The famous city of Nain, in the central Persia, today’s Iran, placed between Isfahan and Yazd, is well-known for its production of high quality and really refined handmade carpets. The particular category is also very popular in Europe and it is characterized by a rich floral design in spirals and arabesques, which is spread all over the surface of the carpet. The central part of the rug is often decorated with a floral medallion and other motifs, inspired by the natural world, while the dominant colors are blue and ivory. The materials used by manufacturers are basically wool, or a combination of wool and silk on a woolen, silk or cotton warp. Most of Nain carpets consist of 500.000 up to 1.000.000 knots per square meter, an element that divides the Nain carpets into 3 categories: 4La, 6La, 9La, where ‘La’ in Farsi (persian language) means layer. The less ‘las’ the more refined and expensive a Nain carpet is.
The over-populated city of Tabriz, in the area of Azerbaijan, produces one of the most beautiful and delicate category of persian handmade carpets. For many centuries, Tabriz was thought to be one of the most glorious persian cities, with great culture and history. The characteristics of this category are the various pastel colors, which are chosen to decorate floral motives and other natural elements. It is said that Tabriz carpets represent the beauty of paradise, as the combination of design and colors, give out a sense of utopia and serenity. In addition, Tabriz carpets are-with no doubt-one of the most exquisite and popular category. They are preferred to decorate not only classical designed places and homes, but also modern ones as well. These carpets consist of approximately 500.000-1.000.000 knots per square meter, while the materials used, are wool and silk on wool, silk or cotton warp. Finally, persian manufacturers of Tabriz carpets have been inspired by persian poetry, in order to make these very special pieces of art.
Isfahan city, placed in the central part of Persia, is worldwide known for its unique quality of handmade carpets, as they reflect the special beauty of the city’s architecture, art and handicrafts. There is a rumor, all over the world, claims that Isfahan city encloses half of the world’s beauty. The patterns used in these carpets are often inspired by beautiful gardens, natural landscapes and king’s palaces. Carpets of Isfahan have high-class, when it comes to the composition of the patterns, materials and designs, giving out a sense of luxury and excellence. The high knot density (approximately 600.000-1.000.000 knots per square meter) places Esfahan carpets to the top category of persian handmade rugs. The use of silk is much extended at this category, as it creates a beautiful sense of light and depth.
The holy-religious town of Gom, placed at the Southern part of Persia, produces carpets that depict a large spectrum of natural motifs, garden views, hunting scenes and the famous Persian subject called “The tree of life’’. This category of rugs consists of approximately 600.000-1.000.000 knots per square meter and the manufacturers use special quality of wool, called ‘’kolk’’. This type of wool comes from the inner side of the animal’s neck, where the sun is unable to dry up the wool. Therefore, the particular quality of wool is extremely soft and fluffy, giving a sense of pure silk, when is touched. Moreover, silk is the main material Gom carpets are made of and that is why this category is so refined, classy and popular all around the world. They are also made of wool on a cotton warp.
This special category of handmade carpets comes from the historical city of Kashan, where local artists used to decorate the palace of Shah Abash the Great, during the Persian Renaissance. They are characterized by a dense grid of floral motifs, while in the center of the carpet is usually depicted an impressive large floral medallion, surrounded by flowers and arabesques. Very often in Kashan carpets we can see figural motifs, such as the image of a man praying on his knees. The dominant colors of Kashan rugs are deep red and blue, combined with yellow and green. Most of them are large-sized carpets, as they were manufactured to decorate huge palaces and public places. The main material used in Kashan rugs is refined wool and cotton in the warp.
Sarough carpets belong to a less classical category of handmade persian rugs and they come from carpets are red and blue, while the most usual motifs are main geometric, combined with figural ones, all given in an abstract-modern technique. The particular type of carpets are creations of Nomad people, who used to wander around the country and been inspired of nature. This inspiration is clearly depicted at these carpets, where plenty of natural and environmental motifs are spread all over the surface of the carpet, given in a geometric style.
The city of Hamedan, placed in the Northern West Persia, is famous for its colorful rugs and its variety of designs and motifs, as they are manufactured in more than 500 villages. The wool, as the main material, is of high quality, durable and therefore suitable for extensive use. Most of Hamedan rugs have geometric motifs and they belong to the nomadic style category of handmade carpets.
Τhis category of handmade rugs is made in Pakistan. The patterns are mostly inspired by Russian geometric designs that give out an abstract style. They are bright and colorful carpets and the dominant colors are red, blue and yellow. The pale is usually made of wool in a woolen or cotton warp. They are washed in stone, technique that gives them a shiny texture.
The area of Yalame in Persia is placed in the southern part of the country and manufactures nomadic style carpets, well-known for their intensive-deep colors and their impressive variety of motifs. A very characteristic element of Yalame rugs, is the repetitive motif of the diamond that covers the middle part of the carpet, given in different colors.
This type of carpets comes from Kelardasht, a beautiful village in Northern Persia. The style of these carpets is mainly nomadic, decorated with natural and primitive patterns. They give out an abstract/rustic style, where the most popular colors are dark blue and red, often framed by white lines and other geometric shapes.
Their pale is thick and durable, but soft when touched.
This category of handmade rugs is manufactured in Pakistan, while the patterns are inspired by the traditional persian natural motifs. These rugs were named “Ziegler” from a famous artist in Germany, who copied the persian design and imported it to Europe, in order to make a European version of this particular style. Their patterns (flowers and arabesques) are given in a less detailed style, compared to the classical carpets, like Tabriz, Nain and Isfahan. This category combines both classical and modern style and therefore it is easy to be placed in homes of various styles.
KHAL- MOHAMMADI CARPETS
This special category of handmade rugs comes from Afghanistan, where frequent civil wars and attacks against the country are reflected to the patterns and the style of these carpets. Therefore, the colors used are dark red-similar to the color of the blood-combined with dark blue and black. Artists mostly use geometric repetitive shapes with some white color to underline and give light to the motifs. They are made of 100% pure wool and they are very durable and practical in use.
This popular category of handmade carpets is manufactured mostly in N. Iran and Afghanistan. The texture is hard and feels like there is no pile at all. On both sides kilims are decorated in the same way with abstract geometric motifs, inspired by the natural world and the nomadic lifestyle. The colors used are often intense and clear. They are so durable, that can be used anywhere, even in the countryside, as they do in Persia, where most persian people go out for pick-nick or celebrating “Norouz”, the First Day of the spring, in the 21st of March every year. Quality in kilims varies. In special cases, manufacturers create every inch of the kilim carpet-knot by knot-using a special technique, known as ‘suzani’. Kilims ‘suzani’ are often made of refined wool with silk and cotton at the pale and the warp.
These carpets are hand-knotted, mainly in Turkmenistan, but also in neighboring areas. They are made of high-quality wool, and there may be silk in the pile or pure cotton. The patterns are repetitive and geometric with wide borders on the shorter sides, but not on the long-sides. The red, as the basic color in Torkaman Carpets, is given in its whole scale from violet to brown and it is often combined with other natural colors. These carpets are excellent pieces of craftsmanship and can be used in homes with many different styles.
This category of carpets is nomadic, and is made of wandering residents on the border between Iran and Afghanistan. Thus, both countries have a rich production of Baloch carpets. The patterns used are geometric and inspired by the nomadic culture and way of life, sometimes given in a primitive style. A very common and popular motif of Baloch carpets is ‘The tree of life’. The colors used are deep red in combination with blue or black, always natural. The texture is quite soft. They are usually placed in the hall of a living room, because they are durable. Main characteristics are the soft fringes and the fine texture, which allow the mat to be placed beneath the door.
The Kerman city is located in the southeast of Persia and a large number of such carpets have been used in king’s courts around the world. The dominant color is usually red and the most common and stereotypical design of a Kerman rug, includes a large floral pendant,placed in the center of the carpet and framed by a wide border decorated with flowers. An additional but basic color is also light green, which is considered as sacred. Manufacturers use very high quality of wool and prefer natural colors. These carpets are manufactured in large dimensions as they intend to decorate colossal public places and king’s palaces.
These carpets are from the southwestern province of Persia, the famous area of Shiraz, where Persepolis, the center of the ancient Persian Empire, used to take place. Shiraz carpets are nomadic rugs, decorated with geometric patterns, designed in a rustic-primitive style, often with one or more diamonds in the center. The color that predominates in this category is deep red or orange and blue. Very popular motifs of these rugs are the stylized flowers and animals, with luck of perspective. These carpets are durable and of high quality wool, combined often with cotton. Therefore, they have extensive use not only in modern houses, but in classic ones, as well.
The Bijar city, located in western Iran, manufactures the most hard and durable rugs of the world. They are known as "iron persian rugs", because craftsmen make the rug, while the wool is still wet. These carpets are thick, tight and very heavy, with excellent wool quality. The typical pattern is a diamond, placed in the center of the carpet, which surrounds a flower, extended at the four edges. The dominant colors are red and dark blue, black and a little green, given in some details. Because of their durability, these rugs can easily be installed in public places such as hotel receptions. The most refined and expensive category of Bijar carpets is called ‘Takab’, where often silk is used, combined with wool.
The carpets of this city (southwest Iran) are very durable and attractive. The designs are inspired by nomadic life, while the most common motif is the hexagon in the center, which surrounds a rosette or a medallion. The dominant colors are red and brown, with blue details. They are very useful and practical and chosen to decorate many different styles of homes. As far as the design is concerned, this category of rugs is affected by the nomads Gashgai, of whom Persian artists adopted colors and patterns, given in a natural-primitive style. This style is expressed by the extensive use of geometric forms.
The holy city of Mashad is located at the northeast side of Persia. The dominant pattern in these rugs is the medallion in the center, surrounded by floral motifs in arabesques, colored with dark blue and red. The wool used is very soft, but thick and greasy. These carpets are very similar to Kashan rugs, in colors and designs. Many times light colors are also preferred by manufacturers and they are used to decorate over-sized homes and places.
This category of handmade rugs is manufactured in North East Persia, and the main characteristic design is "Herati", which means the diamond pattern used, combined with flowers and leaves. Sometimes instead of the floral design, artists also use a dense grid of small repetitive motifs. The wool is of excellent quality, often with silk details. They are strong and durable carpets.
These carpets are manufactured in Azerbaijan, a province in southwestern Persia. The motifs are usually geometric influenced by the natural life of people who live near Caucasus. Ardebil carpets are thin, durable and beautiful in style, although the design is mostly primitive-rustic. The predominant colors are blue and red. Often they are placed in front of doors, and despite their thinness, they are resistant carpets and suitable for every-day use.
These nomadic carpets are manufactured in southwestern Iran. The main style of these carpets is primitive, with children's drawings and rustic technique. These rugs are inspired by the environment in which nomads live. Their simple and natural lifestyle is depicted at the technique of these rugs, giving a modern look. The wool used is of good quality and are very popular in the western world. They are preferred to decorate children’s rooms, as they are durable and suitable for extensive-hard use.
These carpets are made by local nomads, placed in southwest Iran. This category of handmade carpets usually has geometric designs (diamonds or standardized animals and plants) and resembles the Qashghai carpets. A lot of them, however, they have a more abstractive style. They belong to the category of Gabbeh carpets, however Lori rugs are more refined and of better quality. Wool is widely used, which is really soft and often comes from goat’s skin.
These carpets are manufactured in the city of Varamin in northern Persia by resident tribes. They are famous for their refined technique, where mostly earthy colors are used such as orange, red, ochre and blue. These type of rugs often have a repetitive classical pattern, with single flowers or bunches of flowers, put in a vase, a characteristic motif which is spread all over the surface of the carpet.
These carpets are made by Kurdish nomads in western Iran, near the borders of Iraq and Turkey. The patterns used are mainly geometric shapes, such as triangles, rhombs and octagons, given in a primitive-nomadic style. Mostly, the design of Kordi rugs is inspired by the natural-nomadic way of living. The colors used in these rugs are mostly dark with blue or red ground colors, combined with small figural motifs, spread, without order or symmetry, all over the surface of the carpet.
This type of carpets come from the village of Lilihan, and is knotted by Armenians, in western Iran. The carpets of this category are generally thick and colorful, dominated by bright colors. The wool is of good quality, element that makes the carpet beautiful and worth its price. The Lilihan carpets are part of the group of Hamedan rugs.
The popular category of Qashqai carpets, has taken its name from Qashqai people, a nomadic tribe that is wandering at the area of southwest Persia near the Arabian Gulf. These special carpets are made of high quality wool and are decorated with motifs inspired by the natural-nomadic lifestyle, such as birds, flowers, plants and human figures, all given in a primitive-geometric aesthetics. Single-repetitive shapes are also wide-used. The dominant colors are deep red, reddish brown and dark blue. These rugs are considered to be of the most refined and well-known category of the nomadic style.
Tafresh carpets are woven in a small city in the western part of Persia, in central Iran. They are very similar to Hamedan carpets but much better in quality and technique. Tafresh rugs usually have a dense, thick pile made of high quality wool, giving a beautiful sense of softness. The small sized pieces are often older in age, than the larger ones. The Tafresh carpets are usually red with a pendant in the center, or with repetitive motifs, spread all over the surface. They are woven with very good quality hair. Their designs are mostly geometric, while the natural colors, such as red, ochre and olive green are quite common in use.
Carpets from Malayer area constitute an important and distinctive group of persian weavings. Technically, they stand between those made in nearby Senneh and Hamedan. They were produced in a range of medallion designs which, although they come from classical persian sources, tend to be abstract or geometricized. Sometimes Malayer carpet designers can use really refined motifs, like the Herati pattern, but they can also combine elements given in a larger composition. Manufacturers prefer to use a variety of different powerful colors, such as deep red, blue and ochre combined with other supplementary ones.
This subcategory of nomadic carpets is knotted in northwestern Iran. The most characteristic element of Mymeh carpets, as far as the design is concerned, is a diamond shaped medallion, placed in the middle of the surface, which contains several smaller ones. The most common colors, used to decorate that type of rug, is often dark red with blue and ivory detailed motifs. Like most of nomadic carpets, Mymeh rugs are usually made of pure wool, thing that makes them durable and appropriate for extensive use.
This category of carpets is knotted in northern Persia and is quite similar to the Hamedan category. The design of these carpets is closed to the typical style of decoration of classical carpets, such as the floral medallion placed in the center and the dense grid of arabesques and flowers that surrounds the main motif. Generally, these rugs are very colorful and the wool is of good quality. Usually, they are large-sized rugs, designed to decorate, not only homes but public places as well.
This famous category of Persian rugs is characterized by garden motifs, such as flowers, leaves and other natural elements placed in a dense grid of squares, spread all over the surface of the carpet. The wool used by persian manufacturers, is of the best quality, feature that makes these rugs really exquisite and unique. The colors used are often bright, giving out the beauty and wealth of nature.
These carpets are knotted in the central part of Iran and as far as the design is concerned, are quite similar to the geometric style of Qashqai and Sarogh carpets. Medallions and arabesques are extensively used to most of these rugs, given in a more abstract and folklore technique. The predominant colors are warm colors like red, deep red, yellow and blue, used to give brightness and intensity to the style of these rugs.
This special category of handmade carpets is knotted by nomad tribes in the province of Azarbaijan in northwestern Persia. The main style of these rugs is very similar to the other nomadic ones, as they consist of many natural elements, inspired by the nomadic world and the natural environment, sources which are quite rich to inspire the artists. These characteristic motifs (plants, flowers, stylized human figures) are always depicted in a strict geometric way and in warm, powerful colors.
Modern rugs is a main and large category of handmade carpets, as they come from different countries and places all around the world. In Persia, India and Pakistan there are specialized artists that manufacture a large variety of such rugs. This category is easily recognized, as artists prefer to leave a lot of free space, as far as the decoration is concerned, while most motifs are geometric (squares, triangles, horizontal or vertical lines), given in a small scale. The colors used are mainly the basic ones (deep blue, red, ivory) combined with one -or two maximum- other colors.
This basic category of handmade rugs comes from northern and central Afghanistan, manufactured by the local citizens. As far as the coloring part is concerned, Agche rugs are very close to Khal-Mohamadi carpets, as artists use a large scale of reddish-brownish colors, from dark red to dark ochre, made of 100% pure wool. The design usually consists of octagons, placed in couples at the central part of the carpet. These rugs are very durable and appropriate for extensive-hard use.
These handmade carpets come from Afghanistan. These carpets are often made by the Turkmens in the northern and north-eastern parts of Afghanistan. The carpets have a warp made of wool and red as the dominating color. Other colors used are yellow, orange, light blue combined in such a contrasting way that makes the carpet’s design stand out. They are usually knotted with rough yarns and decorated with geometric patterns.
This type of carpets is knotted in Shirvan, an area in Azerbaijan of Persia and is considered to be one of the finest at the area of Caucasus, as far as the art of weaving carpets is concerned. These carpets are thin, densely knotted and entirely made of wool. The patterns are usually geometrical although, animals and human figures may occur in the carpet design.
These carpets are manufactured in the Sarough area, which is located on the western parts of central Persia. These are manufactured with several kinds of patterns, but they often have a centrally placed medallion and a distinct border which resembles the Kerman or Keshan carpets. They are very durable carpets with high knot density and shiny wool.
This type of carpet is originated from Farahan city, located on central Iran, south of Tehran. They are also known as Mahal carpets in the west. They have Herati patterns, a flower inside a rhombus surrounded by four acanthus-leaves. Colors are mostly dark blue and red, while the colour of the flowers is lighter in order to create an optical tranquility the viewer. Farahan carpets are also manufactured in Pakistan as their design influenced carpet manufacturers there.
This type of carpets is manufactured in the capital city of Ardakan, at Yazd Province in Iran. Ardakan carpets have a similar resemblance to the carpets of Kashan and Yazd. They consist of an intricate central medallion bordered by floral motifs, grapevines and garden elements. The fabric used, is made of wool with a foundation of cotton. The style of Ardakan carpets follows the principals of classicism and tradition in carpet weaving.
Nanaj rugs are hand woven in small villages surrounding Malayer in the Hamadan region of Iran. Nanaj rugs are well known for their durable weave and soft thick woolen pile. Traditional weavers use a strong cotton warp and weft and a Turkish knot resulting in a sturdy weave that lasts for generations. The locally sourced wool is of excellent quality and has a natural shine that creates a multidimensional rug.
The city of Buhara is placed at the northern borders of Russia and manufactures a very characteristic and easily recognized style of carpets. The design is always geometrical and consists of several geometric forms that are placed in the center of the rug. The motifs, more common, are the romves-that place Buhara rugs in a sub-category called ‘jaldar carpets’- and the famous ‘trace of the elephant’, usually depicted in a pair of two or three together in a line at the center. These rugs are made of wool or in a combination of wool and silk. The most favorite color in Buhara carpets is deep red and violet, used in the background.
The country of Morocco produces carpets, characterized by their very bright and intensive colors, such as deep orange, red and green, inspired by the rich colors of the African nature. The motifs used are mainly simple and geometrical, giving out a sense of primitivism. The style of Morocco carpets is common to the one of the nomadic and modern rugs.
This type of carpets is knotted in the city of Meshkinshar near Heriz, in northeastern Persia, at the Caucasian borders. They are often in the size of runners and manufacturers use mainly repetitive geometric shapes to decorate the surface. The predominant colors are deep red, violet and ochre, giving out a sense of warmness. They definitely have a nomadic style and they are suitable to be placed in rustic-style homes.
Undoubtedly, China has a long tradition in carpet-manufacturing and the original carpets have a history of 2.000 years ago. In China, carpets were widely used at imperial courts and public places. However, the art of knotting carpets was introduced in the country somewhere around the 15th and 17th century. The patterns, as well as the colors, on some of the older Chinese carpets are often inspired by the art of porcelains. In some cases the patterns also show old religious symbols with stylized dragon shapes. Most of Chinese carpets have a characteristic thick and durable pile and their designs are placed in a way creating a three-dimensioned result.
The oldest Turkish carpets are made in the 13th century at the city of Konya, which, for a long time, was the center of Turkish carpet manufacturing. Carpets that were made in the 16th and 17th century have an excellent technique and there are so beautiful and refined that can be compared to the Persian rugs. The Turkish carpets are highly influenced by the Greeks which back in time also had a history in carpet manufacturing. The carpets which are thicker, consists of wool, cotton and silk and are always tied with the famous Turkish technique, known as the ‘Turkish knot’. Artists use patterns based on prayer scenes with many geometrical motifs. Humans and animals are not portrayed since the Quran does not allow.
Patchwork carpets are often produced of older used carpets and each one of them consist of separated pieces that are put together, like a puzzle, creating a new piece of rug. All single pieces are sewn together in new size and design. Colors and designs are harmonic and specially chosen either creating a harmony of colors or emphasizing on contravention. The main disadvantage of these rugs is their lack of durability, as they are much fragile, compared to other categories.
The weavers of Tarom carpets usually follow the style and technique of the nomadic, rustic-style rugs. They often use cotton of good quality at the warp, in order to give to the carpet a long lifetime. These rugs are often manufactured in small sizes with natural colors, such as red, green and ivory, while the patterns are simple and geometric. The tradition of these nomadic has been well preserved from earlier generations, usually from nomads.
Chechnya is a very famous Russian region, well known for its wool and art of carpet weaving. Chechen rugs share the main basic characteristics of all those that are made in the Caucasian regions. As far as the style is concerned, they are very close to Kazak carpets, as they share, more or less, the same motifs and colors. Manufacturers prefer to use geometric shapes to decorate the surface of the carpet, usually given in a large scale of different bright colors with a lot of details. The pile length is in-between the shorter pile of Shirvan rugs and the thicker one of the Kazaks.
Persian Khamseh rugs have strong similarities to the weavings of the nomadic carpets, such as Qashqai, Tarom, Tafresh and Joosan, which share the same stylized geometric motifs. Khamseh was a 19th-century confederation of tribes in Southern Persia whose rugs are related in style and geographic origins to the Qashqai and Afshar. As far as the design is concerned, Khamseh rugs are especially known for their combination of tribal and animal-like motifs. The most prized Khamseh design is the “murgi” motif, usually interpreted as a dense field of up to one hundred flying birds, incorporated within and around one to three diamond shaped medallions. Like other nomadic weavings, Khamseh rugs follow the rich tradition of nomadic carpets, in technique and coloring.
Horzin: The provincial town of Horzin, near Afganistan, produces a wide range of local art objects, which are useful, while reflecting the nomadic-folklor style of the area. Typical examples are the woolen runners, which are used as a saddle and are often decorated with amulets, that prevent the bad energy. Their designs are geometric and their colors are intense. The basic material used by manufacturers is wool, in warp and pile, in order to increase the durability of the object.