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Introduction to Persian Rugs

Oriental Rug from KashanA Persian rug or Persian carpet, also known as Iranian carpet, is a type of heavy decorative textile produced in Iran. Up until the 20th century, the territory of Iran had been called Persia, hence the variations in nomenclature. Persian rugs have a long and venerable history – some scholars estimate that first pile carpets might have been woven there as early as 2500 years ago. Out of all oriental rugs made within the ‘Rug Belt,’ Persian carpets have always enjoyed the greatest popularity and prestige. They are characterized by refined workmanship, wide variety of awe-inspiring designs, and deep cultural significance.

Persian rugs are commonly considered the ‘truest’ and most authentic of all. In fact, they have always competed with Turkish (Anatolian) rugs – we may safely state that both types played a major role in the stylistic development of woven fabrics.

Persian rugs are distinguished by a complex, ‘calligraphic’ character. Their most important features are always the pattern and line. Sometimes, Persian weavers implement geometric style motifs – in such cases, the field of a Persian rug is occupied by abstract or stylized figures. Nonetheless, the curvilinear style is the most common for them – it is the main reason behind Persian carpets’ worldwide success.

Persian Style Rugs

Persian Style RugsThere are two major styles for Persian rugs. City, or formal rugs consist of finely-woven intricate designs. Village, or informal rugs have more variable motifs and are a blend of urban and nomadic styles. The most well-known regions for antique Persian rugs include Tabriz, Tehran, Kirman, Khorassan, Kashan, Meshad, Sarouk, and Doroksh. They also originate from prominent villages such as Bibikabad, Heriz, Malayer, Sarab, Bakhtiar, and Bakshaish. Sultanabad, Hamadan, Senneh, Shiraz, and Fereghan are a few others.

Persian style rugs are, Heriz and Serapi, Khorassan, Kirman, Malayer, Mashad, Sultanabad, Tabriz, Bakhtiari, Bibikabad, Bidjar, Feraghan, Hamadan, Kashan, Qum, Sarab, Sarouk, Senneh, Shiraz, and Tehran.

Antique Persian rugs are the largest, most diverse, and qualitative category of textiles. They are synonymous with masterful craftsmanship and the ultimate artistry. Their meticulous patterns express the history and beliefs of the Orient. Each motif, line, dot, or shade has a profound meaning. The face of every antique Oriental rug is, in fact, a story told by a weaver. To read it, one has to learn about the meanings of particular elements of the rug, as well as the region of its making.

It is worth mentioning that not all floor coverings with Persian motifs actually come from Persia. Some rugs featuring a ‘Persian design,’ also known as Persian style rugs, were woven elsewhere, like in the case of Indo-Persian rugs. These floor coverings, although originating in India, have Persian patterns and construction elements.

Despite tribal wars, migrations, commercial influence, and rebellions, the art of Persian rugs has endured and flourished. The methods of rug weaving used by various oriental cultures are so refined that they have changed very little over time.

Persian Rugs’ Design

Antique Persian RugPersian weavers created and developed many decorative designs, with the predominance of fine and intricate arabesques that constitute the backdrop for opulent medallions of various shapes, palmettes, other abstract decorative elements or realistic flower and animal motifs. The fact Persia was under the influence of Shiite Islam, much more liberal than the Anatolian Sunni doctrine, gave the weavers greater freedom of artistic expression. It allowed them to create images of humans, which was strictly forbidden in other Islamic countries. From the 19th century onwards, representations of human figures have even started to dominate Persian rug designs.

The color palettes of Persian rugs are very rich and diverse but never too gaudy or contrasting. Usually, there are no extensive one-color fields – colors are placed separately, often outlined with black, arranged by the weaver with a great panache into a harmonious whole. Red and blue as well as the combination of light motifs against a dark background tend to prevail. Naturally, the colors of Persian rugs coming from nomadic tribes (characterized by abstract or stylized geometric designs) are way less subtle.

Persian weavers traditionally worked with the asymmetric knot, known as the Persian knot or Senneh. However, some regions also applied the symmetric knot, known as Turkish or Ghiordes. The weavers used wool, cotton, silk and, for the most luxurious specimens, threads of gold and silver. Persian rugs range from small nomadic or village rugs to very large palatial carpets. The most classic composition scheme consists of a medallion in the center surrounded by the before-mentioned arabesques.

What is the Difference Between an Oriental Rug and a Persian Rug?

Antique Persian Tabriz RugOriental rugs are all rugs that come from the Orient. The Orient as a term derives from the Latin word ‘oriens’ meaning “east” (lit. “rising” orior “rise”). The use of the word “rising” in reference to the east – where the sun rises – has analogies in many languages. Today, the Orient refers mainly to the Far East. However, in archaic usage, it encompassed also the Middle East and Near Eastern areas. Thus, Oriental rugs for sale are generally these that originate in Asia.

Oriental rugs constitute probably the largest family of floor coverings in the whole world consisting of Turkish rugs, Chinese Rugs, Moroccan Rugs, Indian Rugs, even Caucasian and Bessarabian rugs, and, of course, Persian rugs. To sum up, every Persian rug is Oriental, yet not every Oriental rug has to be Persian.

Magnificent and Diverse Persian Rugs from Tabriz

Tabriz has probably the longest and richest heritage of rug weaving. Thus, authentic Persian rugs coming from this weaving center are among the greatest and most diverse in the world. The history of carpet manufacturing in Tabriz reaches back to the 16th century when the region was under the rule of the Safavid dynasty.

Creations from Tabriz are hard to set apart from other Persian carpets in terms of designs, motifs, and colorations. Why? Over the years, Tabriz rugs have absorbed features of practically all Persian weaving centers, not to mention the influences from other cultures and countries, which came along with merchants and travelers.

The repertoire of Tabriz rug designs is abundant – it consists of medallions, classic all-over motifs, like boteh or Göz, floral and foliage-themed patterns, rectilinear forms, as well as curvilinear, scrolling designs. Nonetheless, there is something that may help one distinguish a rug from Tebriz. It is the astounding quality measured in the units of knot density, also known as “raj.” In a Persian rug from Tabriz, the density revolves around 110 raj. Persian rugs form Tabriz will be a stunning addition to any décor. They introduce not only artistic and utilitarian value but also a rich historical layer.

Unique Persian Rugs from Heriz

Antique Persian Heriz Rug with floral motifHeriz rugs are regional cousins from northwest Persia with Serapi rugs and Bakshaish rugs. They are known for their quality, saturated color palettes, as well as strong, geometric designs. The distinct style of Heriz rugs builds upon classic schemes including splendid flower-head medallions, corner spandrels, and multiple borders with angular vinery. There may appear botanical and floral patterns and bold palmettes. The motifs are rendered in geometric fashion with the preservation of refreshing simplicity of the line.

Although Persian rugs from Heriz come from sophisticated city workshops, they still maintain firm tribal quality. One may encounter Heriz carpets with allover designs of willow trees or ascending shield palmettes. It makes them resemble small antique Kazak rugs made by the Caucasian villagers in the north. However, creations from Heriz have a decisively larger format.

Heriz rugs are solid and dependable thanks to large knots and a special kind of wool. Sheep living in the Heriz area drink water with traces of copper, which makes their fleece stronger and gives it a unique patina glow. The color palette of fabulous Heriz carpets is immense. It includes jewel tones of cherry red, navy blue, and saffron yellow, pale terracotta, seafoam, powder blue, and ivory, among others.

Luxurious Persian Rugs from Kashan

If someone is looking for top-notch antique Persian rugs, he should turn his eyes towards Kashan. Located in the center of Iran in the Isfahan province, Kashan is one of the country’s oldest cities. Rug making has existed there since at least the Sasanian Empire, 224 to 642 CE. Scholars distinguish two major periods of rug production in Kashan. One took place during the Safavid reign in the 16th and 17th centuries. The second one dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, under Qajar rule. It was primarily for export but also for the domestic market, to cater for the Persian upper class.

Oriental carpets from Kashan belong to the finest and most qualitative rugs in the world. They surpass even legendary Tabriz floor coverings. Kashan rugs have remained practically unchanged since the 16th century. The earliest pieces from the weaving center were hand-knotted for the members of the Safavid dynasty. A great part of these outstanding carpets carries high-quality wool on a soft cotton foundation with the addition of silk. Some incorporate a silk pile on a cotton foundation. However, the finest Kashan carpets consist entirely of delicate silk, both in the foundation and the pile. The pile is tightly knotted, with the knot density ranging from 100 to over 800 knots per square inch.

Antique Persian carpets from Kashan represent the classic oriental art of design. They incorporate popular motifs like central medallions with pendant systems enhanced by corner spandrels and repeating floral compositions. The color palette concentrates on red, ivory, blue, and shades of green. Persian rugs from Kashan are an investment that will only increase in value over time.

Mesmerizing Persian Carpets from Qum

Persian Carpet from QumOld age does not always determine the rank of a weaving center. Qum is a great example of a relatively young center that is highly esteemed and produces authentic Persian rugs. Qum is a famous Persian pilgrimage city, graced by impressive architectural monuments. However, it had not produced rugs before the 1920s. The magnificent Oriental rugs from Qum ( also known as Qom rugs, Ghom rugs, or Ghum rugs) have rather short piles. Why? Their primary destination was wall decoration instead of floor covering. The carpets are small to medium in size. Many consist of luxurious silk, while others use very fine wool. Their knot density is impressive, reaching 400-860 knots per square inch.

Qum designs are diverse, just as Tabriz ones. Among the most frequently applied motifs, there are medallions, flowers and vinery or spandrels. There are various allover repetitive patterns, like boteh. Of exceptional value are Qum rugs bearing the labor-intensive and deeply symbolic classic motifs. These include the tree of life or the weeping willow.

The color palette used in Oriental rugs from Qum strongly relies on the characteristic Persian royal color trio – blue, red and gold or ivory. Qum carpets belong to the category of city rugs with curvilinear, flowing lines. They are definitely adapted to contemporary aesthetic standards. Qum rugs exhibit more moderation than traditional Persian floor coverings. An authentic Persian rug from Qum will be a perfect addition to any modern interior arrangement. It will be ready to bring in the timeless elegance and everlasting charm of top-notch oriental art.

Sturdy Persian Rugs from Shiraz

Oriental Rug from ShirazA Shiraz carpet is a type of Persian rug executed in the villages surrounding the city of Shiraz. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of arts and letters due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. The city was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800. Two famous poets of Iran, Hafez, and Saadi are from Shiraz. It has been the city of poets, literature, wine (despite Iran being an Islamic republic), and flowers.

The designs of Shiraz carpets come from settled tribal weavers. Thus, they mimic Qashqai, Khamseh (Basseri and Khamseh Arabs), Afshar, Abadeh, and Luri designs. Since the weavers use fixed looms, the rugs tend to be larger and often coarser than their tribal counterparts. Shiraz rugs are woven on a cotton or wool foundation with a woolen pile. These semi-nomadic rugs are almost always geometric in style – small medallions or geometric figures scattered across the rugs prevail. Strong reds and brown are the most typical colors of Shiraz rugs. These Oriental carpets are extremely hard wearing and compliment wooden floors extremely well.

The average knot count in a Persian carpet from Shiraz is around 120 KPSI (knots per square inch). Shiraz rugs have a firm and sturdy nature which translates to their incredible durability. Simple but complex, coarse but delicate in their beauty – Shiraz rugs are an exceptional example of semi-tribal rugs full of paradoxes yet also full of charm. They will easily constitute a part of a contemporary interior. Persian rugs from Shiraz bring in geometric orderliness and a distinct Oriental vibe.

Dimensions of Antique Persian Rugs

Antique Oriental Persian RugAuthentic Persian rugs come in all sorts of colors and designs but also sizes. Each weaving center had its preferred style and made floor coverings for different purposes. There were small prayer rugs, common medium carpets or large Persian rugs for the rich. Today, while choosing a floor covering to your own home, you should consider which size will suit you best. Only then may the rug create the most practical and appealing foundation for the entire interior design. Oriental carpets are a way of introducing color, pattern, and warmth into the décor, but also they are the best space definers. In the following sections, we will present various sizes of antique Persian rugs. We hope it will give you some insight to help with choosing an ideal rug dimension for your interior.

Large Persian Rugs

Large Persian RugThe beauty of authentic large Persian rugs lies both in elegant designs and great weave quality. A rug woven with wool can survive decades without any signs of wear. It would be an impossible task to find two big Persian rugs looking exactly the same. Large antique Persian rugs belong to the most prestigious bunch. Why? They were usually made for the Royal Court and the nobility. Persian rugs were diplomatic gifts or served religious purposes. Large carpets are longer than 10 feet on one side. Some large Persian rugs measure 12 feet by 18 feet or larger. These grand, highly qualitative textiles will look perfect in ample rooms or as a part of a wall-to-wall arrangement.

Medium Persian Rugs

Not too big, not too small – medium antique oriental rugs have been produced in actually every weaving center. Due to that fact, their variety is immense. You may find a medium authentic Persian rug for sale in NYC in almost every existing weaving style, pile length, and design. This freedom of choice makes them popular among customers around the world. Moreover, there are practical aspects speaking on their behalf. Medium Persian rugs easily fit into contemporary apartments. Whether it is a Heriz rug, a Tabriz rug, a Kashan rug, a Malayer rug, a Meshad rug, a Sultanabad rug, a Shiraz rug, a Sarouk rug, a Khorassan rug, a Kerman rug or a Bakhtiari rug, or any other kind of a Persian rug in New York City that you seek, you’ll most definitely find it in the medium size.

Small Persian Rugs

small Persian Rug

Many small Persian rugs belong to the category of prayer rugs. What are these? For centuries, prayer rugs have served Muslims during their daily worship routine. Handy and portable, prayer rugs provide ideal insulation from the ground and a comfortable platform to pray on. Nowadays, they are usually treated as purely artistic objects, especially in the Western world. Nonetheless, small authentic Persian rugs are an ideal addition to every interior décor. They may complement a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, or even a vestibule. Small Persian rugs enhance the design creating tiny islands of visual pleasure.

Persian Rug Styles

Antique Persian Rug with MedallionScholars find it extremely difficult to unravel mysteries of the past that reach back millennia. They suspect that weaving of Persian rugs started humbly with nomadic tribes. Later, it permeated to village and town workshops to finally become the flagship craft of Persia, curated by its rulers under Royal Court Manufactories. All these backgrounds deserve an equal amount of respect as they contribute to the overall shape of Iranian rugs. Depending on the exact place of origin, Persian rugs represent diverse, simultaneous lines of tradition, and reflect the history of Iran and its various peoples.

Tabriz, Isfahan, Kerman, Meshad, Qum or Nain are only several of many historically-grounded and renowned Persian weaving centers. Each of them can boast of its distinct weaving techniques and designs. Yet, in general, they happen to have more similarities than differences. What connects them is a profound respect for beauty and quality, expressed by the use of high-quality materials, colors, and patterns.

Village and nomadic Persian rugs have a heartwarming, absolutely irresistible appeal, widely desired by aficionados of design. They tend to carry bolder, not so intricate designs and slightly coarser wool. Nonetheless, the purity of artistic expression and heart put in their creation makes them incredibly authentic.

The most prominent are perhaps Oriental rugs woven in the Safavid court manufactories of Isfahan during the 16th century. Their level of excellence so high that they have been elevated to the rank of high art. Presently, many of these Persian carpets are treasured in museums and private collections all over the world. Nonetheless, their most important role was setting up the sublime artistic tradition that was kept alive through the entire existence of the Persian Empire and continues until this day.

Persian Rugs for Sale at DLB

Antique Persian RugDoris Leslie Blau presents the collection of Persian rugs for sale. Persian carpets are widely famed for their elaborate, meaningful, artistic designs as well as top-notch execution. We pride ourselves in bringing these magnificent treasures of the Orient to a wider audience. Our involvement and passion are fueled by the never-fading beauty of traditional designs and the exquisite craftsmanship of Oriental artisans. Each specimen in our repertoire, from antique or vintage Persian rugs to modern Persian rugs, is 100% authentic, hand-made of the best materials under the craft.

We put all efforts in maintaining the highest standards both in terms of our products and services that we provide. A considerable number of satisfied customers is probably the finest recommendation of all. Among our clients, you will find names such as Brad Ford, Robert De Niro, Michael J Fox, Tommy Hilfiger, or Julianne Moore. Considering the above, we dare to advertise ourselves as the most trusted purveyor of Persian rugs in NYC.

Oriental Rugs for Sale at DLB

Oriental RugOriental rugs for sale at DLB – no matter your preference for color, texture, style or vintage, DLB offers the widest selection of authentic Persian rugs and carpets and vintage Persian rugs for sale in NYC and other parts of the world to fulfill your dreams. Antique Oriental rugs are notable for the wide variety of styles in which they are available, and Persian ones are among the most desirable. No matter what Persian style rugs you seek, from room-size to area rugs, within our stock, there is a Persian rug for sale to suit your taste.

We know everything about authentic Persian rugs and are keen on sharing our expertise on oriental rug styles, their history, characteristics, as well as answer all the questions and doubts you might have in regard to antique Persian rugs for sale. If you find yourself having inquiries about Oriental carpets in general, and Persian carpets in particular, do not hesitate to contact us by email or via telephone.

We approach the subject of carpets with passion and devotion as we all are under the spellbinding influence of masterful, hand-woven floor coverings from the East. Bearing this deep love for eternal beauty in our hearts, we are dedicated to spreading the knowledge about magnificent Oriental rugs in order to make people appreciate, but most importantly – understand – all complexities and stories woven into the intertwining warp and weft of each awe-inspiring Persian rug.