghermez-daneh” may also be used. Warps, which are usually made from animal wool, are usually dyed, which results in a variety of designs in the kilim texture by combining these dyed yarns.
Among the famous kilims designs, the following can be mentioned:
Linear design (Muharramat or Afshari)
Shamlou design
Shiraki-pich design
Sofreh-kordi design
Simple floor design
Striped design
Brick design (or frame-frame)
The colors used in traditional kilims are plant-based. Sometimes the kilims are washed with tea and walnut skin to make them look more colorful and antique.
The kilim weavers (mostly nomads) do not have a limit or any standard on the size of the kilim, and according to their needs, they weave the kilim in a small size for use as decoration or a larger one for using as a carpet.
The warps are generally made of cotton, but some kilims are also seen on wool warps. The weft is usually made from the wool of domestic animals. Fluffy weft (obtained from animal hair) may also be used in more delicate kilims, which are mostly used for decoration. Today, it is sometimes woven with artificial yarns such as acrylic, chromic, and aniline thread.
Every knot that is woven for weaving carpets or kilims has a story; Stories come together and the result is a masterpiece that catches your eye. If these knots are made of silk thread, its beauty will be multiplied.

Leave a Reply