The history of hand-made carpets continues over two and a half millennia already and it is closely connected with the history of ancient Persia. Like many other professions, the art of weaving carpets is a family tradition, as its secrets have been passed from generation to generation. First carpets have been weaved by nomads for building and shaping their homes. They served both to isolate it from the outer world and the unsuitable atmospheric conditions. Built this way, the nomad home could be disassembled when needed and built again on a different spot, which provided the typical mobility of the nomad tribes. Except for a building material, the colourful carpets served as decoration, conducted an aesthetic taste in the little children, who actively participated in the weaving process.
During their moving, nomad tribes spread their exquisite art from Persia to Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India. Later, hand-woven carpets pass the borders of the family, become a sales good, gradually conquer all of Asia, and from there – the whole world. Now, the hand-made wool, cotton and silk carpets of the highest quality are greatly valued.
Carpet Weaving History And Its Persian Origins
Iran carpets, called “Persian” as well (Iran is the country which nowadays resides in the lands of Ancient Persia) are the most highly valued because of their exceptional qualities. When it comes to carpets, our first association is with Persian ones. That is not by chance, because the history of hand-made carpets begins in this ancient country. Persian carpets are perhaps the most expensive amongst others. The reason for their high price roots in the high quality of their craftsmanship, the perfect combination of material, colours, original design and unusually rich design. Sometimes they are made of silk, but rarely the masters use a different material than wool.
Afghan carpets are also highly appreciated around the world. They are weaved from wool with exceptional quality and are dyed with natural colours, extracted from plants and minerals. Their usual colour is dark red, whereas the motives are geometrical.
The hand-woven Pakistan carpets contain mainly geometrical shapes, but sometimes plant motives are used as well. There are two main carpet production centres – Lahor and Karachi.
The Pakistan carpets today are produced from Australian wool with the highest quality and their craftsmanship is so exquisite that the seem almost like silk-made.
Indian carpets are known since 17th century. Their design and technique resembles the Persian ones. Most often the Indian carpets are hand-made with the base usually consists of cotton, while the knots are made of high-quality wool. Today the country is one of the biggest hand-woven high quality wool carpets with Persian motives.
The carpet weaving in China is a century-old tradition. Its history begins as early as the foundation of the country. The characteristic trait is the usage of a small carpet model. Their craftsmanship surprises with its shape diversity – oval, round, rectangular or diamond-shaped. In addition to wool and silk carpets, they also produce cotton ones.
The hand-made China carpets have specific patterns, similar to hand-drawn porcelain’s. There are often old religious or dragon figures, whereas the contemporary designs contain landscape and flower patterns.
Other Asian Carpets
Samarkand carpets are distinguished with depiction of Pomegranate tree. Their style is geometrical, whereas the colours resemble very much the Chinese carpets.
Balush rugs, originating from Balush (on the border between Iran and Pakistan) are small, geometrical, with rustic motives in predominantly red, brown and dark-blue colour.
Caucasian region is known for the geometrical forms of its carpets, which have very beautiful, bright and saturated colours. Today they are sold under the name of Kazak.
North-African rugs originate from Morocco, Tunis and Egypt. They can be distinguished by their strong green, blue and red shades, as well as geometrical patterns. The modern design differ with many Persian motives, as well as the silk material.
From the European carpets, the French are the ones which incorporate remarkable flower decoration in their 17th century carpet design. Some of the most impressive hand-woven samples of Savonnerie can be seen today in the Louvre Museum. English carpets, like French, are made with symmetric knots, inspired by Indo-Persian styles. Today the whole manual production is almost completely outsourced away from Europe.