The Persian Carpet
The persian carpet is synonymous with perfection. it's exquisit patterns and natural dyes have rendered it the most sought after woven textile worldwide.
the tradition of carpet weaving in Iran can be traced to early historic period. A rug discovered in Pazirik valley in Altai Mountains in Central Asia keeps in record the earliest rug wowen using this ancient tradition. The peope who had woven the rug were Scythians , an Iranian people living across the steppes of Central Asia at the time, who we also find bearing tribute to the persian king at persepolis. The symmetric knot was used to make the rug. This knot has now wrongly cometo be known as the Turkic knot. the motifs on the rug were all Achaemenian, precisely similar to those found on jewelry and art of the persians.
Persian rugs and carpets are mainly made on a vertical loom. nomadic weaves are made on a horizontal loom, which is collapsible and as such , portable. Persian weaves occur either as flat weaves such as Ziloos, or pile weaves, like carpets and rugs.
The material can either be of wool, fine wool or silk either for the warp, the weft and the pile. Wool is attained from nomadic sheep grazing on quality grasses of Iranian highlands ensuring good quality. The bulk of the silk produced in iran comes frm the Caspian region. The silk is then carried to Kashan where it is degummed and released into the market, sometimes under the name Kashan. The natural dyes comefrm every day disposable waste such as pomegranate skin, or planted and carefully treated madder. Other natural dyes include: walnut skin; straw; indigo; planted in southeastern parts of Iran; cocheneal, an insect ofthe ladybird family; saffron, used to dye the yarn for more expensive silk rugs and carpets; weld, giving the color yellow for more modest budgets. These natural dyes and more have to be applied with great care and know-how. To produce lasting colors, mordants have to be applied to prepare the material for dying at molecular lavel. The mordants can be of plant, animal or mineral origin. They are used again to make the dyed material colorfast.
Persian architecture is modular. As a result, rooms in a traditional Iranian home are standard. Iranian carpets are made for such hmes and cosequently they are traditionally standard, athough in more modern times they have been made to accommodate modern needs.
Nomadic rugs and carpets offer some unique features. Unlike their city counterparts, nomadic weaves are made not according to a prepared design. the weaver imporvises the patterns as the weaves, hence creating a unique piece like which may never be produced again. motifs on these are simple, and the material is generally wool. The mos famous nomadic weavers in Iran are the Qashqai and the bakhtiyari nomads of southern and western Iran. Other famous nomadic weavers include the Afshars, the Turkmen, the Baluchis, and more.
Iranian city rugs are woven in many different centers. Some of the more prominent centers are Tabriz, haris, Kerman, Ravar, Esfahan, Kashan, Yazd, Nain, Arak, Qom, Sarouq. Out of the above mentioned, Nain and Qom are recent centers of silk rug and carpet production. They have earned themselves a strong reputation and a sizable niche in the market because of the high quality of their products.
Mr. Ali Sadrnia- B.S. in English Translation and Tour leader