Rug History

Rug History

To look at Persian carpet is to gaze into a world of artistic magnificence nurtured for more than 2.500 years. The Iranians were among the first carpet weavers of the ancient civilizations, and through centuries of creativity and ingenuity, they have built upon the talents of the past, and achieved a unique degree of excellence, so much so, that they may have investment value in years to come.

To appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a Persian or any hand-knotted carpet in our collection, it is necessary to get a glimpse into the process. The ancient techniques that go into these hand-knotted carpets are astounding. They are made on a vertical frame called a hand knotting loom. Columns of threads are stretched from the top to the bottom of the loom. These are called the warp threads and are the foundation of the rug. They also form the fringe ends of the rug and are very important to its longevity.

Once the warp threads are arranged up and down the loom, the actual production process begins. First the weaver begins by making a weave. This is intended to secure the knots which will form the rug from coming out at either end. After the weave is completed, the weaver begins the knotting process.

He consults what is called a “cartoon”, a graph paper on which each square represents a single knot tied in a specific color of yarn. It is produced by a master designer who may wish to produce an ancient pattern or create a vision of his own. The weaver ties individual knots in the specified color to the warp threads across the entire width of the loom – and then begins a second row of knots again corresponding to the cartoon. This process continues until the entire rug has been produced. Depending on the type of knot, the pattern and the number of knots required, this process may take up to a year to complete. Once completed the rug is then “sheared” to produce a uniform surface, hand washed to develop luster and finally dried (some in the sun for authenticity).

As far as Persian carpets are concerned, to trace its history is to follow a path of cultural growth of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. The element of luxury with which the Persian carpet is associated today provides a marked contrast with its humble beginnings among the nomadic tribes that at one time wandered the great expanse of Persia in search of their livelihood.

Back then, it was an article of necessity to protect the tribes from the bitterly cold winters of the country. But out of necessity was born art. Through their bright colors and magical designs, the floor and entrance coverings that protected the tribesmen from the ravages of the weather also brought relief to their dull and hard lives. In those early days the size of the carpet was often small, dependent upon the size of the room in which the people lived. However over the millennia, kings and noblemen looked for the carpets as a sign of wealth or adornment for fine buildings.