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How to Interpret a Persian Rug Design

Carpet weaving and creating is an essential part of Persian Culture. A Persian rug is undoubtedly one of the prominent symbols that demonstrates the Persian identity. Hand-made carpets are recognized and well known due to their distinct design, which reflects the ancient style and nomadic tradition of this country.

Every Persian rug has a story behind it; to understand what the weaver wants to tell us, we should learn how to read and interpret each sign and pattern. The name of every particular rug pattern has been derived from the city, village, or tribe where each of them had been woven or traded for the first time.

Overall Characteristics of a Persian Rug

Persian rug designing and weaving techniques had been made many millennia ago, and then they were passed on to the later generations. So far, few written records of the design process have been discovered. One of the significant features of hand-knotted rugs is that every one of them has its uniqueness, meaning no two hand-knotted carpets can be the same.

According to their regions, Weavers utilize different kinds of materials and even designs for their carpets. However, due to the need for durability, wool is the most common material.

From a new perspective, some religious experts believe that rugs have been produced with a sense that God is watching them. Therefore, we can interpret that some of the symbols have religious backgrounds. Moreover, another incentive for making carpets was its value and market; for many people, rugs were means to survival.

Value of the rug

Many factors indicate the value of a Persian carpet. One of them is whether it is hand-made or machine-made. The hand-made or hand-knotted ones are more valuable because of their unique and vibrant designs, originality, durability, and the time and effort it consumes.

Another factor is the number of knots. The more knots there are on a specific area, the carpet is more valuable.

Moreover, the design of a carpet has a significant effect on its value. If the patterns are intricate, the price is going to be higher

The material utilized to produce the carpet is another indicator of the value of the rug. Carpets made of silk are more expensive due to the price of the silk and its characteristics which made it obligatory to have more knots per square meter. However, Persian wool is the best globally; hence, Persian rugs are commonly made of wool, as mentioned.

Finally, the antique rugs have relatively higher value; nevertheless, it does not mean that newer Oriental rugs have lower quality. It is all about the market demands.

Geometrically patterned Persian carpets, which were commonly woven by nomadic tribes, have a repetition of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. These patterns and designs are indicators of the origin of the carpets. A pattern has three main features: unit, repetition, and system of organization. Symmetry is a fundamental principle for the organization. By diversifying the relation between practices concerning Symmetry consideration, these symbols will create fantastic artwork.

Two main parts of the rugs undergo these variations the field and the borders. These designs are separated into two main categories curvilinear and rectilinear.

Persian rugs’ most common pattern is a large central medallion. Many believe that these Medallions have religious roots, and they are the result of inspiration from artwork and patterns of domes of the mosques.

Symbols and Motifs used in Persian Carpets

A Persian rug has many symbols, and each has cultural or religious meanings attached to it. For instance, you may recognize parrot in the rug patterns, which means protection, peony representing power, peacock, and lotus representing immortality, blossom with the meaning of youth, comb reflecting cleanliness, a cross indicator of faith, etc.

The colors which are used in an authentic Persian rug also help us to interpret the product. For example, the green color has a religious origin, it is the holy color of prophet Mohammad, and it represents hope, renewal, life, and spring, the red color reflects beauty, faith, courage, luck, and joy; the blue color indicates power or force, white means purity and gold means wealth and power.

Persian rugs can be classified into several groups according to their designs. For example, some artisans were inspired by the ancient buildings’ tile work, structure, and geometric shapes, and those rugs were classified into the Historical Monuments and Islamic Buildings group. Others used patterns representing a flower named Shah Abbasi, adjacent to other floral Persian rug patterns and leaves; whose carpets are in the Shah Abbasi group. Some ancient weavers decorated their carpets with spiral branches and leaves, representing the jaw of a dragon, and these rugs were classified into the spiral group. Moreover, religious weavers utilize patterns of Mehrab, a place in a mosque where the leader stands, to represent sanctity; these rugs were classified into Mehrab groups.

There are other classifications for Persian rugs such as Allover, Derivative, Interconnected, Paisley, Tree, Torkeman, Hunting Ground, Panel, European Flower, Vase, Geometrical, Tribal, etc.

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