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Persian Carpets Are The Most Artistic Capets In The World

Aug 4, 2008
Persian carpets are among some of the most beautiful, and most sought after, textiles in the world. More than just floor and walkway coverings, the rugs are considered true works of art, and their history is strongly tied to that of the people who make them. The rugs hang, protected, on the walls of prestigious art galleries and in the homes of world famous art collectors. Unfortunately, this art form is slowly dying, in part because of a lack of understanding about the history and artistry involved in their creation.

Although nobody knows for certain the origins of carpet weaving, carpets from Persia can be traced as far back as the 5th century BC, with mentions of their beauty appearing in Chinese texts by the 6th century AD. With each conquering army that marched into Persia, the rugs were carried off to new lands and new people.

Carpet weavers were commissioned to make extravagant rugs that would cover entire floors in ruler's palaces, and rulers in those ancient times were buried in crypts lined with these custom carpets. Although the carpets are famous for their rich colors, quality of design and variety of patterns, many carpet weavers still use traditional patterns along with their original designs.

There are many weavers who use the same method as their ancestors to create Persian carpets, although this is not true of all weavers. Those who follow tradition use what is known as the Persian knot, the one feature that truly distinguishes the Persian from the Turkish.

A Turkish knot is a double knot, consisting of two loops, on the vertical threads, while the Persian knot is a single knot, consisting of one loop. Although the custom carpets with double-knots generally have a lower knot count and a more boxy design, the only way to truly tell which knot was used is to spread the pile of the rug and look at the base of the knot.

The most widely practiced craft in Iran is weaving, and there are currently over 1 million weavers of Persian carpets. Many weavers, however, no longer find it profitable as they are losing sales to the mass-produced, machine-spun copies from other countries.

As even their original designs become part of the mass production process, weavers have started producing fewer carpets each year. As a result, the centuries-old art form is being lost. Saving it will require a level of appreciation that comes only from knowing and understanding more about the craft itself.
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