Qum – Qum rugs are among the finest rugs in the world. The quality of Qum silk rugs is particularly high. In the past and at present, Qum is one of the most important centres for producing silk, Kourk wool and silk inlaid carpets. Weavers in Qum use Persian knots and average around 600 knots per square inch. The majority are small, very fine, and beautiful; so many people hang them on the wall. The patterns are usually highly curvilinear, but they sometimes illustrate landscape features or historical stories. Qum is located in central IRAN, about 100 km south of Tehran, near Dasht-e-Kavir, a large salt desert to the east.
Tabriz – Tabriz is situated in north-western Iran, in the province of Azerbaijan, and is the capital of a very important carpet weaving region. The town is over 1000 years old and even centuries ago it was famous as a cultural centre. The Tabriz carpets are of very good quality, finely knotted and made of strong lustrous wool. There are old carpets in private homes, used for years, which are still in excellent condition, and the colours have kept their brightness. At the beginning of the century, the finest carpets had a silk pile. These are rare pieces and are among the most beautiful examples of Persian carpets. The usual Tabriz design is a medallion surrounded by flowers and tendrils; however, some carpets have a design with repeating patterns.
Isfahan – Isfahan was the capital of Persia during the reign of Shah Abbas (1571 – 1629), and had the most beautiful palaces, mosques and libraries. Architecture as well as carpet weaving flourished at this time. Rare and precious carpets from this period are now kept in museums all over the world. Very fine well-knotted carpets are still being made in Isfahan today. The fascinating designs using lines and arabesques that appear on Islamic architecture also appear on the modern Isfahan carpets. Medallions are the most usual motif; however, animals and flowers are also used. Both warp and weft are of cotton, and kourk wool is used in the pile.
Nain – Nain is a small town in the province of Isfahan, and it is situated on the edge of the desert uplands of central Iran. Until the beginning of this century, the main craft in Nain was the weaving of costly woollen cloth. The import of textiles from the west lead to the decline of this craft, and the Nain craftsmen switched to carpet making. They were soon to gain a place among the quality carpet producers of Iran. The decoration of Nain carpets is similar to that used for Isfahans, and many of the carpets have backgrounds decorated with an interlaced pattern of flowers and branches. There are however, fewer carpets with central medallions as in the Isfahan carpets. Plants and animals feature in a number of the Nain carpets, and the colour Scheme for both background and decoration is normally, beige, ivory and white, alongside light green and azure.
Kerman – The town of Kerman is in Eastern Iran, and has always been one the carpet weaving centres. Kerman carpets are highly prized because of the quality of their design and colours. They are made of fine, lustrous wool, coloured soft red, green, blue, yellow and ivory. The village of Ravar situated twenty-five miles from Kerman, also produces very beautiful carpets of high quality and design. These carpets are known as “Kerman Ravar”. Kerman carpets are mostly in floral designs. Many have rich central medallions, the motifs of which are also used in the borders and in the corners. On the larger Kerman carpets there are animal designs or repeating patterns, the smaller ones are often decorated with vase patterns or pictorial subjects. The success of the Kerman carpets is mainly due to the skill of the pattern designers, called “ustad”. The result is that while all Kerman carpets have something in common, which distinguishes them from those of other areas, they are also made in a wide variety of designs.
Bijar – Bijar is a small Iranian town in the Kurdistan. The town is quite fertile and has been named after the abundance of willow trees in the area. Bijar Rugs are amongst the strongest of all Persian weaves and they have earned an international reputation for their high quality.
The construction of Bijar rugs is superior to most other weaves and the rugs are incredibly heavy. They are sometimes referred to as ‘the carpets of steel’. Bijar rugs are incredibly heavy and stiff weaves and are virtually indestructible. In order to weave the extremely compacted rug, weavers adopt a unique weaving method often referred to as the wet loom technique. During this special weaving process both the wool and warp and weft are kept damp, enabling the weavers to weave a highly compacted rug. For every horizontal line of knots there are four to five weft cords. These cords are tightly beaten together with a claw like instrument. The result is an extremely tightly woven, heavy rug, which will last a lifetime.
Kashan – Zobeida, the favourite wife of the famous Caliph Haroun-al-Rasheed, established the town of Kashan, which is situated between Tehran and Isfahan. The Kashan district is possibly one of the best producers of Persian carpets. These carpets have taken the name of the region, and are simply referred to as the “Kashan”. Due to the very high quality of the wool, the very fine weaving and the beautiful colours and designs, Kashans have come to be classified among the finest Persian carpets. The knotting is very fine and the warp and weft are made of cotton or silk. The designs vary from medallions with tendrils to vases, and from all-over patterns to very fine floral designs. However, the most common designs are those with a central medallion. The usual kind of background colours for Kashan carpets are rich red and dark blue, and alongside these are a series of very rich colours that give these carpets a unique appearance.
Shiraz – Shiraz has been known for centuries as the city of roses, which is reflected in the motifs of many of the carpets. However, the most common motif, and one by which the carpets may be identified, is the diamond-shaped lozenge by itself in the centre of the carpet or repeated along the length twice or three times according to the size.
The diamond motif of the Shiraz carpets is usually in light or dark blue and the background is normally red with decorations of stylised plants and flowers. The border consists of a number of narrow bands framing a wider band, which is often decorated with motifs resembling pine, or palm leaves.
Among the better-known individual tribal carpets are those made by the Qashqai, living in the uplands of the Fars area. In contrast to other Shiraz carpets these are harder wearing, and have a compact pile. Their colours are also deeper and more varied. The warp and weft threads of the Shiraz carpets are either wool or goat’s hair.
See some of our shiraz carpets on sale here
Gabbeh – Gabbeh, also spelt Gaba or Gabeh,is the name given to a specific rug woven by the Luri and Qashqai tribes. They are coarsely woven, brightly coloured and have a thick pile. Traditionally Gabeh’s were made for domestic use and not for the market. Most of the ones traded are sold in the Shiraz bazaar. Typically the warps, wefts and pile are all of hand-spun wool and there are no fringes: the kilim at the end is tucked in and sewn up.
There is a huge variety of different designs: geometrical motifs, animals, architectural. Sometimes Gabehs are coarse reworkings of carpet designs from elsewhere in Iran. These are often referred to as Old Gabehs. Typically colours are red, orange and deep blue. Some Gabehs woven by the Lurs have pile on both sides. These are used as blankets and known as Gabeh patuee.
See some of our gabbeh carpets on sale here
Tribal Balouchi – The largest Balouchi tribal concentration, both in area and population, is in Pakistan. The Balouchi tribal people are nomadic historically and they continue the nomadic way of life even today. Balouchi rugs are unlike any other style of rug. Their hallmark is whimsy, with bright unexpected colours and playful patterns.