History of Persian & Oriental Rugs
Iran, formerly called Persia, is well known as the home of oriental carpets that are located at the crossroad of Eastern and Western civilization. Under the Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736), Iran attained its artistic height. Court weaving, together with the arts of calligraphy, miniature painting, and tile work, flourished to exceptional heights. This brilliant era witnessed the development of highly qualified carpet factories in the cities of Kerman, Isfahan, Kashan, Tabriz, and Herat. Iran is the genesis of most motifs, patterns and traditional colorations produced in rugs throughout the world today. Over the centuries, Persian carpets have become treasured heirlooms passed on from one generation to the next.
Persian carpet exports began in the 16th century. Starting in the 1850s, American, English and German firms established new factories in Mashad, Tabriz, Kerman, and Sultanabad (now Arak), thereby ensuring the art form's continued development. Under Shah Reza Pahlavi, royal factories were established to utilize the finest materials and methods of manufacture.
Persian carpets are traditionally known for their tremendous variety in design, color, size, and weave. Moreover, they are known for the uniqueness of each and every rug produced. Rugs are generally named after the village, town, city or district where they are woven or collected, or by the weaving tribe in the case of nomadic pieces. Each rug's particular pattern, palette, and weave are uniquely linked with the indigenous culture, and weaving techniques are specific to an identifiable geographic area or nomadic tribe.