- Fine Persian Carpets and Rug Collection
Persian Rugs - Entering the realm of Persian rugs is uncovering a hidden history based on ancient traditions passed down for thousands of years and transported across cultures. In the universe of Persian rugs, the mundane becomes the mysterious when flowers and geometric figures are imbued with deep symbolism. According to ancient traditions and rituals, geometric figures and symbolic motifs protect the rug’s owner from evil and misfortune. In the case of tribal designs, such as geometric animals, people and everyday objects, Persian rugs are a classic example of art imitating life and life imitating art, as the design-rich repertoire of Persian rug weavers continues to inspire artists and designers the world over.
Originating in Anatolia and the Caucasus, flat-woven kilims and tribal symbols gradually transitioned to pile rugs as nomadic and semi-nomadic herders ebbed back and forth across the continent. Traditions from turkey and the Levant traveled steadily eastward to the Mougal / Mughal states of Pakistan and India as well as Buddhist regions of Tibet, China and East Turkestan. Following the Silk Road, Persian rugs also made their way west to Europe. In Spain, the Islamic insurgence brought rug weaving traditions from Northern Africa and Morocco to Southern Europe while Mediterranean trade routes transported rugs from the Caucasus and Transylvanian Balkans to the Renaissance painters and Italy’s upper class. In the Caucasus, the bottleneck of rug weaving traditions intensified as displaced ethnic groups from Romania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia shared cross-cultural designs that were transported north to Eastern Europe. With various points of entry, including longstanding Viking trade routes through the harsh Arctic Sea, Persian rugs and weaving techniques thrived throughout Europe, Scandinavia and Great Britain.
With innumerable designs and traditions developed and maintained by weavers in any one city or cultural group, limitless permutations are possible when regional designs and minute variations in techniques and materials are melded together. Persian rugs represent an unfathomable range of patterns and designs with an enormous breadth of influence from semi-nomadic tribes to imperial weaving traditions established by the Safavid and Moughal / Mughal empires. The international trade of rugs established thousands of years ago has resulted in a fascinating interchange of designs between East and West. Although antique oriental rugs are one-of-a-kind works of art and luxury design pieces that make a house feel like a comfortable home, each rug also contains a story that completes the intricate history of all rugs woven before and since. Just as a little side note, the term Persian rugs refers to those rugs that were made in Iran so the term Iranian Rugs means the same as Persian rugs.
Among the carpet-producing regions of the Middle East none is as varied and extensive in its output, or perhaps as ancient, as Persia (modern day Iran). It is possible that fragments of ninth century pile carpets discovered at Fostat near Cairo were imported from Iran. In any case, large-scale carpet weaving is attested in Iran by the Mongol or Ilkhanid period c. 1300, as well as for the subsequent Timurid period up through the late fifteenth century. But the great era of Persian carpet weaving really begins after 1500 with the foundation of the Safavid dynasty by Shah Ismail. In the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Iran produced many of the great masterpieces of Oriental carpet weaving that are still extant today. Major enters of production seem to have been Tabriz, Kerman, and Isfahan, although there is no firm historical documentation for attributing carpets to the last site. During this period Persian carpets were exported all over the world, from Japan to Western Europe. It is perhaps significant that the lavish carpets captured as booty from the Ottoman Turks after the Battle of Vienna in 1683 consisted primarily of Persian pieces, even though the Turks were themselves major producers of pile carpets.
Persian rugs reached their maximum production in the later nineteenth century by which time they had become virtually synonymous with the concept of the Oriental rug. During this time a great revival, Iranian weavers recaptured much of the range and quality of the classical Persian predecessors, both at old centers like Tabriz and Kerman, as well as in many new areas of Production like Sultanabad or Kashan. Since that time Persian carpets have been made in an almost dizzying array of styles from the finest urban productions to the boldest village and nomadic pieces.