of Carpet Weaving in Iran
After Safavid era
era, Shah Abbas and Shah Tahmasb asked the best painters and
carpet weavers of time to prepare carpets for them. Specially painters
works were suitable for this purpose, because they were mostly
two-dimensional, in small sizes and limited by rules and customs.
Actually, in that time, most
of miniatures and images were designing rather than paintings, so that
in recent years, some carpet weaving masters in Kerman and Tabriz have
used exactly the same designs. Of course carpets that were woven under
protection of these princes, were not rural, but urban products that
needed tools, talent and artistic taste, which villagers and tribe
members lacked those, Also, there are some information. Showing Shah
Tahmasb’s interested in carpet designing . It is also said, that he
has prepared some carpet designs by himself.
After Shah Abbas’ death,
there was a period of decline, chaos and failure for Iranians. But
there is no evidence showing the revival of this art at the time of
Karim Khan Zand’s governorship, who was a kind but illiterate man.
Carpet weaving profession also declined to its lowest level of quality
in this time.
Safavid took the art of the
carpet weaving to its highest point of perfection and splendor.
Iranian artists created such gorgeous and magnificent works, which
were unique. Carpet weaving went further than rural or tribal craft
and became an important profession in urban work-shop. Carpet trade
and exporting to European countries began. Carpet designs were so much
rich in genius and creativity of artists of the time, that even after
hundreds of year they are still copying.
So except a few cases, none
of carpet designer’s attempt for crossing the artistic frame of that
time, was successful. As if the whole possible motifs and images have
been designed and completed by these skilful artists hands before. By
using these designs, carpet weavers of this era left about 1500
carpets and rugs that some of those are recorded as the definite
world’s carpet weaving masterpieces. Regarding their designs, woven
carpets of this era are classified as follows:
1- Medallion design
Sea wave carpet
5- Animals view Medallion carpet (Milan
6- Vase design
7- Hunting design
8- Tree and Paisley design
9- Herat flowered design
There are also big knotted
woven carpets, that is produced by double-weft weaving, and in each
row there are two wefts instead of one.
Curved carpets are the ones
with rotating and round designs. Doubtlessly these designs had very
important influence on carpet weaving techniques and probably caused
flourishing of double-weft weaving, that was the necessity of curved
carpets weaving, against single-weft weaving (with Broken Pattern),
which was common in Iran’s tribal and rural carpet weaving.
of the other cases is the
matter of some color-schemes of transformation period (15th
and 16th centuries AD), for instance in some miniatures,
there were carpets with green or yellow grounds, which were signs of
same color-schemes of Safavid era, especially the ones with yellow or
Nowadays, these color-schemes
are not admired because in contemporary history of Iran, dark colors
are used more. Regarding the paintings remained from Safavid era, we
could see, that carpets color-schemes have changed in Iran, specially
since Safavid era, and have become darker day after day, Safavid kings
exerted direct control over this industry.
By establishing carpet
weaving workshops in Royal Palaces neighboring, between Chehel-Sotun
and Shah Square, Shah Abbas could control carpet quality and finesse
of carpet weaver’s work directly. Notes of travelers like Tavernier,
Chardon and Robert Sherly prove this saying.
By gathering the best
painters, designers and weavers from all over the country in Royal
work shops, Shah Abbas provided a good situation for creation of art
unique masterpieces. The mentioned artists have changed carpet images
with inspirations from miniature and illumination. By fall of Safavid
dynasty, decline of carpet weaving began too; Afghan invasion vanished
everything and reminded people of painful remembrance of Mongol
Preservation of the unity of
country, gave Nader Shah the opportunity to consider art subjects. But
gradually, with protection of peace and security resulted by
Iranian’s courage and bravery, the art which was surviving secretly
gained more importance in
Zand period and the time rulers became interested in it.
In Qajar era, by flourishing
of European markets, that had begun from Safavid era, with many rises
and falls during centuries, art of carpet weaving followed its normal
trend again. Tabriz merchants establish many carpet weaving work
shops, not only in Tabriz but also in Kerman, Meshed, Kashan and other
cities and sent woven carpets to European markets, via Istanbul. By
flourishing of carpet market, foreigner merchants invested in Iran and
with establishing carpet workshop in different cities like Kashan,
Arak and Kerman leaded this technique too. Also changing designs and
exerting their own tastes, caused the loss of originality. American
designs, represented American’s taste, were copies of French designs
(Abuson, Savneri) and were used by the name of American fashion (Bab
America). This was the result of changes in original Iranian carpets
in this period. World Wars I and II caused an unexpected decline in
Iranian carpet market and resulted the shut-down of many beneficial
carpet workshops. Also using artificial dyes, which had come to Iran
as the result of European dye industry development and double-knotted
weaving, reduced the value of Iranian carpets very much.
Returning to the past
originality and artist’s creativity in designing during recent
decades could bring this ancient art back to its first position and
rose it to its highest level in a short time.