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A GUIDE TO PERSIAN RUGS AND CARPETS

Persian Rugs

Persian rugs are handmade rugs with knots tied around the warp threads on a horizontal or vertical loom. These handmade rugs are made from silk, cotton, wool, or a mixture. They have several knots and may take 2 weeks to 2 years to be completed.

The most popular traditional rugs are made in Iran (Persia), Turkey, Pakistan, Nepal, China, India, and Afghanistan.

Within the oriental rugs group produced by the countries of the so-called “rug-belt”, the Persian carpet is well distinguished by the variety and elaborateness of its manifold design. How much does it cost and why are these rugs so popular? Do read on to find out these and many more.

Table of Contents

  • 1. What are Persian rugs?
    • 1.1 The history of Persian rugs or carpets
  • 2. Designers and weavers of Persian rugs
  • 3. Why are Persian carpets so popular?
  • 4. Types of Persian rugs
    • 4.1 Tabriz rugs
    • 4.2 Heriz rugs
    • 4.3 Kashan rugs
    • 4.4 Gabbeh rugs
    • 4.5 Isfahan rugs
    • 4.6 Nain rugs
    • 4.7 Mashhad rugs
    • 4.8 Beluch rugs
    • 4.9 Qum rugs
  • 5. How much does a Persian rug or carpet cost?
  • 6. Why are Persian rugs expensive?
  • 7. Conclusion

WHAT ARE PERSIAN RUGS?

Persian rugs or carpet is a heavy textile made for a plethora of utilitarian and symbolic purposes and produced in Iran. They are also known as Iranian carpets and used in the home, for local sale, and export.

THE HISTORY OF PERSIAN RUGS OR CARPETS

An integral part of Persian culture and Iranian art is the Carpet Weaving. Persian rugs reflect the history of Iran and its various people. They are of various types, woven in parallel by nomadic tribes in villages, royal court manufacturers and town workshops.

The carpets are woven in the Safavid court; manufacturers of Ishafan during the sixteenth century are legendary for their elaborate colours and artistical designs and are treasured in museums and private collections all over the world. Due to their exceptional design, they have set an artistic tradition for another court manufacturer which was kept alive during the entire period of the Persian Empire up to the last royal dynasty of Iran.

Regional centres and towns like Tabriz, Kerman, Mashhad, Kashan, Ishafan, Nain and Qom weave carpets characterised by their unique weaving techniques and use of high-quality materials, patterns and colours.

Carpets woven in Tabriz have played an important role in reviving the carpet weaving tradition after periods of decline. Rugs woven by the Iranian villages and various tribes are distinguished by their bright and elaborate colours, fine wool, and specific traditional patterns.

The nomadic and small village weavers often produce rugs with bolder and sometimes coarse designs, which are considered as the most traditional and authentic rugs of Persia, as opposed to the pre-planned, artistic designs of the larger workplaces. Gabbeh rugs are the best-known type of carpet from this line of tradition. This famous culture of the Iranian people has gone through periods of decline during times of political instability or under the influence of commercial demands. During the latter part of the 19th century, it suffered from the introduction of synthetic dyes.

In spite of this, carpet weaving still plays a major role in the economy of modern Iran. Modern production has seen the replacement of synthetic dyes with natural dyes.

Persian carpets and rugs which are Hand-woven have high artistic and utilitarian value and prestige since the time of ancient Greek writers when they were first mentioned.

DESIGNERS AND WEAVERS OF PERSIAN RUGS

Classifying Persian carpets and rugs are best using their weaver’s social context. Different ethnic groups produced the normadic and tribal carpets with unique histories and traditions. Since these carpets were usually woven for domestic use, their designs were more traditional. Over time, this method suffered a decline, but in recent years, the tradition has been revived. They are characterised by symmetric and asymmetric knots, open to the right or left, depending on the tribe and style. The warps and wefts may be made from wool, cotton, or goat hair, in white, brown, red, blue, orange, red or pink, or natural colours.

The Kurds ethnic group is known for elaborate and finely woven carpets like Senneh or heavy fabric like Bijar carpets.

Other tribes nomadic include:
  • Beluch
  • Afshari
  • Luri
  • Khamseh federation
  • Qashqai
  • Bijar

The village carpets are identified by their less elaborate, more highly styled designs. The warps are made of wool rather than cotton. Unlike the others, they have less elaborate and ornate designs like the curvilinear patterns of city rugs. Variations of the village rugs occur in width from end to end, presence of irregular sides, and may not lay entirely flat. They are usually of higher quality than the nomadic pieces. With less tasking access to modern dyes, weavers incorporate several more colours into their weave. Village rugs come in a multitude of hues from reds and blues to gold, beige and yellow.

Some popular varieties include Heriz, Hamadan and Abadeh.

Town carpets are manufactured in some towns in the South, Northeast, Central, and West of Iran. They are described based on the town as follows:

  • Tabriz – Tabrizi weavers in the West produce all kinds of designs wool, cotton or silk in the foundation and wool or silk in a pile.
  • Kerman – This town located in the South weave finely knotted, elegant carpets with prominent cochineal red, ivory or golden yellow colours. Their medallions are elegantly designed, and elaborate versions of the boteh designs which are often seen in the field.
  • Mashhaad – Mashhad located in the Northeast, weave carpets of average quality. Commonly used colour is the cochineal red. Emogli (Amoghli) carpets represent the finest carpets manufactured in Mashhad and are made of silk. They display dense arabesque patterns on a red ground.
  • Kashan – This is the oldest city in Central Iran known for producing carpet. They are famous for weaving silk carpets. The art was revived in the late 19th century. The earliest carpets produced in Kashan showed some imbalances which were overcome, and carpets were produced with an ivory field or red elaborate ogival central medallion.
  • Isfahan, Nain, and Qom – These towns brought back to lifecarpet manufacturing by thr mid 20th century. All-silk or silk pile on cotton foundation carpets are produced with asymmetrical knots. Their design is often inspired by Safavid designs. Carpets from Qom and Nain often have richly decorated medallions, and tender light blue and ivory colours. Ishafan carpets use more dark red and blue colours. They count among the finest Persian carpets today with some of them having a knot density of over one million knots per square meter.

One of the highest quality rugs in the world today are town woven rugs. The style of weaving using a vertical loom makes the weavers produce a much more consistent weave and a higher knot density per square inch. These rugs have very elaborate designs in an even wider range of colours and complicated multiple borders.

WHY ARE PERSIAN CARPETS SO POPULAR?

Persian rugs are never out of style. Dating back to so much traditional heritage, these rugs have thrived and will continue to because they are bedecked with royal designs and unique craftsmanship. Other reasons include:

  • Persian rugs are great for decorating It is very satisfying to make a grand statement for a grand entry using a Persian rug. The beauty it adds is mind-boggling. There are so many great uses for Persian carpets. Antique tables are the perfect complement to go with an antique Persian rug. Whether it is a small room or a large hall, you can add colour and definition to it by using a Persian rug.
  • Persian rugs are durable Unlike machine-made rugs that wear out, Persian rugs are hand-knotted durable pieces of art to pass from generations to generations; an investment! Their value increases over time.
  • Persian rugs are artistic and genuine No two pieces of Persian carpet are exactly alike. They add royalty to your home décor. Some have intricate designs and borders you will not get tired of looking at. Others are like pictures you can hang on the wall. Each designer, weaver and location have their unique features.
  • Persian rugs provide comfort Rugs were originally designed to provide comfort. Their dense fibre stays warm. To ensure a warm feet when you step on cold floors, a hand-knotted wool rug is the best solution. The vibrations of sound are trapped by fibres to stop reverberating off walls and hard floors. Persian rugs are the ultimate in high-quality comfort without compromising style.
  • Their designs are artful Persian rugs will make you appreciate textile materials. The quality of material and dye is well understood because each weaver uses a distinct combination. The difference between weft and warp and the different types of knots and fibres can be illustrated.
  • They are of high quality and never go out of style Persian rugs are the typical ‘never-grow-old’ piece of interior décor. There’s no need to worry about the trend. Usage of Persian rugs and the collections b people has been on for over a millennium! There is no indication that they are going to stop. You will not grow tired of using Persian rugs; they are always trendy.

These features are the reasons why you should have at least one Persian rug in your home. Persian rugs are famous for their rich, colourful, and artistic patterns, spectacular quality and designs. The materials used in carpets include cotton, wool, and silk.

TYPES OF PERSIAN RUGS

There are so many types of Persian rugs out there. It may be easy for an expert to tell the difference between a Kashan and an Ishafan, but you might not be able to do that.

To help you build your knowledge on Persian rugs, here are a few descriptions of each type.

Tabriz Rugs

Tabriz rugs are high-quality rugs with cotton or silk warp and a wool or wool/silk pile. The patterns range from hunting scenes to teardrop medallions, floral and trees. Antique Tabriz rugs are so valuable and can only be found in exclusive private collections and museum. So, anytime you see any of these features, you can tell it’s the famous Tabriz.

They come in sizes ranging from:
  • Tabriz 2’9” x 16’3”
  • Tabriz 8’2” x 11’1”
  • Tabriz 6’2” x 9’
  • Tabriz 8’ x 11’2”
  • Tabriz 3’5” x 5’
  • Tabriz 3’4” x 4’8”
  • Tabriz 6’7” x 10’

Heriz Rugs

You can identify these rugs with their characteristic bright, vibrant colours and bold patterns. Heriz rugs will always feature a double or triple outline and large corner pieces and an oversized medallion in the centre. They are durable and can last for generations.

Find them in these sizes:

  • Heriz 2’3” x 3’4”
  • Heriz 2’5” x 3’5”
  • Heriz 3’4” x 4’8”
  • Heriz 8’4” x 11’5”

Kashan Rugs

The Kashan rugs have an ornately patterned floral field with medallion and corner pattern which is a trademark of these rugs. They’re designed with colour combinations of deep blue, rich reds, and ivory with occasional splotches of yellow, green and burnt orange. Kashan rugs are of high quality and have a knot count that ranges from 100kpsi to over 800kpsi.

Some sizes of these rugs are:

  • Kashan 6’9” x 10.’
  • Kashan 8’10” x 11’3”
  • Kashan 9’1” x 13’2”
  • Kashan 2’5” x 3’5”

Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh rugs are made of local handspun wool. These rugs are thick and coarse with simple designs. They are woven on a plain lush field of colour. Only natural dyes are used. They come in orange, yellow, rust or red colours.

Some sizes include:

  • Gabbeh 9’2” x 11’5”
  • Gabbeh 5’11” x 7’8”
  • Gabbeh 8’9” x 8’
  • Gabbeh 6’7” x 9’11”

Isfahan Rugs

Made of silk and wool, Isfahan rugs are very balanced and symmetrical. Usually, it consists of single indigo, rose or blue medallion surrounded by vines and woven on an ivory background.

Nain Rugs

These are high-quality rugs with very fine quality wool and a knot count of about 300kpsi to 700kpsi. They have intricate patterns and consist of green or blue intertwined branches on a white or light ivory background of tiny woven flowers.

Some of them are:

  • Nain 3’3” x 4’8”
  • Nain 3’3” x 4’11”
  • Nain 3’4” x 5’1”
  • Nain 3’2” x 4’10”

Mashhaad Rugs

Mashad rugs carry a lone, oversized Shah Abbasi medallion in the centre on an elaborate background filled with floral motifs in a curvilinear design. These rugs are usually large with a wool pile and a cotton foundation.

You can see them in these sizes:

  • Mashad 3’4” x 16’
  • Mashad 9’10” x 12’9”
  • Mashad 8’3” x 12’
  • Mashad 2’8” x 10’2”

Beluch Rugs

Since Balouchi rugs are of nomadic tribal origin, you will rarely find a large sized Balouchi rug. Their edges are commonly beige or brown goat or camel hair. Their simple patterned geometry design are woven with sheep wool that is dyed blue or dark red.

Some of them include:

  • Balouchi 6’4” x 10’2”
  • Balouchi 3’1” x 4’8”
  • Balouchi 3’4” x 6’3”
  • Balouchi 3’ x 5’8”

Qum Rugs

They are also called Koum, Kom, Kumm, Qhum, or Ghom. These rugs just like their names imply are woven in the Qum province of Iran and are of very high quality. They are a luxurious pile of silk or cotton, well knotted and intricate designs that include a combination of hunting scenes, flowers, birds, medallions and gardens in dark blue, reddish

brown or orange. Turquoise is always used in some element in Qum rugs.

Some of them are in these sizes:

  • Qum 4’3” x 6’9”
  • Qum 4’7” x 6’11”
  • Qum 2’8” x 3’10”
  • Qum 2’6” x 4’

HOW MUCH DOES A PERSIAN RUG OR CARPET COST?

Persian rugs can be expensive but the convenience and durability it comes with can always make up for the cost over time.

All kinds of modern Persian rugs, ranging from Gabbeh Runners, Isfahan Rugs, Nain Rugs, to Persian Runners and Tabriz Runners have their prices listed below:

  • Antique Persian Rug – Isfahan: £1,100.00
  • Modern Persian Rug: £450.00
  • Old Persian Isfahan Rug: £750.00
  • Persian Gabbeh: £375.00
  • Persian Gabbeh: £395.00
  • Persian Gabbeh: £550.00
  • Persian Gabbeh Runner: £375.00
  • Persian Gabbeh Runner: £385.00
  • Persian Isfahan: £2,950.00
  • Persian Kashan Rug: £675.00
  • Persian Kashan Rug: £450.00
  • Persian Kashkaie Rug: £450.00
  • Persian Nain Rug: £2, 950.00
  • Persian Nain Rug: £975.00
  • Persian Runner: £359.00
  • Persian Tabriz Rug: £3, 950.00
  • Persian Tabriz Runner: £850.00
  • Silk Persian Rug: £2,600.00

WHY ARE PERSIAN RUGS EXPENSIVE?

With so many answers to this question, here are a few clarifications as to why Persian rugs are expensive.

  • Time Persian rugs are handmade – Imagine the energy put into that. From as little as th material sourcing to weaving every single knot, it’s all done without the use of machinery. The result of this is time! It takes time to hand weave a rug; it’s like knitting. Some take months and even years depending on how much time is put in daily to weave the rug, the size of the rug and the material used. Remember, the finer the material, for instance, silk, the longer it will take.
  • Materials Cost and material walk hand in hand. With Persian rugs, a big factor to consider is what materials they are made from. If the rug is made from silk, it will be expensive. Wool and cotton are also expensive. Sometimes, a combination of these materials can go into a rug. These are durable materials and 100% natural. One of the most affordable although still, extremely good quality Persian Rugs are the nomadic rugs made from wool.
  • Size Machine made rugs don’t have a direct cost implication as related to the size.. With a hand-made rug, this is not the case. Every add inch to the rock size is another couple of hundred knots for that set of human hands to create. So the bigger the size, the more time is needed, and so the cost naturally increases.
  • One of a kind No two Persian rugs are the same. Each weaver has his own unique skill set which goes into weaving the rug. There may be similarities, but a closer look will spell out the difference. This affects the value. With machine-made rugs, you can have the same kind of rugs made, thus lowering the price.
  • Investment A Persian rug which is well taken care of will appreciate over time. When a Persian rug reaches about 30-99 years old, it goes into the category of ‘Vintage’. Once it gets to 100 years and above, it becomes an ‘Antique’ rug. The older a Persian rug gets, the more likely they become rare to find and rare is equal to high value.

CONCLUSION

Choose Persian rugs and carpets for your home, office, or any other place where you need comfort. Persian rugs are designed with higher attention to detail than most modern rugs. Not only are they long-lasting, but they can also often be investments that gain value with time; not forgetting the aesthetic value it brings to your home. You’ll always get compliments when you use Persian rugs.