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Persian Rugs:

Persian rugs and carpets of various types were woven in parallel by nomadic tribes in village and town workshops, and by royal court manufactories alike. As such, they represent miscellaneous, simultaneous lines of tradition, and reflect the history of Iran, Persian culture, and its various peoples. The carpets woven in the Safavid court manufactories of Isfahan during the sixteenth century are famous for their elaborate colors and artistical design, and are treasured in museums and private collections all over the world today.

Carpets woven in towns and regional centers like Tabriz, Kerman, Ravar, Neyshabur, MashhadKashanIsfahanNain and Qom are characterized by their specific weaving techniques and use of high-quality materials, colours and patterns.

Tabriz Rugs:

Tabriz rug/carpet is a type in the general category of Persian carpets from the city of Tabriz, the capital city of East Azerbaijan Province in north west of Iran. It is one of the oldest rug weaving centers and makes a huge diversity of types of carpets. Tabriz has been a large and worldwide famous carpet making center in the Iran and the world. It played a significant role in development the rich traditions of the decorative and applied arts.


Different types of carpets were made here, including pile and flat-weave, with simple and complex composition. The carpet making art was passed on from generation to generation and was considered the most valued heirloom. The traditional topics for the Tabriz carpets are the ornamental patterns, with the following dominant background colors: cream, red or navy blue. The most typical for this school are rugs and carpets grouped under the common name “Lachak turanj”. In the middle of the center field and in the corners of the carpet (“lachak”)(Persian: لچک triangle) there are “turanj”(Persian: ترنج Citron). The turanj in the center of the carpet is a symbol of the Moon, and the pattern formed by lozenges with the toothed leaves on the edges symbolizes the scales of the fish, which rise to the surface of the water at midnight to admire the Moon reflection. The origin of this composition dates back to the 9th-10th centuries.

Heris or Heriz:

The name of these carpets is associated with the village of Heris or Herez to the North East of Tabriz. The stylistic decoration of the “Heris” carpets is rather unusual. The composition and common shapes of the details are created on the basis of the composition “lachak turanj”, which is formed by the foliate curve-linear patterns. However, with time the patterns of this composition became dotted and created an independent carpet pattern. Normally, the carpet was woven from memory, without a sketch. There is not surprising because since the beginning of the 16th century till the present day the craftsmen in Heris have traditionally been making only this type of carpet, and they know perfectly well its design and pattern.


Serapi carpet or Serapi rug is woven in Heriz village in East Azerbaijan Province, located in northwest of Iran. These rugs are employed symmetrical knots with cotton foundation and a wool pile. The designs of these rugs are Medallion and Geometric, and the colors are Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Ivory, Pink.

Serapi is a term that is a mystery in the Persian antique carpet market. There is no location or tribe of this name. Sarab, also spelled Saab, a town in northwestern Persia, is known for weaving only runners with a camel hair pile during the nineteenth century. "Serapi" may be a nickname given by American dealers for northwestern Persian Heriz carpets during the nineteenth century. Serape is the word for the popular Mexican-Indian tribal weavings for clothing dating from the seventeenth century; the similarities of the primitive designs and the medallion in serapes to Heriz designs may have inspired American dealers to apply the well-known term to Heriz carpets. American dealers sometimes used nicknames when strong color and design similarities existed for better marketing purposes.


Isfahan rugs are knotted on either silk or cotton foundations, with up to 1.000.000 Persian knots/sqm(there have been pieces created by Seirafian master workshop with higher knot count), using exceptionally good quality (referred to as kork wool in Iran) wool for the pile, which is normally clipped quite low. In the beginning of the renewal of Isfahan as the carpet center of high quality rugs, most rugs used traditional motifs inspired by the architectural motifs and tiles that decorated the historical buildings of this great city. Designers were further inspired by the poets of Persia (Rumi, Hafez, Attar), nature, and religious spiritual intimations that are deeply ingrained in the culture. In contemporary items the palette has become more pastel, utilizing the technical perfection and artistic flair of this "City of Art". Both Classical and contemporary Isfahan’s are extremely attractive, and the subduing of the palette, particularly the elimination of strong reds, makes them more compatible with Western decorative schemes.


Kerman has been a major center for the production of high quality carpets since at least the 15th century.

By the 17th century Kerman's designers were at their most inventive and their weaving techniques of a sophistication not seen in other parts of the Persian empire. For instance, the weavers had learned to set their looms so that the cotton warps were on two different levels. They then threaded the wool wefts, leaving some tight and others sinuous, giving an immediately recognisable wavy finish to the surface of the carpet

In the 18th century some authors considered the carpets from the province, especially at Siftan, to be the finest of all Persian carpets,partly because of the high quality of the wool from the region, known as Carmania wool. Nader Shah, Naser al-Din Shah commissioned carpets from the 18th century.

By the 19th century, the city of Kerman had a long history of urban workshops, very fine wool, master weavers and a reputation for the artistic superiority of its designs.


Kashan rugs originate from Kashan an oasis town along the Kavir desert, in central Iran. It is one of the oldest cities in Iran, with archeological excavations in the Sialk hills indicating that this area was the home of pre-historic humans. As early as the 17th century Kashan had a well established silk area rug industry. Kashan rugs is still woven in the time honored traditions of the old masters, utilizing the same basic designs. Coveting by kings, at one time it was commonplace to see Kashan rugs hanging on palace walls all over the world. It is for this reason that it is also referred to as “the palace carpet”. Extremely dense Persian knots are used to weave Kashan rugs, producing an exquisite object of art.

Mohtasham Kashan:

The antique Persian carpet style known as Mohtasham Kashan (Mo-ta-shom) honors the memory of the 19th-century master weaver Hadji Mollah Mohammed Hassan Mohtasham who was, in turn, a descendant — and namesake — of a revered 16th-century Persian poet.

It’s highly improbable that Hassan Mohtasham actually invented the weaving style named for him, for according to Claremont Rug Company founder and president Jan David Winitz, extant examples date back to the early 19th-century. Hassan Mohtasham did, though, promote the style, helping to bring it into prominence.

And all, whether woven of first-shearing lamb’s wool or silk, Mohtashams are recognized for their exceptionally luminous pile and handkerchief-like touch, known as the rug’s “handle.” In design, the most accomplished pieces offer such a wide exploration of a complex pattern language that they could be compared to a musician’s finest solo.

Perhaps most notable and distinctive are Mohtasham Kashan's’ extraordinary density, typically 350 to 400 knots per square inch. “Which means,” Winitz said, “in every square inch, there are 350 to 400 or more minute mosaic tiles that create the design. We are talking about individually hand-tied knots, fashioned from extremely lanolin-rich (thus extremely difficult to work with) yarn, fashioned prior to the invention of automated steel looms— an almost inconceivable feat of manual dexterity.”

Winitz explained that some Mohtasham boast as many as 500 knots per square inch! Consider that a dime measures three-quarters-of-an-inch across. Now imagine the width of that dime comprised of 375 meticulously uniform, nearly microscopic, horizontal knots. Most Mohtashams measure between four-by-six and five-by-seven feet. At the smaller end of that spectrum, a 500-knot-per-square-inch carpet is comprised of a total of 144,000 knots; at the higher end, 210,000. Throw in the time required to shear, card and hand-spin the wool, gather and prepare the plants and herbs to create the dyes, then the actual dyeing, then assembling the loom, and a single carpet represents at least a year of intensive work.

Farahan, Sarouk, Sarouk Farahan:

Farahan rugs are known and sold as Mahal, from the city of Mahallat in the district of Farahan. The traditional rugs from this region are of the highest quality and in great demand the world over. The Sarouk is one of the most famous traditional rugs produced in the region. Tribal people meticulously weave Farahan traditional rugs to exacting specifications using the Persian asymmetrical knot.

Farahan, also spelled Fereghan, is a region in the north of the Markazi (formerly Arak) Province, located in west central Iran. Farahan rugs and carpets are known in the market from the mid nineteenth century.
Farahan is known for its many towns and villages that produce carpets, notably Cheshmeh, Mohajeran, SAROUK, and Sultanabad (renamed Arak). In the antique market, any fine carpet woven during the nineteenth century from the Farahan region carries the Farahan name. Zili Sultan rugs from Mohajeran and Sultanabad are also associated with Farahan. With the high demand for Oriental carpets from the West during the 1920s, many Farahan towns and villages adapted their weaving qualities and designs, but they marketed their weavings with their own location without adding the Farahan name. An example, Farahan Sarouks became known as just "Sarouks"; in America, as they were the number one choice for consumers, the rugs were also called "American Sarouks" in the trade.

Qum or Qume:

Qom rugs (or Qum, Ghom, Ghum) are made in the Qom Province of Iran, around 100 km south of Tehran. Although rug weaving in Qom was not a major industry until the past 100 years, the luxurious silk and wool rugs of Qom are known for their high quality and are regarded among the most expensive in the world. Persian Qum rugs are often considered as investment, because their value is constantly increasing.

Tree of life and medallion motifs feature heavily in rugs knotted in Qom. Shades are similar to most popular colors of Persian rugs - blue, red and ivory. Qom Rugs are typically smaller than other types of Persian rugs. They are often placed on walls.


The city of Sanandij, formerly known as Senneh, is the capital of Iran's Kurdistan province. The rugs produced here are still known, also in the Iran of today, under their trade name "Senneh". They belong to the most finely woven Persian rugs, with knot counts up to 400 per square inch (6200/ dm2). The pile is closely clipped, and the foundation is cotton, also silk was used in antique carpets. Some fine carpets have silk warps dyed in different colours which create fringes in different colours known as "rainbow warps" in the rug trade. Mostly blue colours are used in the field, or a pale red. The predominant pattern used to be the Herati pattern, with a lozenge-shaped central medallion also filled with repeating Herati patterns on a different background colour. More realistic floral patterns are also seen, probably in rugs woven for export to Europe.


The town of Bidjar lies around 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Sanadij. Together, these two towns and their surrounding areas have been major centers of rug production since the eighteenth century. Carpets woven in Bidjar and the surrounding villages show more varied designs than Senneh rugs, which has led to the distinction between "city" and "village" Bidjar rugs. Often referred to as "The Iron Rug of Persia", the Bidjar rug is distinguished by its highly packed pile, which is produced by a special technique known as "wet weaving", with the help of a special tool. Warps, weft and pile are constantly kept wet during the weaving process. When the finished carpet is allowed to dry, the wool expands, and the fabric becomes more compact. The fabric is further compacted by vigorous hammering on nail-like metal devices which are inserted between the warps during the weaving. Alternate warps are moderately to deeply depressed. The fabric is further compacted by using wefts of different thickness. Usually one of three wefts is consideravly thicker than the others. The knots are symmetrical, at a density of 60 to over 200 per square inch (930–2100/ dm2), rarely even over 400 (6200/ dm2).

The colours of Bidjar rugs are exquisite, with light and dark blues, and saturated to light, pale madder red. The designs are traditionally Persian, with predominant Herati, but also Mina Khani, Harshang, and simple medallion forms. Frequently the design is more rectilinear, but Bidjar rugs are more easily identified by their peculiar, stiff and heavy weaving than by any design. Bidjar rugs cannot be folded without risking to damage the foundation. A specific feature is also the lack of outlining, particularly of the smaller patterns. Full-size "sampler" carpets showing only examples of field and border designs rather than a fully developed carpet design are called "vagireh" by rug traders, and are frequently seen in the Bidjar area. New Bidjar carpets are still exported from the area, mostly with less elaborate Herati designs and dyed with good synthetic dyes

Turkish Rugs:


Uşak carpets, Ushak carpets or Oushak Carpets (Turkish: Uşak Halısı) are Turkish carpets that use a particular family of designs, called by convention after the city of Uşak, Turkey – one of the larger towns in Western Anatolia, which was a major center of rug production from the early days of the Ottoman Empire, into the early 20th century.

Ushak carpets, particularly those known as Lotto carpets, are among the later types of Oriental carpets in Renaissance painting, as they were imported by Europeans, where they adorned cathedrals, churches, and the homes of the wealthy and powerful. Ushak (Oushak) rugs are some of the finest Oriental Rugs, so much so that many of the masterpieces of the 15th and 16th centuries have been attributed to Oushak. The popular star and medallion carpets originated in Oushak.Oushak rugs are known for the silky, luminous wool they work with. The dyes tend towards: cinnamons, terracotta tints, gold, blues, greens, ivory, saffron and grays.

Anatolian rug:

Anatolian rug is a term of convenience, commonly used today to denote rugs and carpets woven in Anatolia and its adjacent regions. Geographically, its area of production can be compared to the territories which were historically dominated by the Ottoman Empire. It denotes a knotted, pile-woven floor or wall covering which is produced for home use, local sale, and export. Together with the flat-woven kilim, Anatolian rugs represent an essential part of the regional culture, which is officially understood as the Culture of Turkey today, and derives from the ethnic, religious and cultural pluralism of one of the most ancient centres of human civilisation.

The group of oriental carpets, the Anatolian rug is distinguished by particular characteristics of its dyes and colours, motifs, textures and techniques. Examples range in size from small pillows (yastik) to large, room-sized carpets. The earliest surviving examples of Anatolian rugs known today date from the thirteenth century. Distinct types of rugs have been woven ever since in court manufactures and provincial workshops, village homes, tribal settlements, or in the nomad's tent. Rugs were simultaneously produced at all different levels of society, mainly using sheep wool, cotton and natural dyes. Anatolian rugs are most often tied with symmetrical knots, which were so widely used in the area that Western rug dealers in the early 20th century adopted the term "Turkish" or "Ghiordes" knot for the technique. 

RUG History:

Early history: circa 500 BC – 200 AD

Persian carpets were first mentioned around 400 BC, by the Greek author Xenophon in his book "Anabasis.

The Sasanian Empire: 224–651

The Sasanian Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, was recognized as one of the leading powers of its time, alongside its neighbouring Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.

The advent of Islam and the Caliphates: 651–1258

The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sasanian Empire in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. Persia became a part of the Islamic world, ruled by Muslim Caliphates.

Seljuq invasion and Turko-Persian tradition: 1040–1118

Beginning at latest with the Seljuq invasions of Anatolia and northwestern Persia, a distinct Turko-Persian tradition emerged. Fragments of woven carpets were found in the Alâeddin Mosque in the Turkish town of Konya and the Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Beyşehir, and were dated to the Anatolian Seljuq Period (1243–1302). More fragments were found in Fostat, today a suburb of the city of Cairo.

The Mongol Ilkhanate (1256–1335) and Timurid Empire (1370–1507)

Between 1219 and 1221, Persia was raided by the Mongols. After 1260, the title "Ilkhan" was borne by the descendants of Hulagu Khan and later other Borjigin princes in Persia. At the end of the thirteenth century, Ghazan Khan built a new capital at Shãm, near Tabriz. He ordered the floors of his residence to be covered with carpets from Fārs.

The Safavid Period (1501–1732)

In 1499, a new dynasty arose in Persia. Shah Ismail I, its founder, was related to Uzun Hassan. He is regarded as the first national sovereign of Persia since the Arab conquest, and established Shi'a Islam as the state religion of Persia. He and his successors, Shah Tahmasp I and Shah Abbas I became patrons of the Persian Safavid art.

Shah Abbas I became patrons of the Persian Safavid art. Court manufactories were probably established by Shah Tahmasp in Tabriz, but definitely by Shah Abbas when he moved his capital from Tabriz in northwestern to Isfahan in central Persia, in the wake of the Ottoman–Safavid War (1603–18). For the art of carpet weaving in Persia, this meant, as Edwards wrote: "that in a short time it rose from a cottage métier to the dignity of a fine art.The time of the Safavid dynasty marks one of the greatest periods in Persian art, which includes carpet weaving. Later Safavid period carpets still exist, which belong to the finest and most elaborate weavings known today. The phenomenon that the first carpets physically known to us show such accomplished designs leads to the assumption that the art and craft of carpet weaving must already have existed for some time before the magnificent Safavid court carpets could have been woven.

The "design revolution"

By the late fifteenth century, the design of the carpets depicted in miniatures changed considerably. Large-format medaillons appeared, ornaments began to show elaborate curvilinear designs. Large spirals and tendrils, floral ornaments, depictions of flowers and animals, were often mirrored along the long or short axis of the carpet to obtain harmony and rhythm.

Oriental Rug:

An oriental rug is woven by hand on a loom, with warps, wefts, and pile made mainly of natural fibers like wool, cotton, and silk. In representative carpets, metal threads made of gold or silver are woven in. The pile consists of hand-spun or machine-spun strings of yarn, which are knotted into the warp and weft foundation. Usually the pile threads are dyed with various natural or synthetic dyes. Once the weaving has finished, the rug is further processed by fastening its borders, clipping the pile to obtain an even surface, and washing, which may use added chemical solutions to modify the colours.


Materials used in carpet weaving and the way they are combined vary in different rug weaving areas. Mainly, animal wool from sheep and goats is used, occasionally also from camels. Yak and horse hair have been used in Far Eastern, but rarely in Middle Eastern rugs. Cotton is used for the foundation of the rug, but also in the pile. Silk from silk worms is used for representational rugs.



In most oriental rugs, the pile is of sheep's wool. Its characteristics and quality vary from each area to the next, depending on the breed of sheep, climatic conditions, pasturage, and the particular customs relating to when and how the wool is shorn and processed. In the Middle East, rug wools come mainly from the fat-tailed and fat-rumped sheep races, which are distinguished, as their names suggest, by the accumulation of fat in the respective parts of their bodies. Different areas of a sheep's fleece yield different qualities of wool, depending on the ratio between the thicker and stiffer sheep hair and the finer fibers of the wool. Usually, sheep are shorn in spring and fall.


Cotton forms the foundation of warps and wefts of the majority of modern rugs. Nomads who cannot afford to buy cotton on the market use wool for warps and wefts, which are also traditionally made of wool in areas where cotton was not a local product. Cotton can be spun more tightly than wool, and tolerates more tension, which makes cotton a superior material for the foundation of a rug.


Silk is an expensive material, and has been used for representative carpets of the Mamluk, Ottoman, and Safavid courts. Its tensile strength has been used in silk warps, but silk also appears in the carpet pile. Silk pile can be used to highlight special elements of the design in Turkmen rugs, but more expensive carpets from Kashan, Qum, Nain, and Isfahan in Persia, and Istanbul and Hereke in Turkey, have all-silk piles. Silk pile carpets are often exceptionally fine, with a short pile and an elaborate design. 



The fibers of wool, cotton, and silk are spun either by hand or mechanically by using spinning wheels or industrial spinning machines to produce the yarn. The direction in which the yarn is spun is called twist. Yarns are characterized as S-twist or Z-twist according to the direction of spinning.



The dyeing process involves the preparation of the yarn in order to make it susceptible for the proper dyes by immersion in a mordant. Dyestuffs are then added to the yarn which remains in the dyeing solution for a defined time. The dyed yarn is then left to dry, exposed to air and sunlight.


Vegetal dyes:

Traditional dyes used for oriental rugs are obtained from plants and insects.

  • Red from Madder (Rubia tinctorum) roots,

  • Yellow from plants, including onion (Allium cepa), several chamomile species (Anthemis, Matricaria chamomilla), and Euphorbia,

  • Black: Oak apples, Oak acorns, Tanner's sumach,

  • Green by double dyeing with Indigo and yellow dye,

  • Orange by double dyeing with madder red and yellow dye,

  • Blue: Indigo gained from Indigofera tinctoria.

Synthetic dyes:

With modern synthetic dyes, nearly every colour and shade can be obtained so that it is nearly impossible to identify, in a finished carpet, whether natural or artificial dyes were used. Modern carpets can be woven with carefully selected synthetic colours, and provide artistic and utilitarian value.


A variety of tools are needed for the construction of a handmade rug. A loom, a horizontal or upright framework, is needed to mount the vertical warps into which the pile nodes are knotted. One or more shoots of horizontal wefts are woven (“shot”) in after each row of knots in order to further stabilize the fabric.

Horizontal looms:

Nomads usually use a horizontal loom. In its simplest form, two loom beams are fastened, and kept apart by stakes which are driven into the ground. The tension of the warps is maintained by driving wedges between the loom beams and the stakes.

Vertical looms:

The technically more advanced, stationary vertical looms are used in villages and town manufactures. The more advanced types of vertical looms are more comfortable, as they allow for the weavers to retain their position throughout the entire weaving process.

Warp, weft, pile:

Warps and wefts form the foundation of the carpet, the pile accounts for the design. Warps, wefts and pile may consist of any of these materials:

warp       weft       pile         often found in

wool              wool          wool           nomad and village rugs

cotton         cotton         wool           manufacture rugs

silk                 silk              silk            manufacture rugs

cotton        cotton            silk           manufacture rugs


The pile knots are usually knotted by hand. Most rugs from Anatolia utilize the symmetrical Turkish double knot.Most rugs from other provenances use the asymmetric, or Persian knot. This knot is tied by winding a piece of thread around one warp, and halfway around the next warp.

Rug 's in Iran map
Serapi design
Kashan design
Farahan design
Sarouk design
Silk Qum
Seljuk or Seljoghian
Iran Rug's Bazar
Wool washing Iran
Norazud Armenia
Carpet factory
Horizental Looms
Vertical Looms
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