Persian Rugs Guide
All the carpets and rugs that are weaved in Iran are based on the models and traditions inherited through generations by Persian weaver
Persian rugs have the scent of dreams and feel silky like dark blue oriental nights. Drenched in the colors of the evening sun in the deserts of Iran, gardens full of flowers, animals and other symbols, they carry poetic appeal, artful sophistication and intellectual simplicity that are the main characteristics of Persian people and their culture. Love for life and everything that is beautiful, pure and humble and most of all, knowledge and gratitude for the gift of living, these are what genius carpet weavers have encrypted in colorful patterns.
Persian carpets can be categorized in many groups depending in the city or area where they are produced. Hence, they are named after the name of the city in which they were weaved or after the name of the tribe that makes them. Carpets and rugs made by Iranian weavers consist of fascinating artworks that enclose patterns, pure design, soft and serene elements instead of flashy colors. The areas that are famous for the production of some of the most beautiful carpets are Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, Kashan, Herat, Teheran, Shushtar, etc.
Main Themes and Symbols of Iranian Carpets
Gardens, flowers, medallions, and animals are the main themes of the carpets weaved in Iran. At least, this how experts divide them. Such elements are used even in architecture, monuments, fountains and book covers. There are cases when they are completely abstract and many and cases when they aren’t. Strong and powerful emotions are expressed through those elements. In other words, such carpets make the earliest and most real form of abstract art. Carpets are deep and quiet at the same moment and make a great place where one can dream.
Symmetry is an essential principle as it reflects the balance in everything. Moreover, symmetry makes easier the organization of the pattern. Although it can happen that some rugs have a similar design, there are no two identic hand-knotted carpets in this world. Some carpets have a central medallion and other floral designs while others may have symbols and motifs related to animals and flowers. Some of the most used are the peacock, the tree of life, lily, lotus, iris, the paradise bird, pomegranates, the comb, stars, and numbers.
Meanwhile, even colors have their meanings. Blue means power force and solitude, red means beauty, wealth, luck, courage, faith and joy, green is the holy color of the prophet, white means purity, gold means power, brown means fertility and yellow is related to the sun and joy of life.
The combination of all these elements needs great skills and it can be made only by talented weavers who use natural dyes and the best wool. This explains why rugs made in Iran are so expensive and highly desired by individuals, art collectors, and museums. An Iranian rug is not only a precious item for home décor. It communicates an entire culture through symbols and colors.
Antique Persian Rugs
Thinking that carpet weaving mastery has been solely related to the combination of the right designs and patterns by skilled artisans would be childish. Those who can look deeper know that ancient carpets were made based on a language of symbols and visual aesthetics that gave a touch of personalized individuality to every knot. They are like a portal straight to the thoughts and wishes of the weaver.
There are many commonly used elements like colors and symbols in ancient Persian Rugs that make good storytelling elements and complete the whole idea of the weaver. They help to define if the weaver has depicted personal information or a story from the past. Although it cannot be compared to higher intellectual forms of artistic expression, those rugs helped to enrich Oriental and Western cultures with elements of mysterious beauty. Mystique elements in most forms of applied oriental arts are linked to their tales, beliefs and needs.
One of them is the garden, floral designs, gardens and animals. It is normal that a country where water is so important depicts images of beautiful gardens almost in every form of art and decoration. Other symbolical elements included in these rugs are animals and colors. Each of them is used to represent a single emotion or character, while combined together they can create a whole story.
The most common used creatures and their meanings:
Dragon – emperor
Phoenix – empress, immortality
Camel – wealth, happiness
Lion – victory, power
The eagle in flight – good fortune
The resting eagle – the high-mindedness of the spirit
Bat – happiness
Dog – protector of noble places
Hunting dog – glory and honor
The tree of life – understanding, truth
The sun – radiant light, lucidity
Duck – faithful marriage
Dove – peace
Tarantula – prevents from bad luck
Stag – long life
Fish – undying love
Cypress tree – life after death
Persian artisans from Tabriz, Isfahan, Kashan and Kerman weaved some of the most astounding designs through the combination of the above-mentioned symbols. Nowadays these symbols are not used in the same way they were in ancient time. However, nomad weavers continue to knot what they see, landscapes and other motifs related to their personal experiences. Meanwhile, weavers in villages focus on designs and motifs that they are asked to use.