Since medieval times, the Persians have been famous for creating the best carpets in the world. Today, despite countless cheaper imitators, authentic Persian carpets remain more highly in demand than ever before. In fact, the most expensive carpet in the world is Persian: a 17th century rug which sold at auction in 2013 for $33.8 million.
Design and Artistry
Carpet-weaving is integral part of Persian culture and art. Through over 2500 years of documented carpet-making, Persians have developed many intricate designs and motifs that help to set their rugs apart. As a part of this deeply traditional culture, most rugs are woven with at least one of these classic motifs. Some of the more common of these are Boteh, or what English-speakers would call a paisley, and rosettes of small stylized floral shapes, as well as images of Islamic buildings and ornate geometric patterns.
A classic Persian carpet is a true work of art. Traditionally, a large rug might take years to complete. The quality of the carpet is generally based on the workmanship, not the material used. While wool is both traditional and durable, cotton is often used for carpets in workshops. Silk is also sometimes used, although it does not stand up to as much use as wool. Due to their expense and fragile nature, silk carpets are often hung as tapestries rather than used as floor coverings.
Styles of Persian Rug
Whether you’re in the market for a fine rug or just curious, it’s important to know about the varieties available. Persian carpets are grouped into roughly three types: Gelim, which are rougher nomadic-style weaves, Qalicheh, which are finer but small at about 6 by 4 feet, and Farsh or Qali, which are fine rugs sized larger than 6 by 4 feet. Among the finer weaves, styles of rugs are frequently set apart by their layout. The four major types of layout are an all-over rectilinear design (the typical “busy” Persian rug), a simpler central medallion style, a compartmental design with repetition in the compartments, and an asymmetrical one-sided design. The type of rug you choose will depend heavily on what style of layout will look the best in your space.
Whether you’re attracted to the history, the vibrant colors, or the intricate designs, a Persian carpet can make a beautiful addition to any space, as well as being a fantastic conversation piece. Use this information as a springboard to get you started in finding your perfect carpet.