Whether as a form of art, furnishing or trade items, hand-knotted carpets have surpassed cultural and ethnic separations and spread in every direction both in Eastern and Westerns countries.
When it comes to high-quality handmade rugs, countries from the Near, Middle and the Far East rank first. Divided into two main groups, Persian and Oriental rugs are among the most wanted works of artistic craftsmanship. The first group includes only the carpets weaved in Iran, even though many people think that the term Oriental carpets mean Persian carpets. The truth is that the latter is part of the other group.
Persian and Iran have the same meaning when speaking about carpets, but they are named after the region where they are weaved or the name of different ethnic groups.
Names of Persian Carpets
These are some of the most widely known carpets made in nowadays Iran:
Tabriz, Shiraz, Abadeh, Afshar, Isfahan, Kerman, Ardebil, Bakhtiar, Beluch, Hamadan, Bidjar, Gabbeh, Heriz, Ghashghai, Ghom, Keshan, Klardasht, Koliai, Mashad, Moud, Nahavand, Nain, and Senneh.
In the meantime, Oriental rugs are those knotted only in Asian countries or regions like India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Turkey (Anatolian), The Caucasus, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Egypt (Mamluk), etc.
Moreover, each of these types is divided into other sub-varieties. There are no specific reasons that can explain why carpet weaving started in Central Asia and not in other parts of the world. Experts, in general, believe in the theory that geographical location and climate were the main factors that urged nomadic people, who lived in tents to weave rugs. They had the necessary raw materials like wool and dyes. The result was a woven tissue that was easy to transport.
These are the same reason that incited people living in other cold regions in Europe to develop carpet-weaving techniques. With the passing of time, carpets have not been considered only as utilitarian items used for covering purposes or against cold weather. They attracted the interest of high social classes, kings and nobility who deemed those rugs too beautiful to be used for floor covering purposes. On the other hand, foreign travelers like Marco Polo and historians described the beauty of these rugs in their writings.
Beautiful Persian and Oriental rugs were sent as gifts to European kings and princes and artists from the Renaissance depicted them in their artworks. Afterwards, the Silk Road and trade between West and East brought even more hand-made carpets to Europe.
Carpet weaving history dates back to thousands of years and the versatility of this craft appeals to all those who are amazed by it.