About Persian Carpet Weaving: The beginning of the art of carpet weaving remains unknown. Carpet weaving was first mentioned around 400 BC, by the Greek author Xenophon in his book “Anabasis”. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and art. Within the group of Oriental rugs produced by the countries of the so-called “rug belt”, the Persian carpet stands out by the variety and elaborateness of its manifold designs. Although the term “Persian carpet” most often refers to pile-woven textiles, flat-woven carpets and rugs are part of the rich and manifold tradition of Persian carpet weaving.
More About Persian Carpet Weaving:
Persia is historic region of southwestern Asia associated with the area that is now modern Iran. The term Persia was used for centuries and originated from a region of southern Iran formerly known as Persis, alternatively as Pārs or Parsa, modern Fārs. Parsa was the name of an Indo-European nomadic people who migrated into the region about 1000 BC.
The use of the name was gradually extended by the ancient Greeks and other peoples to apply to the whole Iranian plateau. The people of that region have traditionally called their country Iran, “Land of the Aryans.” That name was officially adopted in 1935, when the Iranian government asked those countries with which it had a diplomatic association to refer to their country as Iran. Contributing reasons for the change were that Persia, which was formerly an empire composed of 128 provinces, had been significantly reduced in size, and the majority of Persians were of Aryan origin; Iran means “Country of Aryans.” The name Iran was already used within the country at that time.
Prior to 1979, and the fall of the Shah, the United States was the leading importer of Persian rugs. In general, old Persian rugs were made using high quality natural dyes and wool quality varied from region to region. There are hundreds of rug weaving villages and several major rug weaving centers: Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, Mashad, Sarouk, Hamadan, and Kashan.
Economic sanctions set forth in 1979 prevented the further import of Persian rugs, yet the demand still remained, so other countries began to manufacture rugs copying the classic Persian designs.
Sanctions on the import of luxury items like rugs were eased in 2000, however, the American market continued to buy Chinese (Sino), Pakistani (Pak), and Indian (Indo) “Persian” rugs. The highest quality, finest Persian carpet weaving and rugs in recent history were made between 1910 and 1940; these are some of the best rugs in existence today.
Carpet weaving still plays a major part in the economy of modern Iran. Modern production is characterized by the revival of traditional dyeing with natural dyes, the reintroduction of traditional tribal patterns, but also by the invention of modern and innovative designs, woven in the centuries-old technique. Hand-woven Persian carpets and rugs have been regarded as objects of high artistic and utilitarian value and prestige since the first time they were mentioned by ancient Greek writers.
In our next post we will discuss Abadeh Rugs and their rich history.