Persian Rugs – A Tradition Begins
Persian rugs are the most desired and collected rugs in the world. Everyone talks about the intricacies and designs like bottles of wine. And like wine, there is something for each individual’s personal taste.
But where do you learn about them if you’re a newcomer? Stick with us and we will teach you the basics. You will even learn some interesting background that will make you sound like the most educated of connoisseurs.
OLDEST KNOWN RUG IN THE WORLD
The weaving of Persian Rugs began in the ancient Persian Empire of Cyrus and Darius the Great. Historians have established the Pazyryk Carpet as the oldest known knotted-pile rug in existence. Found in the “frozen tombs” of the nomadic Scythians in modern day Siberia, it contains figurative depictions and ornamental designs which mimic those found in the Royal Persian Palace at Persepolis. Therefore, scholars concluded merchants imported it through early nomadic trading.
FOUR TRADITIONS OF PERSIAN RUGS
Persian rugs became established in four distinct styles or traditions through the centuries.
Tribal Tradition – Tribal rugs have become greatly prized for their rustic simplicity, inventiveness through use of geometric patterns, and the mastery of balance and harmony which blend perfectly in today’s modern settings.
Village Tradition – Village rugs refer to those woven informally on a local level as a cottage industry. People used these rugs regionally or sold them to a slightly wider market. These pieces combine industrial ingenuity with the artful expression of tribal rugs.
Town Tradition – Rugs in the town tradition offer a highly versatile combination of formality and playfulness which appeals to the modern connoisseur.
City Tradition – The most refined of Persian rugs, these elegant pieces are woven in the workshops of master rug designers. One such designer is the world renowned Hadji Jallili (Haji Jalili) in the city of Tabriz.
HOW ARE PERSIAN RUGS NAMED?
Now that you know a bit about the history of Persian rugs, you need to know how they are named. It’s fairly simple really. When someone refers to a Persian Tabriz, it means that rug was produced in the city of Tabriz. When a rug is a Persian Sultanabad, it means that rug was made in the region of Sultanabad. Really, that’s how you name rugs.
Each city and region has a very distinct style of weaving as well as characters and design elements used in the creation of their rugs. These designs are easily distinguishable to the well-educated rug aficionados. But don’t feel bad if you cannot see the differences at first.
NAMING A RUG
Firstly, rugs feature certain designs. This distinction comes after the city name:
- Persian Tabriz Fish design
- Persian Kerman Medallion & Corners design
- Or a Persian Sultanabad featuring an Allover design
Additionally, you apply a renowned artist or production company distinction in the same manner:
- Persian Tabriz Hadji Jallili design
- Persian Mahal Ziegler (or shortened simply to Ziegler Mahal)
Often, other countries like India and China make rugs in the style of a Persian Tabriz or other design. Reputable rug companies name their rugs accordingly:
- Persian Tabriz Style Indo Rug, or
- Indo Rug featuring a Persian Tabriz Design
Furthermore, reputable dealers state in the long description the origin of the rug. Therefore, be wary of anyone who will not tell you where the rug is made. That is to say, you do not want to pay the higher price for a real Persian Tabriz and get one that was made in China. Run away immediately!
** Disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with rugs made in China. They are of good quality, but should always cost less than an original.
FROM PERSIA WITH LOVE
Persian Rugs are the epitome of rug weaving techniques. The tradition was born and perfected in Persia (modern day Iran) and then spread throughout the world. Collectors quickly realized the quality with which the Persians produced their masterpieces. As a result, distribution companies such as Ziegler & Co set up production facilities and flooded the world market with their designs.
In the Muslim world, it is forbidden for man to create images and characters because God is the only creator in the universe. Therefore, artists came up with interpretations of animals. For example, the Fish design rug above gives the allusion of the scales on a fish. Therefore, the challenges surrounding their desire to create not only supported but also encouraged artistic ingenuity. As a result, Persian artists excelled at their art and their stunning rugs became the most desired in the world.
Ultimately — no matter who you are — everyone loves to view upon a beautifully made work of art. We especially love one that stops you in your tracks — like the many styles of Persian Rugs available for your viewing pleasure.