What Does The Persian Carpet In The Story Symbolize
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Oriental Rug Expert: Persian Carpet Information
During the reign of Shah Abbas - , commerce and crafts prospered in Persia. Shah Abbas encouraged contacts and trade with Europe and transformed his new capital, Isfahan , into one of the most glorious cities of Persia. He also built workshops for carpets where skilled designers and craftsmen set to work to create splendid specimens. Most of these carpets were made of silk, with gold and silver threads adding even more embellishment. Two of the best know carpets of the Safavid period; dated come from the mosque of Ardabil. Many experts believe that these carpets represent the culmination of achievement in carpet design.
The larger of the two carpets is now a centrepiece in London's Victoria and Albert Museum. The court period of the Persian carpet ended with the Afghan invasion in The Afghans destroyed Isfahan, yet their domination lasted for only a short period and in , a young Chieftain from Khorasan, Nader Khan became the Shah of Persia. Through the whole course of his reign, all the country's forces were utilized in campaigns against the Afghans, the Turks, and the Russians. During this period, and for several turbulent years after his death in , no carpets of any great value were made; solely nomads and craftsmen in small villages continued the tradition of their craft.
In the last quarter of the 19th Century and during the reign of Qajar, trade and craftsmanship regained their importance. Carpet making flourished once more with Tabriz merchants exporting carpets to Europe through Istanbul. By the end of the 19th Century some European and American companies even set up businesses in Persia and organised craft production destined for western markets. Through this development new designs were made with Western tastes in mind.
Today, carpet weaving is by far the most widespread handicraft in Iran. Persian carpets are renowned for their richness of colour, variety of spectacular artistic patterns and quality of design. In palaces, famous buildings, mansions and museums the world over, a Persian carpet is amongst the most treasured of possessions. Flat weaving and embroidery were known during the Sasanian period. Elaborate Sasanian silk textiles were well preserved in European churches, where they were used as coverings for relics, and survived in church treasuries.
The high artistic level reached by Persian weavers is further exemplified by the report of the historian Al-Tabari about the Spring of Khosrow carpet, taken as booty by the Arabian conquerors of Ctesiphon in AD. The description of the rug's design by al-Tabari makes it seem unlikely that the carpet was pile woven. Fragments of pile rugs from findspots in north-eastern Afghanistan , reportedly originating from the province of Samangan , have been carbon dated to a time span from the turn of the second century to the early Sasanian period. Among these fragments, some show depictions of animals, like various stags sometimes arranged in a procession, recalling the design of the Pazyryk carpet or a winged mythical creature.
Wool is used for warp, weft, and pile, the yarn is crudely spun, and the fragments are woven with the asymmetric knot associated with Persian and far-eastern carpets. Every three to five rows, pieces of unspun wool, strips of cloth and leather are woven in. The carpet fragments, although reliably dated to the early Sasanian time, do not seem to be related to the splendid court carpets described by the Arab conquerors. Their crude knots incorporating shag on the reverse hints at the need for increased insulation.
With their coarsely finished animal and hunting depictions, these carpets were likely woven by nomadic people. The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sasanian Empire in and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. Persia became a part of the Islamic world, ruled by Muslim Caliphates. Arabian geographers and historians visiting Persia provide, for the first time, references to the use of carpets on the floor.
The great Arabian traveller Ibn Battuta mentions that a green rug was spread before him when he visited the winter quarter of the Bakhthiari atabeg in Idhej. These references indicate that carpet weaving in Persia under the Caliphate was a tribal or rural industry. The Abbasid line of rulers recentered themselves in the Mamluk capital of Cairo in Though lacking in political power, the dynasty continued to claim authority in religious matters until after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt Under the Mamluk dynasty in Cairo, large carpets known as "Mamluk carpets" were produced.
Beginning at latest with the Seljuq invasions of Anatolia and northwestern Persia, a distinct Turko-Persian tradition emerged. The Egyptian findings also provide evidence for export trade. If, and how, these carpets influenced Persian carpet weaving, remains unknown, as no distinct Persian carpets are known to exist from this period, or we are unable to identify them.
It was assumed by Western scholars that the Sejuqs may have introduced at least new design traditions, if not the craft of pile weaving itself, to Persia, where skilled artisans and craftsmen might have integrated new ideas into their old traditions. Seljuq Period, 13th century. Between and , Persia was raided by the Mongols. After , the title "Ilkhan" was borne by the descendants of Hulagu Khan and later other Borjigin princes in Persia.
In , Timur invaded Iran and became the founder of the Timurid Empire. His successors, the Timurids, maintained a hold on most of Iran until they had to submit to the "White Sheep" Turkmen confederation under Uzun Hassan in ; Uzun Hasan and his successors were the masters of Iran until the rise of the Safavids. In , Giosafat Barbaro was sent to Tabriz. In his reports to the Senate of Venetia he mentions more than once the splendid carpets which he saw at the palace. Some of them, he wrote, were of silk.
He described that in Timur's palace at Samarkand , "everywhere the floor was covered with carpets and reed mattings". None of the carpets woven before AD have survived. In , a new dynasty arose in Persia. Shah Ismail I , its founder, was related to Uzun Hassan. He is regarded as the first national sovereign of Persia since the Arab conquest, and established Shi'a Islam as the state religion of Persia.
Court manufactories were probably established by Shah Tahmasp in Tabriz, but definitely by Shah Abbas when he moved his capital from Tabriz in northwestern to Isfahan in central Persia, in the wake of the Ottoman—Safavid War — The time of the Safavid dynasty marks one of the greatest periods in Persian art , which includes carpet weaving. Later Safavid period carpets still exist, which belong to the finest and most elaborate weavings known today. The phenomenon that the first carpets physically known to us show such accomplished designs leads to the assumption that the art and craft of carpet weaving must already have existed for some time before the magnificent Safavid court carpets could have been woven.
As no early Safavid period carpets survived, research has focused on Timurid period book illuminations and miniature paintings. These paintings depict colourful carpets with repeating designs of equal-scale geometric patterns, arranged in checkerboard-like designs, with "kufic" border ornaments derived from Islamic calligraphy. The designs are so similar to period Anatolian carpets, especially to " Holbein carpets " that a common source of the design cannot be excluded: Timurid designs may have survived in both the Persian and Anatolian carpets from the early Safavid, and Ottoman period.
By the late fifteenth century, the design of the carpets depicted in miniatures changed considerably. Large-format medaillons appeared, ornaments began to show elaborate curvilinear designs. Large spirals and tendrils, floral ornaments, depictions of flowers and animals, were often mirrored along the long or short axis of the carpet to obtain harmony and rhythm. The earlier "kufic" border design was replaced by tendrils and arabesques.
All these patterns required a more elaborate system of weaving, as compared to weaving straight, rectilinear lines. Likewise, they require artists to create the design, weavers to execute them on the loom, and an efficient way to communicate the artist's ideas to the weaver. Today this is achieved by a template, termed cartoon Ford, , p. How Safavid manufacturers achieved this, technically, is currently unknown. The result of their work, however, was what Kurt Erdmann termed the "carpet design revolution". Apparently, the new designs were developed first by miniature painters, as they started to appear in book illuminations and on book covers as early as in the fifteenth century.
This marks the first time when the "classical" design of Islamic rugs was established: The medaillon and corner design pers. Behzad had a decisive impact on the development of later Safavid art. The Safavid carpets known to us differ from the carpets as depicted in the miniature paintings, so the paintings cannot support any efforts to differentiate, classify and date period carpets. The same holds true for European paintings: Unlike Anatolian carpets, Persian carpets were not depicted in European paintings before the seventeenth century. I have no refuge in the world other than thy threshold. There is no protection for my head other than this door.
The work of the slave of the threshold Maqsud of Kashan in the year The AH year of corresponds to AD —, which dates the Ardabil carpet to the reign of Shah Tahmasp, who donated the carpet to the shrine of Shaykh Safi-ad-din Ardabili in Ardabil , who is regarded as the spiritual father of the Safavid dynasty. By the diligence of Ghyath ud-Din Jami was completed This renowned work, that appeals to us by its beauty In the year The number of sources for more precise dating and the attribution of provenience increase during the 17th century.
Safavid carpets were presented as diplomatic gifts to European cities and states, as diplomatic relations intensified. In , Shah Abbas presented a carpet with inwoven gold and silver threads to the Venetian doge Marino Grimani. European noblemen began ordering carpets directly from the manufactures of Isfahan and Kashan, whose weavers were willing to weave specific designs, like European coats of arms, into the commissioned peces.
Their acquisition was sometimes meticulously documented: In , the Armenian Sefer Muratowicz was sent to Kashan by the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa in order to commission 8 carpets with the Polish royal court of arms to be inwoven. The Kashan weavers did so, and on 12 September Muratowicz presented the carpets to the Polish king, and the bill to the treasurer of the crown. Although the error was corrected, carpets of this type retained the name of "Polish" or "Polonaise" carpets.
The more appropriate type name of "Shah Abbas" carpets was suggested by Kurt Erdmann. Edwards opens his book on Persian carpets with the description of eight masterpieces from this great period:. May H. Beattie identified these carpets by their common structure:  Seven different types of carpets were identified: Garden carpets depicting formal gardens and water channels ; carpets with centralized designs, characterized by a large medallion; multiple-medaillon designs with offset medaillons and compartment repeats; directional designs with the arrangements of little scenes used as individual motifs; sickle-leaf designs where long, curved, serrated and sometimes compound leaves dominate the field; arabesque; and lattice designs.
Their distinctive structure consists of asymmetric knots; the cotton warps are depressed, and there are three wefts. The first and third weft are made of wool, and lie hidden in the center of the carpet. The middle weft is of silk or cotton, and passes from the back to the front. When the carpets are worn, this third weft evokes a characteristic, "tram line" effect. The medallion-and-corner design is similar to other 16th century Safavid carpets, but the colours and style of drawing are distinct.
In the central medallion, pairs of human figures in smaller medallions surround a central animal combat scene. Other animal combats are depicted in the field, while horsemen are shown in the corner medallions. The main border also contains lobed medallions with Houris , animal combats, or confronting peacocks. In-between the border medallions, phoenixes and dragons are fighting.
The declining country was repeatedly raided on its frontiers. Mahmud proclaimed himself 'Shah' of Persia. Meanwhile, Persia's imperial rivals, the Ottomans and the Russians, took advantage of the chaos in the country to seize more territory for themselves. The Emperor's Carpet detail , second half of the 16th century, Iran. Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York. Safavid Persian carpet " Mantes carpet " at The Louvre. He defeated the Afghans, and Ottomans , reinstalled the Safavids on the throne, and negotiated Russian withdrawal from Irans Caucasian territories, by the Treaty of Resht and Treaty of Ganja.
By , Nader himself was crowned shah. There are no records of carpet weaving, which had sunk to an insignificant handicraft, during the Afsharid and Zand dynasties. In , Mohammad Khan Qajar was crowned king of Persia, the founder of the Qajar dynasty , which provided Persia with a long period of order and comparative peace, and the industry had an opportunity of revival. The weavers of Tabriz took the opportunity, and around became the founders of the modern industry of carpet weaving in Persia. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution , Persia had become a battleground. In , Britain used Iran as the springboard for an attack into Russia in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the Revolution. By , the Iranian government had lost virtually all power outside its capital: British and Soviet forces exercised control over most of the Iranian mainland.
He established a constitutional monarchy that lasted until the Iranian Revolution in Reza Shah introduced social, economic, and political reforms, ultimately laying the foundation of the modern Iranian state. The revival of carpet weaving, often referring to traditional designs, was an important part of these efforts. Elaborate carpets were woven for export, and as diplomatic gifts to other states. The Pahlavi dynasty modernized and centralized the Iranian government, and sought effective control and authority over all their subjects.
Reza Shah was the first Persian monarch to confront this challenge with modern weapons. Enforced by the army, nomadism was outlawed during the s, traditional tribal dresses were banned, the use of tents and yurts was forbidden in Iran. Unable to migrate, having lost their herds, many nomadic families starved to death. His successor, Mohammed Reza Shah consolidated his power during the s. His land reform program of , part of the so-called White Revolution , despite obvious advantages for landless peasants, destroyed the traditional political organization of nomadic tribes like the Qashqai people , and the traditional way of nomadic life.
The centuries-old traditions of nomadic carpet weaving, which had entered a process of decline with the introduction of synthetic dyes and commercial designs in the late nineteenth century, were almost annihilated by the politics of the last Iranian imperial dynasty. Carpet in the Niavaran Palace , Tehran. After the Iranian Revolution , little information could at first be obtained about carpet weaving in Iran. In the s and s, a new interest arose in Europe in Gabbeh rugs, which were initially woven by nomadic tribes for their own use. Their coarse weaving and simple, abstract designs appealed to Western customers. In , the first Grand Persian Conference and Exhibition in Tehran presented for the first time modern Persian carpet designs.
Persian master weavers like Razam Arabzadeh displayed carpets woven in the traditional technique, but with unusual, modern designs. On the one hand, modern and innovative artistic designs are invented and developed by Iranian manufacturers, who thus take the ancient design tradition forward towards the twenty-first century. On the other hand, the renewed interest in natural dyes  was taken up by commercial enterprises, which commission carpets to tribal village weavers. This provides a regular source of income for the carpet weavers. The companies usually provide the material and specify the designs, but the weavers are allowed some degree of creative freedom.
With the end of the U. As commercial household goods, Persian carpets today are encountering competition from other countries with lower wages and cheaper methods of production: Machine-woven, tufted rugs, or rugs woven by hand, but with the faster and less costly loop weaving method, provide rugs in "oriental" designs of utilitarian, but no artistic value. Traditional hand woven carpets, made of sheep wool dyed with natural colours are increasingly sought after. They are usually sold at higher prices due to the large amount of manual work associated with their production, which has, essentially, not changed since ancient times, and due to the artistic value of their design.
Thus, the Persian carpet retains its ancient status as an object of luxury, beauty, and art. In most Persian rugs, the pile is of sheep's wool. Its characteristics and quality vary from each area to the next, depending on the breed of sheep, climatic conditions, pasturage, and the particular customs relating to when and how the wool is shorn and processed. Usually, sheep are shorn in spring and fall. The spring shear produces wool of finer quality. The lowest grade of wool used in carpet weaving is "skin" wool, which is removed chemically from dead animal skin. Merino wool from New Zealand , because the high demand on carpet wool cannot be entirely met by the local production. Fibers from camels and goats are also used.
Goat hair is mainly used for fastening the borders, or selvedges, of nomadic rugs like Baluch rugs, since it is more resistant to abrasion. Camel wool is occasionally used in Persian nomadic rugs. It is often dyed in black, or used in its natural colour. More often, wool said to be camel's wool turns out to be dyed sheep wool. Cotton forms the foundation of warps and wefts of the majority of modern rugs. Nomads who cannot afford to buy cotton on the market use wool for warps and wefts, which are also traditionally made of wool in areas where cotton was not a local product.
Cotton can be spun more tightly than wool, and tolerates more tension, which makes cotton a superior material for the foundation of a rug. Especially larger carpets are more likely to lie flat on the floor, whereas wool tends to shrink unevenly, and carpets with a woolen foundation may buckle when wet. Silk is an expensive material, and has been used for representative carpets. Its tensile strength has been used in silk warps, but silk also appears in the carpet pile. Silk pile can be used to highlight special elements of the design. High-quality carpets from Kashan, Qum, Nain, and Isfahan have all-silk piles. Silk pile carpets are often exceptionally fine, with a short pile and an elaborate design. Silk pile is less resistant to mechanical stress, thus, all-silk piles are often used as wall hangings , or pillows.
The fibers of wool, cotton, and silk are spun either by hand or mechanically by using spinning wheels or industrial spinning machines to produce the yarn. The direction in which the yarn is spun is called twist. Yarns are characterized as S-twist or Z-twist according to the direction of spinning see diagram. Generally, handspun single plies are spun with a Z-twist, and plying is done with an S-twist. Like nearly all Islamic rugs with the exception of Mamluk carpets, nearly all Persian rugs use "Z" anti-clockwise spun and "S" clockwise -plied wool. The dyeing process involves the preparation of the yarn in order to make it susceptible for the proper dyes by immersion in a mordant. Dyestuffs are then added to the yarn which remains in the dyeing solution for a defined time.
The dyed yarn is then left to dry, exposed to air and sunlight. Some colours, especially dark brown, require iron mordants, which can damage or fade the fabric. This often results in faster pile wear in areas dyed in dark brown colours, and may create a relief effect in antique oriental carpets. Traditional dyes used in Persian rugs are obtained from plants and insects. In , the English chemist William Henry Perkin invented the first aniline dye, mauveine. A variety of other synthetic dyes were invented thereafter.
Cheap, readily prepared and easy to use as they were compared to natural dyes, their use is documented since the mid s. The tradition of natural dyeing was revived in Turkey in the early s. Chemical analyses led to the identification of natural dyes from antique wool samples, and dyeing recipes and processes were experimentally re-created. Some of the dyestuffs like indigo or madder were goods of trade, and thus commonly available. Yellow or brown dyestuffs more substantially vary from region to region.
Many plants provide yellow dyes, like Vine weld, or Dyer's weed Reseda luteola , Yellow larkspur, or Dyer's sumach Cotinus coggygria. Grape leaves and pomegranate rinds, as well as other plants, provide different shades of yellow. In Iran, traditional dyeing with natural dyes was revived in the s, inspired by the renewed general interest in traditionally produced rugs, but master dyers like Abbas Sayahi had kept alive the knowledge about the traditional recipes.
Carmine dyes are obtained from resinous secretions of scale insects such as the Cochineal scale Coccus cacti , and certain Porphyrophora species Armenian and Polish cochineal. Cochineal dye, the so-called "laq" was formerly exported from India, and later on from Mexico and the Canary Islands. Insect dyes were more frequently used in areas where Madder Rubia tinctorum was not grown, like west and north-west Persia. With modern synthetic dyes , nearly every colour and shade can be obtained so that without chemical analysis it is nearly impossible to identify, in a finished carpet, whether natural or artificial dyes were used. Modern carpets can be woven with carefully selected synthetic colours, and provide artistic and utilitarian value.
Abrash is seen in traditionally dyed oriental rugs. Its occurrence suggests that a single weaver has likely woven the carpet, who did not have enough time or resources to prepare a sufficient quantity of dyed yarn to complete the rug. Only small batches of wool were dyed from time to time. When one string of wool was used up, the weaver continued with the newly dyed batch. Because the exact hue of colour is rarely met again when a new batch is dyed, the colour of the pile changes when a new row of knots is woven in.
As such, the colour variation suggests a village or tribal woven rug, and is appreciated as a sign of quality and authenticity. Abrash can also be introduced on purpose into a newly planned carpet design. Indigo, historical dye collection of the Dresden University of Technology , Germany. Kermez Coccus cacti lice. Section central medallion of a South Persian rug, probably Qashqai, late 19th century, showing irregular blue colours abrash. The weaving of pile rugs is a time-consuming process which, depending on the quality and size of the rug, may take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. To begin making a rug, one needs a foundation consisting of warps and wefts: Warps are strong, thick threads of cotton, wool or silk which run through the length of the rug.
Similar threads which pass under and over the warps from one side to the other are called wefts. For it's correct content this site was awarded:. The map showing some important Persian carpet manufacturing areas. Relief from the Sassanid Empire near the ancient Persian city of Persepolis, about 90 km northeast of Shiraz. The dome on the very beautiful mosque in Isfahan. The Zoroastrians' holy symbol of Farvohr on a fire temple in Yazd. Iran has many different types of nature, from desert to woozy verdure. Alborz mountain stretches throughout north of Iran.
Abadeh Right between Shiraz and Isfahan lies the city of Abadeh. Afshar Around the city of Kerman in the southeast of Iran reside the semi nomads from the Afshar tribe. Ardebil The city of Ardebil is also the capital in the province with the same name and is situated in the north of Iran close by the Bakhtiar In the Zagros mountains, west of the city of Isfahan around the city Shahr-e-Kurd, reside the Bakhtiar nomads. Beluch The Beluchis live on the border district between Iran and Afghanistan. Bidjar Bidjar is the name of a small Kurdish town in western Iran. Gabbeh Gabbeh from the Persian language farsi; raw, natural, uncut represents a rough and primitive carpet with patterns mostly made Ghashghai The Ghashghai nomads are found in the Fars province in the southwest of Iran and they live in the provinces of Fars, Khuzestan Ghom Nearby a dried up river, about kilometres south of Teheran lies the city of Ghom.
Hamadan Hamadan is a city situated in the western part of Iran, kilometres west of Teheran. Heriz The city of Heriz is situated in the northwest of Iran, not far from the greater city of Tabriz. Isfahan In the middle of Iran with the Zagros mountains to the left and the desert to the right, lies the city of Isfahan; Today, it is Kerman Down in the southeast of Iran, close to an oasis in the desert Dasht-e-Lut lies the city of Kerman with a population of Keshan Right between Isfahan and Teheran, close to the edge of the great desert Dasht-e-Kavir, lies the city of Keshan with Klardasht These carpets are rather unusual, but very well-known from several antique paintings. Koliai The main part of the population in Iran is of Persian origin, but there are also minorities.
Mashad The holy city of Mashad is situated in the east of Iran, in the enormous province of Khorasan. Moud The city of Moud is situated south of Mashad and south of Birdjan. Nain Close to the western edge of the great desert Dasht-e-Kavir, kilometres east of Isfahan is the picturesque city of Nain.The Persians were highly Women In The Reeves Tale. Geometric carpets". The pattern of Bakhtiari carpets is What Does The Persian Carpet In The Story Symbolize geometrically curved, sometimes semi-geometric and Women In The Reeves Tale curved.