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For thousands of years, Persian carpets have been objects of luxury and demonstration of their owner’s status, as well as a beautiful work of art. Surrounding themselves with exquisite carpets, kings, emperors, sultans and sheikhs created an atmosphere, in which they felt comfortable and cozy. Carpets created by the hands of famous craftsmen become even more expensive over time, just like the paintings of great artists. Finest patterns woven from millions of knots by carpet weaving craftsmen carry a spiritual charge transmitting its power and energy to the owner. To feel it, it is enough just to touch our carpet.

The carpet found in 1949 in the Altai, in a Pazyryk barrow is considered to be the most ancient Persian carpet today. The carpet has been perfectly preserved due to its staying in a frozen form until its discovery, and it provides scientists with a right to quite accurately estimate its age of 2,500 years. The technology of weaving hand-made Persian carpets has remained the same as the one used in the manufacture of the most ancient carpet. This fact is a testament to the preservation of carpet weaving traditions in Iran passing from generation to generation. Since ancient times, Persian carpets have been an integral part of the use and performed a variety of functions. The ancient nomadic tribes could use carpets as an entrance door, walls of a tent, or insulation for floors. Kings adorned their palaces with most luxurious carpets and even covered their tombs with them. Conquerors of the Persian Empire considered Persian carpets to be one of the best trophies. The history has preserved for us the legend of the ‘Spring Carpet’ of the Persian king Khosrow I created in the VI century after the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula and the victory over the Romans. Chronicles say that the carpet was 122 meters long and 30 meters wide. Weight of the masterpiece reached several tons. Its motif represented a luxurious flowering garden, almost life-size, and patterns were woven with gold and silver threads complemented with gems. The ‘Spring Carpet’ is considered to be the most expensive carpet in the history, the epitome of power of its owner, and its beauty symbolized the divine origin of the king. Unfortunately, after the Arabs captured Persia in 641, the ‘Spring Carpet’ was lost. The history of the Persian carpet is very closely linked with the history of the state. Motifs used by the weavers are not just beautiful flowery patterns, they reveal historical stories telling about natural phenomena and the relationship of a human with them, accumulate ancient eastern wisdom. Experienced eyes looking at a Persian carpet can read it like a book.

High-quality natural materials – wool, silk, cotton, as well as natural dyes extracted from plants, nut shells, minerals, milk and even insects are traditionally used for the manufacture of hand-made Persian carpets. Natural dyes give various shades to the carpets, from pastel to deep and bright, always providing a carpet with a noble color depth. The technology of manufacturing materials, producing yarn and ways of its coloring depend on the place of manufacture. Thus, small family factories boil yarn and dye it in small quantities in large vats by hand; large manufactories use modern equipment to speed up the production process, while maintaining the tradition and quality. Before making a specific carpet, a designer creates its motif. Skilled craftsmen use symbolic patterns symbolizing the all-seeing eye of God, the sun, moon and stars. There are often images of a paradise garden, animals, birds, flowers and stems of plants. When a sketch of the future carpet is ready, it is applied to the graph paper and painted. Then the motif is passed to the weavers who transfer it onto the carpet. Carpet weaving begins with the selection of the foundation – cotton or silk. Pile is woven into the selected foundation by tying a knot with each thread in a special way. After weaving a few centimeters, the pile is trimmed to a few millimeters, and the pattern emerges. The woven carpet is beaten and cleaned to make the pile softer and more elastic. This work takes months and sometimes years, which gives the Persian carpet a special value. The quality of the Persian carpet is determined by the number of knots per unit area: the more nodes, the denser, stronger and more expensive the carpet is. The feature of hand weaving of the Persian carpet is its very clear picture both on the front and on the reverse side, which cannot be said about machine-made carpets. The durability of a hand-made carpet is also considerably higher, since each thread is tied in a knot, while the machine just sticks the pile into the foundation

Qum is located in the central part of Iran and is known as ‘the capital of silk carpets’ and a highly religious city. Manufacture of carpets in Qum is the youngest in comparison with other centers. It started in the early XX Century. Despite this, the carpets from this area are among the most expensive and of the highest quality, since the material for their production is silk, and elements woven from wool can be found only in rare cases. Carpets from Qum do not have a specific traditional design; they absorbed the traditions of other cities of Iran. Here you can find hunting scenes, images of animals and birds, floral patterns, as well as the motifs of ancient legends and tales. Carpets of this area are different with a rich color palette: from pink and peach to deep red, from turquoise and pistachio to deep blue or green, from light beige and ivory to copper-brown. Due to silk used as the main material, the carpets from Qum are especially elegant and plastic. No one will be indifferent to the carpet breaking in paints and playing golden tints of various colors in the rays of light, fascinating the eye. Weaving density ranges from 1 to 2 million knots per square meter and is considered an indicator of excellent quality of the carpet and skillful work of the craftsman.

Persian carpets are traditionally differentiated by the place of their manufacture. The most famous cities – carpet weaving centers include Tabriz, Isfahan, Qum and Naein. Craftsmen of each area keep their own secrets of carpet weaving and use certain colors and patterns allowing determination of a particular carpet weaving center where the carpet was made.

Isfahan is an ancient city in Iran located 450 kilometers from Tehran. During the reign of the Safavid dynasty, Isfahan was the capital of the state, the city of poets, artists and most skilled weavers, and it remains such to the present day. Carpets from Isfahan differ with their classic patterns that reproduce the motifs of ancient carpets. Traditional background colors of Isfahan carpets are rich shades of blue or red. The carpet pattern includes palmettes, pictures of animals, arabesques and various floral designs, often going beyond the center field. The carpets of this area are characterized by a large medallion in the center and a contrast between the light field and the dark borders. Material for the carpets from Isfahan is high-quality wool, always in combination with silk. High density of weaving, from 700 thousand to 1 million knots per square meter, indicates the excellent quality and reliability of the carpet, and a perfect combination of the story, design and material is one of the best in Iran.

Tabriz is the second largest city in Iran located in the northern part of the country. Since ancient times it has been known as a large trading center. Carpets from Tabriz are made of wool of the highest quality, rarely silk. Silk or fine cotton is used as the foundation. Traditional colors of the carpets of this area include red, cream and blue, but lately a variety of other colors are used more and more often. The carpet pattern is densely filled with plant motifs, images of vases or bright hunting scenes, the ruins of ancient palaces, weeping willows, cypress trees and lotus flowers. The center of the carpet usually depicts a medallion surrounded by a geometric ornament, arabesques or smaller medallions. A popular motif embodied in the carpets from Tabriz is the four seasons describing the life of the Iranian farmer in winter, spring, summer and fall. Sometimes the corners of the carpet include images of the four famous poets of Iran – Sadi, Hafez, and Ferdous and Omar Khayyam. Wall carpet images – pictures deserve special attention. These carpets can tell stories of important historical events, can be inscribed with verses from the Koran and sayings of the Persian poets, can depict the splendor of nature. Excellent quality of the carpets from Tabriz is due to the high density of its weave, from 300 thousand to 1 million knots per square meter.

Naein is an ancient Iranian city located 200 kilometers east of Isfahan on the edge of the desert Dashte Kavir. The best wool is used for the manufacture of carpets from Naein, and silk is used to make patterns clearer and more shining. Carpets from this city can be immediately recognized by the traditionally established colors: a combination of shades of blue or green with white or ivory. Characteristic filling of the carpet from this area is interweaving of stems, vines and flowers. A medallion in the center of the carpet is often combined with elegant arabesques. Sometimes pictures of animals and birds can be seen. Naein carpets are extremely beautiful, and in Iran itself the word ‘naein’ is often used as a synonym for the word ‘exquisite’. The quality of the Naein carpet is determined by its density of 200 thousand to 1 million knots per square meter.

It is surprising, but the Persian carpet is best preserved when actively used. The more people go across the carpet, the more it reveals its paints, becomes more velvety and pleasant to the touch. In ancient times, after weaving a new carpet, it was thrown to the pavement under the feet of passers-by and only after a few months of such testing it was believed that the carpet was ‘ripe’ and ready to use. For a carpet to delight the eyes of its owner and his/her guests for a long time, a few simple rules of care should be followed: try to avoid direct sunlight to prevent discoloration of the carpet; turn the carpet in one turn from time to time; do not place objects with sharp edges to the carpet and do not fold the carpet in order to avoid rupture of the foundation and crease of the pile (when storing the carpet, it is better to roll it); regularly clean the carpet from dirt and dust. The carpet should be cleaned in the direction of the pile using a soft brush or broom; vacuum cleaner should be used in a gentle mode. Sometimes the carpet should be cleaned not only from the front, but also from the reverse side. At least once a year, it is desirable to beat out the carpet without hanging it by the edges, but turning the face to the horizontal surface. To wash the carpet, special foaming agents without bleach or dyes should be used. In case of spilling liquid on the carpet, a stain should be wet with a cloth or a clean dry towel, without rubbing it in the pile. In case of serious damage, the carpet can be sent to Iran, where skilled craftsmen will restore it.

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