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The Religious Significance of Persian Prayer Rugs

Rug weaving has been a vital part of Iranian culture practically since the dawn of the mighty Persian Empire. This venerable craftsmanship was inseparably connected with the formation of trade in the region and proved to be one of the driving forces for the development of the entire state. In the 7 century A.D., when the Arab conquest brought about the advent of Islam, rugs proved to be the bridge between cultures combining Persian tradition with Islamic art and religion. It led to the creation of Persian prayer rugs.


When Persian and Islamic traditions came together, a new type of carpets was born. Persian prayer rugs encompassed long-established techniques, qualitative materials and new religious influences.

The Religious Significance of Prayer Rugs

Prayer rugs, despite their artistic value, are objects of religious significance. They serve Muslims during prayer. The practise involves prostration, kneeling and sitting, as the insulation from the ground. Moreover, they help to meet the condition of cleanness during the prayer. It is one of the most crucial Islamic prescripts. A follower worships Allah five times a day. Thanks to a handy prayer rug a person always has a place to perform the rite. However, the role of prayer rugs does not end there. Purity does not only mean a clean spot on the floor. The worshipper should also perform the ablution. Many prayer rugs contain symbols of a comb and a pitcher. They remind the believers about the obligation.

The Characteristics of Persian Prayer Rugs

The arrangement of Persian prayer rugs is very specifc. In the central part there is always the niche – the equivalent of a mihrab in a mosque. During prayer the arched end of the niche should be turned towards Mecca. The worshipper should also turn in this direction. In addition, he ought to lay his forehand on the arch and place his hands at sides. Very often the motifs of hands and feet also appear on prayer carpets. This helps newly converted Moslems niche themselves on a rug. There is a number of religion-related motifs that frequently appear on prayer rugs. However, the Persian ones are distinguished specifically by the Tree of Life. This esteemed pattern is among the oldest and the most renowned. In various cultures Tree of Life was attributed with different meanings but in Islam it is a symbol of eternal life.

If you would like to find out more about Persian prayer rugs or other types of carpets do not hesitate to contact us by email [email protected] or call 212-517-9178. You are more than welcome to visit our gallery located on 306 East 61st Street, 7th Floor, New York and if by any chance you are visiting the capital, come to The Washington Design Centre at 1099 14th Street, N.W. Suite 325. We assure that our consultants will be at your disposal, serving with their expertise and kind advice.