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A Persian Kashan Rug -The Carpet of Kings

Aug 18, 2007
Ever since the man appeared on earth, he has always been searching to better himself; better home, better food, better comfort and last but not least, better ways of expressing himself. Surprising as it may seem, the expert weavers of the city of Kashan discovered the panacea of how to improve their life. They have found the balance between functionality and aesthetic comfort by reinventing the beauty of carpets, and by having a Persian Kashan rug you can also bring this equilibrium directly in your home.

Kashan is an oasis city in the province of Ifsahan situated on a caravan route in the Dasht-e Kavir desert, which is right in the heart of Iran. It is heavily dependent on the mountains nearby, which provide water for the inhabitants; many houses in the city are built below the ground level to protect them from heat and scorpions.

The weavers of this city pride themselves on having more than 5 centuries of experience producing stunning rugs and carpets, with only one recorded interruption in the 18th century caused by the Afghan invasion. In the 16th and 17th centuries the city was famous for its royal workshops, it is said that kings from wide spread corners of the world went there to buy carpets in person. The oldest remaining Persian Kashan rug dates back to 1542, and is displayed in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

At the end of the 19th century the flourishing garment trade took centre stage, however, it wasn't long before the rug trade retook it's rightful place in history. At the beginning of the 20th century they used to import Manchester wool, but they shifted to Sabzavar which is, of course, geographically more accessible.

A Persian Kashan rug is easily recognizable because they have quite a limited range of patterns; most of them having a single diamond-shaped medallion in the middle, with a typical combination of curves and right angles and completed with a myriad of floral motifs (Shah Abbasi), leaf motifs and arabesques. Wild hunting scenes, palmettos and vases can also be found.

A Persian Kashan rug will usually have a rather limited palette, with red, ivory, navy blue and some greens being the predominant colors. Ocre, olive green, white and brown can be found occasionally. Generally, the colors will be arranged in such a way as to convey a very pleasing contrast, not bold, but more conservative and sober in appearance suited for stylish classical interiors.

Most of the carpets have a very fine base with wefts and warps made of cotton and a short, tight and thin wool pile. However, the most beautiful pieces, the ones of exceptional quality, are made entirely of silk. These, and those with a large number of KPSI (over 700), are quite rare and cost proportionally.

Persian Kashan rugs are among the finest and most exquisite carpets in the world, so, just like in the case of other Persian rugs, be careful about fakes as there are many countries which produce chemically dyed, low-KPSI carpets who pretend to be Kashan producers but aren't. It would be a pity not to enjoy the original splendor of a real Persian Kashan rug!
About the Author
Arnold Hexden is known for his interesting articles on many subjects.You can read more about antique and Persian rugs on his website: The Antique Rugs Review and Directory which is at http://www.dreamantiquerugs.com.
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