The Enigmatic Persian Rug

Persian Carpets

Persian handmade rugs are undoubtedly some of the most prized home decor items across the world. These gorgeously woven carpets can be found virtually everywhere, from the offices of public figures and opulent mansions of wealthy businessmen, to the modest homes of average individuals. However, while Persian rugs have become somewhat ubiquitous, these handmade plush carpets have certainly come a long way from humble beginnings.

A brief history of handmade Persian rugs

The art of weaving carpets is believed to have started in Persia (modern-day Iran) nearly 2500 years ago. This practice developed out of necessity, as the nomadic tribespeople of Persia needed floor covers to protect them from cold and damp environments in which they lived. Over time, the skills and craft involved in the creation of carpets and rugs evolved due to influence from neighboring civilizations.

Perhaps, the most significant development in the art of weaving Persian rugs came with the conquest of Cyrus the Great. Many historians consider this great ruler to have introduced the art of weaving thread (to make textiles) in Persia around 539 BCE. However, there is a strong reason to believe that Persian nomads were still weaving carpets for their tent homes long before Cyrus the Great introduced the art.

As Persian nomads continued to migrate, they carried their carpet, making expertise to foreign lands. Notably, every village they settled had a distinct style of rug making, which gave birth to the diverse patterns and designs observed today.

How Persian rugs are made

The process of weaving a Persian rug is very intricate, and can take several days to complete. Before you start weaving, the loom must be set correctly. Thereafter, you are required to dye the wool. Typically, the dye is put in separate containers according to its color, then different amounts of wool are soaked in each container. It is not uncommon for rug makers to leave the wool submerged in dyes for several days, as this often produces vibrant and colorful rugs. Once the wool is dyed, it is hung out in the open to dry before the artisan can begin weaving the rug. It is then coiled to make it easy to manipulate, as required by the artisan. Next, the design for the rug is drawn out by artists.

After the preparation process has been duly completed, the dyed and coiled wool is loaded onto the loom, where weavers feed it onto the foundational material and tie knots, to secure it in place. The process of weaving typically involves several artisans working together. This ensures the final product is of high quality. Thereafter, the rug is washed, blocked, ironed, and trimmed to remove wrinkles and any loose material that may be hanging out. The final result is an impressive floor cloth fit for a king.

The bottom line

Persian rugs have certainly withstood the test of time, and have become a significant cultural symbol across various cultures. While making a Persian rug is a highly intricate and intensive process, the end product is undoubtedly breathtaking.

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