Vintage Persian Rugs are highly coveted as fine works of art. Their primitive colors and at times modern graphic patterns inspire a powerful international following. These cultural treasures transport the viewer to a time and place that is exotic, far away and long gone.
While the designs and motifs found on these masterpieces may seem random, they are often laden with symbolism and meaning. These symbolic representations are passed down from generation to generation, preserving the tribal culture and history of the rugs. Many of the shapes and motifs on antique Persian rugs also carry religious significance that is woven into the fabric of their design.
Historically, tribal rugs were woven as a form of family business. The design styles were passed down through a long lineage of craftsmen within a tribe and the weaving was done by hand, one knot at a time. This process could take months, if not years to complete. The more intricate the rug, the longer it took to complete.
The looms used to create these works of art were typically loomed using either the Turkish or Persian knot. The latter is the most prevalent and is utilized to this day by carpet makers from Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The Turkish knot was also utilized in the heyday of the Seljuk period of domination (1038 – 1194 AD). During this period, women from the tribes of Azerbaijan and Hamadan were skillful at creating carpets using the Turkish knot. It is for this reason that many fine antique rugs are still produced using the Turkish knot today.
Persian rugs were used as floor coverings and decorations by nomads, clerics and kings alike. These rugs are generally hand woven, have short to medium pile (which means that the wool tufts up and is not woven flat) and have bold geometric and floral patterns in deep reds and other jewel tones.
While many people are familiar with the iconic tiger and dragon motifs of these pieces, there are other symbols and designs that are commonly incorporated into their creation. These include stars, trees, animals and other natural motifs.
The color dyes used to create these rugs were all natural. The recipes were guarded as precious tribal secrets, ensuring that each rug had a richness of color and animation. This is an important distinction when evaluating a rug as it becomes harder and harder to find authentic Persian rugs with all natural dyes in good condition.
It is essential that a collector takes the proper care and maintenance of their antique rug so that they do not lose their value. The most common way that these valuable pieces are devalued is through improper cleaning, which leads to a loss of luster and exposure of the knot heads. To prevent this, it is recommended that you have your rug professionally washed every 4 to 5 years. This will ensure that it retains its value and beauty. For more information on the care of Persian rugs, please visit our blog article.