Persian Wool and Silk Rugs
Persian City carpets and rugs are made in and around the cities of Isfahan, Nain, Tabriz and Kashan. Almost all of the wool and silk city rugs have a high knot density, often between 5000’000 knots per square meter up to one million knots per square meter. Many of these rugs have a combination of wool and silk to enhance the detail of the rug.
Weaving workshops with world reputable weaving names such as Seirafian and Haghigi.
The patterns are often inspired by the architecture of the area. They are also known for their high quality and intricate patterns. On the backside of the fringes there are marks called ‘kheft’ which is a way to measure the quantity of knots. The higher the number of knots between the marks the finer the rug. The warp is usually silk, sometimes cotton and the pile is a combination of wool and silk. The Isfahan motifs often consist of medallions, but figural motifs are also used.
An area where they have only been weaving carpets and rugs for just over 100 years, which is relatively new when it comes to the history of Persian rugs.
The rugs are described as 4La , 6La and 9La that is basically a way to recognise the the quality and number of knots. 9La can have up to 500,000 knots per square meter but a 4La, for example, can have up to 1.2 million knots per square meter. The more knots, the finer and more expensive the rug will be. Nain rugs have a cotton warp and a wool, or mixture of wool and silk pile. They are also recognisable with floral motifs in either an oall-over design or central medallion design.
One of the oldest rug weaving areas of the world with a wide variety of qualities.
The higher quality Tabriz rugs describe the quantity of knots per square meter by the word ‘Raj’. For example, 40 Raj refers to rugs with 400-500,000 knots per square meter, whereas a higher quality of 80 Raj has up to a million knots per square meter, though this is very rare to find these days. The warp is made of cotton or silk, and the pile is either wool or a combination of wool and silk. Some Tabriz rugs are recognisable with a cypress motif, or Mahi design, which means fish in Farsi.
Persian Traditional or Persian Village Rugs
There are hundreds of Persian villages weaving carpets and rugs and is still very much a thriving cottage industry today. In fact in all my years traveling to these villages I have yet to see any type of manufacturing. All the rugs we source from Persian villages are made in homes or small workshops next to the family home where people from the same family work together. They are very knowledgeable about their art and are very proud of all the rugs they produce. The materials used with all traditional village rugs are Warp – cotton, Weft cotton or wool and Pile wool.
Some of the most popular Traditional Village rugs are:
In the weaving area of Isfahan. A distinctive characteristic for all Yalameh rugs is their warm glowing colour a geometric design.
Lies between Luristan and Kurdistan. Many Malayer rugs have flower, ornamental or geometric designs, often with very rich colours.
In the north between Ardebil and Tabriz. As with many traditional Persian rugs the weaving takes place in over thirty villages in and around Heriz. Almost all are geometric in design with more subtle colours.
This name is quite recognisable because of the famous Ardebil carpet in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Ardebil rugs are inspired by Caucasian patterns, which generally have geometrical motifs.
Also has many weaving villages in the surrounding areas. The quality varies but the designs and patterns are quite distinctive with medallions, trees and figural motifs. Often an all-over floral motif is used and the dominant colours are red and beige.
Also known as the king of carpets, has a very different weaving style to other Persian rugs. A thicker weft in used between the rows of knots which in turn makes the pile more compact, thicker and dense. The patterns vary and often the colours used navy, red and ivory. Bijar rugs are very popular in the UK.
Persian Tribal/Nomadic Rugs
There are around 1.5 million nomads living in Iran today, and although this is gradually decreasing, the tradition of moving according to seasons, heading north in the summer and south in the winter, is a key part of the tribal community tradition. The sheep then graze in high altitudes with lush foliage, which will then create good strong quality wool to make the tribal rugs.
The Lors and Baktiars are two Persian tribal groups who migrate in the Zagros Mountains. Many of them have now settled in communities in the Lorestan area.
Baluch Nomads are from western areas of Pakistan where many Turkish tribes had settled years ago.
The Shiraz and Quashgai Nomadic people are from the South West area known as Fars region. Rugs are not woven in Shiraz itself but in the surrounding areas, it is here where many of the original nomads have settled over time. However, this is an area where you still find many Quashgai nomads migrating.
Tribal or Nomadic rugs are named after the people and are all distinctively different:
Thick and durable tribal rugs. The designs are usually floral or garden inspired, the garden motif (khesti) is the most recognisable design. The rug is divided into individual squares with animals and plants acting as symbols.
These tribal rugs are always a mixture of red and brown colours. They are mainly geometric in designs with life trees and are mostly made as small rugs. Both Bakhtiar and Baluch rugs use cotton or wool warp, weft and always a wool pile.
Shiraz and Guashgai
Often geometric in style, featuring people and many small familiar animals. They are mainly woven from memory, the rugs often have a centrally placed medallion repeating in all four corners with a variety of birds, trees and flowers in the design. Pictorial rugs illustrating lions are also made to honour tribal leaders. The materials used for Persian Shiraz and Quashgai rugs are usually warp, weft and pile in wool.