A General View of the History of Persian Carpet

debate on Persian carpets has always intrigued orientalists. Therefore, in this section we have tried to present comments, documents and pictorial documentations on the history of Persian carpet – weaving.
1-      Admiralty Metal Era : (1500 – 2500 B.C.)  
The most enlightening picture regarding carpet-weaving in admiralty metal era has been provided by Dr. Ali Hossouri, a carpet researcher. The above said researcher considered two instruments belonging to admiralty metal era obtained from a region in Camphyrooz of Fars as two carpet-weaving tools (knife and weaver’s comb “Daftin”).
2-      The Achaemenid era : (321 – 559 B.C.)  
In 1949 Sirguey Rodenko, the Russian archeologist, while excavating the tombs of Scythians of Pazirik region situated in Altaie mountains in Siberia, found a tapestry belonging to 2500 – 3000 years ago which completely changed the history of carpet-weaving. This tapestry is a knitted piled carpet measuring 1.98 m x 1.89 m fully woven of wool with rows of about 3600 knots per cubic decimeter that compared with modern carpets is categorized as a good and rather precious carpet. Rodenko, after observing this fabulous carpet, due to similarity of many of its pictures to masterpieces of the Achaemenid art immediately said : “It remind me of Persepolis”.
3-      The Arsacides (250 B.C – 226 A.D.) The Sassanides (224 A.D. – 652 A.D.)  

The only documents of carpet-weaving which with uncertainty could be attributed to the Arsacides era are those found in 1967 A.D. in Qumes (close to present Damqan) which include a piece of felt belonging to the year 1 B.C., pieces of felt belonging to 6th century A.D., the famous pileless carpet of Qumes city dating back to 8th century A.D., and a piled piece which is kept nowadays in the Metropolitain museum.

According to historical writings on Sassanide era, there has been 30 pieces of carpet in Takht-e-Tavoos as well as the carpet famed as Bahar Khosrow (the King’s Spring).

4-      The First Hegira Centuries and After The Influence of Islam
Based on historical sources, during this period carpet weaving has been common in most parts of Iran. One of the most original of such sources is a book entitled Hodoudol Alam “Boundaries of the World” dating back to the year 374 Hegira in which there are hints to such textiles as carpet, short-napped coarse carpet, and pileless carpet etc. woven in such cities as Jahrom, Fars, Amol, Azerbaijan, and Sistan.
5-      The Safavid Era (908 – 1145 L.H)  

As witnessed by history, the peak of Persian carpet-weaving art has been during this period.

During this period and under the rule of Shah Ismail and Shah Tahmaseb, such cities as Tabriz, Kashan, Hamedan and Heart had constituted the main centers of carpet-weaving and amongst the productions of this period one can point to the famous carpet of Ardebil (Victoria and Alber museum), and the hunting-ground carpet (kept in Millan museum). Following this period and during the region of Shah Abbas, concentered carpet-weaving workshops were established in Isfahan and Kashan and carpet-weaving was promoted to the level of a national art. Amongst the carpets of this period woven in Kashan by order of the court of Poland, one can point to the reputed Polynesian carpets.

Following the Safavid period, assumably the only worth-mentioning point in the carpet-weaving history of Iran, has been the latest period  of Qajars when such countries as U.S.A., England, and Switzerland had invested under the title of companies such as Zigler and O.C.M in the field of carpet weaving in such cities like Kerman and Arak which led to temporary prosperity of carpet in those regions.