Persian carpets have been woven for thousands of years and they are still a huge part of Persian culture today. Persian weavers export to over 100 countries. Producing over five million square metres of carpet each year, carpets are one of Iran’s biggest exports. 4/5ths of all carpets woven in Iran are sold internationally by over a million expert weavers.
Nowadays, Persian carpets face a lot of competition from other countries. Those woven in countries such as Afghanistan are cheaper to export and buy. But they also use many traditional Persian designs, which to the untrained eye look very similar to original Persian carpets. They also face competition from the industry of machine made carpets. Which lack the same level of artistry and authenticity as hand woven carpets, but are much more affordable for many people in the western world.
Persian carpets are generally placed in three categories, which have many sub-categories. These are Farsh, which are 6x4ft or larger, Qalicheh, which are 6x4ft or smaller and Gelims. These are flat-woven known as kilim and Soumak carpets. The largest carpet ever made was handwoven in Iran and was 5,625 square metres in size.
They are mostly made from wool. However cotton is also a popular material to use, especially for the foundation of the rug. Silk rugs are less common because of the higher cost of silk and that they are far less durable. Two types of knots are used, the Persian/Senneh knot and the Turkish/Ghiordes knot. The Persian knot creates much finer rugs, it is more accurate and designs end up more symmetrical. Designs often include a border of varying thicknesses and one or more motifs. Medallion designs have a central pattern while all-over designs fill up the field.
These carpets can be a range of colours, styles and designs. This is dependant on whereabouts in Iran they are made and the traditions of that area. Some particularly notable weaving centres include Qashqai, Nain, Tabriz and Qum, each of which have distinctive patterns.
Weaving pile carpets goes back thousands of years. The earliest known examples feature Persian designs that are still recognised and used today. See our blog post about the Origins of the Pile Rug, which includes the Pazryk rug; the earliest known example found in 1949, which dates back approximately 2,500 years.
Pars Rug Gallery have a huge range of Persian carpets from all over Iran, including many antique examples. Arash Karimzadeh, director, is himself Persian and his extensive knowledge of these carpets ensures that we can find one to suit any request.