“All around the world, Iranian carpets are the symbol of poetical luxury. A. Pope
When we talk of carpets, involuntarily, the name of Iran comes to mind. The great art experts of the world believe this fact. The 2 words of carpet and Iran are synonymous in any language, therefore, carpets being the obvious symbol of the Iranian talent in art.
We can positively affirm that the finest and the most sumptuous carpets of the world are woven in Iran.
The art of carpet weaving in Iran is deeply connected with the culture and the customs of the people of this land and it sources from their instinctive feelings.
Iranian skillful carpet weavers mix wonderful patterns with admirable colors. An art which is only expected from outstanding painters.
Art experts in the world compare the Iranian carpet to a multicolored pleasant garden, full of flowers, vegetables, birds and beasts and terrestrial and legendary creatures. Everyone can possess this little charming garden in his house.
The Iranian carpet spread in the most magnificent palaces of the world or in simple rustic rooms, ravishes the eye and the soul by its beauty.
Huan Tsang, the Chinese world traveler (7th century AD) praises in his writings the artistry of Iranians in weaving carpets and silken cloths.
Tavernier and Charden, the notorious explorers, have visited the royal carpet weaving workshops of Isfahan during the Safavi reign.
Charden writes: the royal reserves conserve the best wool, the most delicate silk and gold and silver filaments for the weavers of the royal court.
Prof. Pope states: the priceless historical carpets of Kashan are symbol of the Iranian genuine art. The different phases of perfection in this industry, show the life and the culture of Iranian people.
The Iranian carpet in an image of the time spirit of this country’s various arts. It is not clearly known, where the very first carpet was woven. Archaeologists and chronologists of the history of art, believe that carpet weaving was invented by the people whose main live of occupation was cattle raising.
Agriculture and cattle raising were among the first occupations of the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau.
These people who were in contact with domestic animals, gradually became familiar with the utilization of wool and its properties. Garment making was the first step and gradually a sort of weaving was established for covering the floor.
These primitive rugs replaced the hides of animals, formerly used as floor coverings.
Considering this process, it is acceptable that those inhabitants of the Iranian plateau whose occupation was cattle raising and agriculture, are the first weavers of carpet and the inventors of this art.
The most ancient Iranian carpet adorns one of the halls of the “Hermitage” museum in Leningrade.
This carpet which is partly intact was accidentally discovered by Prof. Rodenko, in the border of Moqolestan, a region called “Pazirik”, under piles of ice.
This Pazirik carpet was placed in the large sarcophagus (coffin) of a Satrap (Hakhamaneshian governor general, 33~35O BC) near his mummified body. Thus carpet weaving has been common in Iran since at least 25 centuries ago.
The Pazirik carpet was used to cover horses and according to Rodlenko’s statement, was made by Mad, or Pars (Hakhamaneshian) artists. The measures of this carpet are 2xl.83 meters, and its exact copy has been reconstructed.
Images of a mythical winged creature, a yellow-spotted deer, and a man mounted on a horse or standing near it have all been repeatedly woven in the margins. The yellow-spotted deer is one of the rarest animals in the world that principally lived near the shores of the Caspian Sea, in the north of Iran.
This animal is famous in the world as the yellow deer of Iran. The image of the yellow deer on the Pazirik carpet is an important proof that authenticates the Iranian origin of this carpet. This subject propounded for the first time here can be the source of new studies on the images of the Pazirik carpet. The images in the context of this carpet are made of few paralleled rows of tetra petal flowers.
Colors used in the Pazirik carpet are dark red, green, blue, yellow and pale orange.
From the blooming period of the art of carpet weaving in Iran, relatively numerous samples are being preserved in the world’s greatest museums and private collections.
200 pieces of these carpets are among the indisputable masterpieces of the art of carpet weaving of Iran.
Art experts in Iran and around the world have published numerous books and essays about the most outstanding carpets of Iran. These carpets are the reminiscence of the golden age of carpet weaving in Iran.
The “Ardabil” carpet preserved in the museum of “Victoria and Albert” in London, from the viewpoint of design and weaving is one of the world’s most famous and precious carpets. This carpet was woven in 1539 AD, and its warp and woof are of silk.
The “Hunting Ground” carpet preserved in the “Art and Industry” museum of Austria is also among the most sumptuous and precious carpets of the world.
Images show hunters, while hunting different sorts of animals. This carpet was woven in the 16th century and is entirely made of silk.
Other samples of the ‘Iranian famous carpets are preserved in the museums of Paris, Metropolitan, Iran-e-Bastan and Astaneh-Kodseh Razavi in the city of Mashhad.
In 1601 AD, also several pieces of costly silken carpets were woven in Kashan by the order of Sigmond Vaza, King of Poland.
These carpets bearing the imperial insignia of Poland are preserved in the “presidentz” museum of Warsaw.
The artists of the Safavi era have created the world’s most magnificent masterpieces, and the Safavi reign is considered to be the brilliant era of this art. The painters of the Safavi era comprised a deep transformation in the patterns and designs of carpets. And skillful weavers using the choicest kinds of wool and silk, gave life to their imaginations.
The carpets of this era are generally in silk. The subject of their patterns are: cypress trees, floral designs, scenes of hunting grounds and patterns. The main part of the carpet is the context; and the patterns in the margins help reveal the beauty of the context. Iranian carpets are of 3 kinds: carpets, rugs (small carpets), and side carpets. Rugs are smaller than carpets and side carpets are used to cover the corridors and the margins of a room. The designs and colors of Iranian carpets are unique and very diverse. Now a day, the patterns of superior carpets borrow inspirations from those of the Safavi era.
The art of carpet weaving is common almost in all the cities and villages of Iran. Cities, villages and rustic regions are major centers of carpet production.
The cities of Kashan, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Kerman, Qom, Nain, Sanandaj, Arak and Hamedan are the main centers where costly carpets are woven. Rustic people use agreeable styles in weaving carpets. From the old times, women and the youth, girls and boys are the best carpet weavers in Iran.
The out of designing carpets has always instinctively existed in their hearts. Through time, the designs of these carpets have been prepared by great masters.
today, outstanding designers have set forth innovations. Iran is the birthplace of wonderful designs for carpets.
The patterns of Iranian carpets are mostly inspired from those of the unique Iranian tile-works and miniature.
Images of gardens, full of flowers and trees, different types of birds and animals, legendary creatures, scenes of hunting grounds and design, bestow a paradisiac beauty to Iranian carpets. Iranian carpets possess at once the 3 qualities of fineness, elegance and durability, and for these reasons are unique in the world. The skillful carpet weavers are anonymous artists. Only a few weavers of carpets left behind from the past are known. Carpet weaving is a complicated art, showing at the utmost level the talent, taste, perseverance and the creativity of Iranian artists. In addition, it requires months of ceaseless effort, work and high costs.
The examination of the art of carpet weaving requires an elaborated and detailed chapter in the history of arts in Iran. From a certain point of view this chapter seems endless.