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.
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”).
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”.
The Arsacides (250 B.C – 226 A.D.) The Sassanides (224 A.D. – 652
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).
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.
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.