For many people, ancient Persia is associated with caravans of camels, loaded with bright Persian carpets and slowly floating through sandy deserts. Yes, undoubtedly, the history of ancient Persia is inextricably connected with the history of carpet weaving, the art of which was passed on from generation to generation. Carpets have always been considered the most expensive family value, and without them the Persian house was unthinkable. For this period of time, Persian carpets are known widely outside their homeland. And today we want to tell you in detail about the history and varieties of them and will help you to make the right purchase when traveling.
To tell the story of the Persian carpets, we need to get 2500 years back in history. The oldest Persian carpet was found in Altay. The area in which the artifact was found is considered to be the territory of ancient Persia.
Historians claim that the nomads began to weave carpets, which were light, and it was easy to fold and carry them from place to place. People used carpets to protect themselves from wind and sandstorms. The first carpets were not as elegant and luxurious: they were plain and practical. In those days, the family weaved carpets together and used for personal needs. It was only at the beginning of our era when the carpets became the items for sale.
Over time, the simple carpet got brighter colors and patterns. At first, the images of animals, people, symbols of the moon and sun were pictured on the carpet. Weavers began to portray the whole legends on the carpets.
Even in the 400 century BC, writer Xenophon described the Persian carpet as a work of art and luxury. In times of Xenophon, the carpet was a prestigious gift that kings used to present as a sign of respect.
By adopting the Islamic religion the traditions of carpet weaving have changed. Instead of animals, the carpets were decorated with symbols and signs. Sometimes, the carpet could become a kind of Koran.
Since the beginning of the history of carpet weaving to this day, the most luxurious and unique carpet is considered “Baharestan” (Spring carpet, 5th century BC), which shows a spring garden. The carpet belonged to the Shah Khosrov 1 Anushirwan. A carpet of 30 meters width and 122 meters in length and weighing several tons was woven from the golden thread and precious stones. Unfortunately, we heard only stories about the carpet, the carpet was lost during the invasion of Peria.
In the 15th century, the most expensive Persian carpet was woven, which in 1928 was sold in London for the price of $ 111,555, it was woven in the city of Isfahan.
Persian Carpets: the variety of Persian carpets
The traditions of carpet weaving in Iran are kept as an important part of culture, and to this day handmade carpets are considered to be a luxury item. A variety of carpets is striking: each province has its own unique style and characteristic patterns of carpet weaving. To date, there are a few major centers of carpet weaving: Tabriz, Isfahan, Nain, Qum and Gabe.
True connoisseurs will define Persian carpets from Tabriz at a glance: it has a medallion in the center, which symbolizes the moon. Mosques, battles scenes, nature, etc. are depicted on the carpet. Primary colors are red, blue and cream.
Isfahan carpets are the most popular in Europe. In the 4th century, the first manufactory was opened in Isfahan, which produced the best carpets in the country. Isfahan carpets have bright colors with tiny patterns. The smaller the pattern, the more expensive the carpet is.
Carpets made in Qum are the most expensive and luxurious. They are made of silk and have rare color combination for Persian carpets like ivory, green and brown. The color combination makes carpets truly luxurious. Silk carpets are lighter and thinner, the price of the carpet is twice as expensive than the carpets made of wool.
Carpets of Nain have bright green and blue colors. The main carpet ornaments are small flowers and twigs. The main unique feauture of such carpets is the usage of thin cotton for weaving.
Carpets from Gabe are more practical both in price and in use. The masters weave Gabe bilateral carpets with large prints and ornaments. Those carpets do not go to any comparison with luxurious Persian carpets, but the quality and price of them made Gabe carpets popular throughout the country and abroad.
Persian Carpets; Where to buy Persian Carpets?
To date, 75% of the world’s carpets are produced in Iran. Unique handmade carpets have a high price, but this price is justified: a carpet made of natural materials retain the bright colors and soft texture for centuries.
Each city has its own Iranian market, where you will definitely find Persian carpets for sale. Attractive low prices, however, do not guarantee high-quality products. Most likely, at a low price, you will buy a fake Persian carpet that is not even handmade. To recognize handmade carpet, you need to flip it: on the reverse side, it has to be as bright as on the front. When exporting a modern Perisan carpet there is no need to have special permission, but in case you have bought an antique old carpet, you’ll need to get permission.
If you want to buy a real Persian carpet, go to the city of Yazd. Here, you will hardly buy a fake Chinese onet. In Yazd carpets are sold at almost every corner; they are displayed even on rooftops.