From all the weaving centers throughout the entire history of rug production, Persia is without a doubt considered the finest, and wool is by far the most commonly applied material in the carpet manufacturing process. Persian wool rugs constitute probably the largest category being highly diverse in terms of style, design, texture or the exact place of origin, and for centuries have served people in warming up and adorning their households.
The Oldest Persian Wool Rug
Persian wool rugs are woven using the asymmetric knot, known as the Persian knot or the Senneh knot, which allows artisans to achieve exceptionally high knot density and therefore, incredibly complex and meticulous designs. However, the factor most strongly in favor of these floor coverings is their ever-lasting quality, ready to withstand hundreds of years of usage without grave signs of wear or damage. The oldest preserved Persian wool rug known to men dates back to about the 4th century B.C. and is called the Pazyryk Rug after the place of its excavation (the Pazyryk Valley in Siberia) which took place in 1949 and was performed by a Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko. Although this part of the world did not belong to the mighty Persian Empire, multiple researches have proven that the venerable floor covering is indeed of Persian descent and was simply stolen by the Scythian peoples who inhabited the area in over two thousand years ago. It has a very intricate and advanced design consisting of a skillful combination of geometric, floral and pictorial patterns. The design includes 24 polygons with cross-shaped figures, each issuing 4 lotus buds, within. The main field is framed by a border of griffins, which is again followed by another border of deer. This fascinating example is probably the best confirmation of the longevity and incredible artistry of Persian wool rugs.
Advantages of Persian Wool Carpets
Wool is a textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids. In Persia, the majority of wool was acquired from domesticated sheep. Wool’s scaling and crimp make it easier to spin the fleece by helping the individual fibers attach to each other so they stay together. Because of the crimp, wool fabrics are distinguished by greater bulk than other textiles, and they hold air, which allows the fabric to retain heat. Wool has a high specific heat coefficient, so it impedes heat transfer in general. Many desert tribes, including Bedouins and Tuaregs who use wool clothes and rugs for insulation, have benefited from this particular effect.
Moreover, wool fibers readily absorb moisture, but are not hollow. This incredible material can absorb almost one-third of its own weight in water, not to mention that it absorbs sound like many other fabrics. Thus, having a Persian wool carpet in the house is not only an investment into fine art but also a practical solution to bring some warmth into the interior.