The Persian rug, or Persian carpet, is an essential textile craft from Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Turkey. By now, its basic design has become familiar to us and most of us have a Persian-style rug in our homes. It is normally a very large rug, with a dark background of burgundy or pine green or black. Upon it are a large amount of symbols and decorations, such as medallions, animals, flowers, and flourishes. The rug is then often finished with light cream or beige fringes on its short sides.
Did you know that there is no such country as Persia any longer? Iran is the modern-day version of this mystical and exotic country. Carpet and rug weaving are a large part of Persian culture, and also a huge export business for Iran. However, many reproductions and similar designs exist today. You probably have one in your home!
With countries with as ancient a history as Iran and Turkey, you can definitely expect that Persian rugs have been around for a long time. Some rugs have been discovered that date back to 500 B.C. Chinese texts in the year 241 mention Persian rugs, so we know that these rugs were not just being crafted in the country but also traded to other countries.
However, unlike pottery or stone which is more durable, hand-woven Persian rugs made from wool, silk, or cotton will disintegrate over time. Thus, it is hard to find many examples of very early rugs. Some of the most beautiful rugs come from the ‘golden age’ of the Middle East, from the 6th through the 8th centuries.
Persian rugs can be classified in three styles, according to their sizes and uses. The largest, which traditionally measures over 6 feet x 4 feet, is called “Farsh.” The next size, which is known as “small rug” is called “Qalicheh.” The third group is called “Gelim” and can be any size, but they are used mainly by nomadic peoples.
These three sizes are virtually unknown to rug buyers outside of Iran and Turkey, but they are useful for categorizing authentic rugs. Rugs are such a part of these cultures that they are an integral aspect of Iranian life.
Thanks to their beautiful designs and their exotic mystique, Persian rugs have been popular for centuries. The Victorians loved them and used them to cover the large floors in antique homes. Many of the most coveted Persian rugs come from the 19th century, for this reason. The Victorians were fascinated by exotic wares from China and Turkey, since trade opened up and new wares flooded the markets.
Persian rugs have remained popular despite changes in decorating trends. This is probably due to their inherent beauty and lasting durability.
Persian Rugs Today
Persian rugs are found in millions of homes today, since their designs are traditional and versatile. These rugs are also known by different names, including Persian rugs, Chinese rugs, Tibetan rugs, and oriental rugs. However, these rugs all have their origin in Iran and Turkey. They are made from so many different colors that they can become part of many decorating styles.
At one time, the designs on Persian rugs had an important significance for the rug-maker. For example, a wedding rug would contain symbols that ensured future happiness in marriage. Nowadays, the designs tend to be more for aesthetic reasons.
Persian Rug Fibers
What are Persian rugs made of? They are most commonly made of wool, silk, or cotton. Authentic Persian rugs are hand-knotted and made of wool. Hand-knotted wool rugs are usually made by hand rather than machine and require many thousands of knots to create the intricate designs. Silk Persian rugs are usually made using a tufting process rather than knotting. Cotton rugs are less expensively made and so aren’t as pricey or as well-crafted.
If you’re considering whether to purchase a Persian rug for your home, then take into account how it has been constructed. A wool rug will be the best purchase, since it will last the longest and be the most durable. Persian rugs have a long history and will continue to be part of the home decorating scene for decades to come.