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A History of Persian Carpets

It is well known that Persian rugs are a highly sought-after and desirable home textile in today’s Western world. But, how many of us know their real history and understand the value that bears where the oldest one was discovered and what they were they were produced for originally?

To the people of Iran, Persian carpets and the Iranian rug-weaving industry evoke a strong sense of national pride.  Lavish and beguiling, Persian rugs were being woven before the first Persian Empire was built in around 500 B.C. and remarkably, the trade today still remains one of modern Iran’s largest foreign exports.  

In 1949, Russian archaeologists discovered the oldest known carpet in the Pazyryk valley, Russia. Dating back to the fifth-century BC, the Pazyryk carpet is a fine example of the original style and skill which once existed and has been developed and refined over the centuries.  

The demand for Persian carpets in the Western world first developed during the Safavid period (1501-1722) as the advancing techniques, style and beauty appealed to kings and noblemen of the in the sixteenth century. They gained popularity as they became increasingly recognised as symbols of opulence, wealth and a superior class – much like fine art still is today! Persian rugs have been considered a valuable investment throughout the ages and this value is evidently timeless.

Iranian weavers still use the same ancient but intricate and powerful techniques used by the countless generations before them. It remains the most prevailing trade or handicraft in Iran and whether it’s the dying of the wool or farming of the sheep, it survives as an inherent part of life in modern Iran.

Originally woven for the practical purpose of sheltering ancient tribal households from the rain, wind and cold, the Persian rug has evolved over 1,000s of years to the fine piece of art it is today, displayed in and adorning homes all over the world.

Hand-knotted Persian carpets are classified into three geographical categories: ‘City’, ‘Town or Village’, and ‘Nomadic’, which are most easily identified by their knotting technique. The carpets of city areas differ vastly from those of a rural village. Smaller rural and nomadic carpets have simpler but bolder patterns and a wider variety of weaving techniques. City or town Persian rugs involve a more precise and symmetrical pattern and are noted for their more complex and refined designs.

Hand-woven Persian carpets and rugs have always been regarded as objects of both artistic value and luxury, and whichever style you choose, it will forever be a textile masterpiece steeped in history. Centuries of creativity have lead to the high-quality rug you see on the current market, each with its own history and story to tell. Beautiful, timelessly valuable and rich in Iranian heritage, they are certainly worth investing in today.

Take a look at the range of Persian Rugs we have in stock here >>

Posted On: 25/09/2017

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