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A HISTORY OF PERSIAN CARPET

To look at a Persian carpet is to gaze into a world of artistic magnificence nurtured for more than 2,500 years. The Iranians were among the first carpet weavers of the ancient civilisations and, through centuries of creativity and ingenuity building upon the talents of the past, achieved a unique degree of excellence.
The carpet is the finest and most exquisite form of expression an Iranian can find ami the best specimens available today rank amongst the highest level of art ever attained by mankind.
Even today, with Iranians increasingly being swallowed up in the whirlpool of a fast expanding industrial, urban society, the Persian association with the carpet is as strong as ever. An Iranian's home is bare and soulless without it, a reflection on the deep rooted bond between the people and their national art.
To trace the history of the Persian carpet is to follow a path of cultural growth of one of the greatest civilisations the world has ever known. From being simply articles of need, as pure and simple floor and entrance covcr ings to protect the nomadic tribesmen from the cold and damp, the increasing beauty of the carpets found them new owners - kings and noblemen, those who looked for signs of wealth or adornment for fine buildings.
Many people in Iran have invested their whole wealth in Persian carpets - often referred to as an Iranian's stocks and shares - and there are underground storage areas in Tehran's bazaar that arc full of fine specimens, kept as investments by shrewd businessmen. And for many centuries, of course, the Persian carpet has received international acknowledgment for its artistic splendour. In palaces, famous buildings, rich homes and museums throughout the world a Persian carpet is amongst the most treasured possessions. Thus, today Iran produces more carpets than all the other carpet making centres of the world put together.
The clement of luxury with which the Persian carpet is associated today provides a marked contrast with its humble beginnings among the nomadic tribes that at one time wandered the great expanse of Persia in search of their livelihood. Then, it was an article of necessity to protect the tribes from the bitterly cold winters of the country. But out of necessity was born art. Through their bright colours and magical designs, the floor and entrance coverings that protected the tribesmen from the ravages of the weather also brought gay relief to their dour and hardy lives. In those early days the size of the carpet was often small, dependant upon the size of the tent or room 111 which the people lived.
Besides being an article of furniture, the carpet was also a form of writing for the illiterate tribesmen, setting down their fortunes and setbacks, their aspirations and joys It also came to be used as a prayer mat by thousands of Muslim believers.
Thus began a process of fatheres handing down their skills to their sons, who built on those skills and in turn handed down the closely guarded family secrets to their offsprings.
To make a carpet in those days required tremendous perseverance. Even when carpet making developed to the stage of workshops, with several employees working on the same carpet, it was a question of months and often years of painstaking work. The leader would dictate throuth a series of chants to the other workers the colour of the individual strands of wool to be knotted. When the time came for the tribe to move on, the loom had to be dismantled and the unfinished carpet folded as best they could. The following season it had to be put again at some new oasis.
Althouth cotton came to be used for the warp and the weft of the carpet, the herds of sheep that surrounded the tribes in their wanderings provided the basic material, wool. The cold mountain climate provided an added advantage in that the wool was finer and had longer fibres than wool from sheep in warmer climes.
A key feature in making the carpets was the bright colours used to form the instricate designs. The manufacture of dyes involved well kept secrets handed down throuth the generations. Insects, plants, roots, barks and other substances found outside the tents and in their wanderings were all used by the ingenious tribesmen.
Before the dyeing process could begin, however, the wool had to be washed and dried in the sun to bleach it. The clean wool was then spun by hand. Since the tribes were constantly on the move and had only small vessels in which to hold the dyes, the dyers were unable to achieve a uniformity in shades, with yarn displaying varying tones of the same colour. The wool was loosely dipped into dyeing vats and left for a time that could be judgcd only by the expert craftsmen. Then the wool was left to hang without heing sqcczcd , which would have left an uneven colouring. Later the wool was dried in the sun.
Because the wool and colton and silk used in marking the carpets arc perishable, very few of the earliest carpets arc now in cxistancc. The earliest knowen Persian carpet was dicovcrcd by Russian Professor Rudenko in )')49 during excavations of burial mounds in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The carpet had been preserved purely by chance. Soon after it had been placed in the burial mound, grave robbers raided the mound. They ignored the carpet but, throuth the opening they left, water poured into the mound and froze, thus protecting the carpet from decay. Called the Pazyryk rug, the carpet has a woolen pile knotted with Chiordes knot. Its central field is a deep red colour and it has two wide borders, one depicting deer and the other Persian horseman. It dates from the fifth century B.C. and is now kept in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad.
Another rug found in the same area, this time with a Senneh knot, dates to the first century B.C.
But, long before that, historical records show that the court of Cyrus the Great, who founded the Persian monarchy over 2,500 years ago, was bedecked by magnificent carpets. Classieal tales recount how Alexander the Great found carpets of a very fine fabric in Cyrus tamp.
The next great period in the history of Persian carpets came during the sassanian dynasty, from the third to the seventh century A.D. By the 6th century Persian carpets had won international prestige and were being exported to distant lands. And in this time was created one great carpet which was a spectacle of overwhelming splendour. The spring or winter carpet of Khosrow was made for the huge audience hall of the palace at Ctesiphon and depicted a formal garden. It held a political significance as an indication of the power and the resources of the king and its beauty signified the divine role of the king. When the Arabs defeated the Persians and took Ctcsiphon, they caned off the carpet as part of thicr fabulous booty and it was eventually cut up into small fragments and divided among the victorious soldiers.
Yet its magnificance lived on, inspiring subsequent history, poetry and art and helping to sustain Persian morale for centuries. It also provided a source of inspiration for subsequent carpets but, althouth many have tried, not even the most skilled have been able to equal its spellbinding design.
After the fall of the Sassanian dynasty, from the seventh to the twelfth centuries, Persian carpet weaving become a rather spasmodic industry in many parts, althouth there is evidence of a large industry surviving on the South Caspian coast in Gilan and Mazandaran in the eighth and ninth centuries with a sizeable export of prayer rugs. Organized production was also reported in the northwest towns of Bargari, Mukhan, Arjig, Nachshirvan and Khoy and in the south, in Khuzcstan and Fars.
Certainly when the Mongols invaded the country in the 13th century they found many Persian homes and tents boasting local carpets. But for the next two centuries, the artistic life of the country, including carpet weaving, declined under the influence of the devastation wreaked by the Mongols. But, among his few graces, the conqueror Tamerlane spared artisans from his bloody havoc and had them sent to his palaces in Turkistan. Under his successor art began to flourish once more. His son Shah Rokh put a great emphasis on Persian carpets and outstanding specimens began to appear once more from court subsidized looms. The lavish royal support guaranteed the highest skills and the finest materials money could buy. Once more the art was for a great climax.
The climax came with the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century. When Shah Ismail occupied the throne in 1499 he began laying the foundation for what was to become a national industry that was the envy of surrounding countries. The most famous of the kings of this era, Shah Abbas, more than anyone transformed the industry, bringing it from the tents of the wandering nomads into the towns and cities. In Isfahan, which he made his capital, he established a royal carpet factory and hired artisans to prepare designs to be made by master craftsmen. He charged officers of the crown to ensure that the integrity of the industry was maintained and in this period the art of carpet weaving once again achieved monumental proportions. The best knowcn carpets of the period, dated 1539, come from the mosque of Ardebil and, in the opinion many experts, represent the summit of achievement in carpet design. A complex star medallion dominates a rich system of stems and blossoms on a vivid indigo field. The larger of the two is now kept in London's Victoria and Albert Museum while the other can be seen at the Los Angeles Country Museum. Excellent silk animal rugs were woven in Kashan while, to the north of Isfahan, weavers turned out the distinctive vase carpets. Rugs of great beauty were also woven in Kerman, Yazd, Fars and khuzcstan. Shah Abbas also developed the use of gold and silver thread carpet, culminating in the great coronatio carpet now held in the Rosenburg Castle, Copenhagen, which has a perfect velvet-like pile and gleaming gold background.
These carpets, of course, were made for the court and the great nobles, and were protected as well as any golden treasure. They had special custodians and, even when they were brought out for state and other special occasions, were usually covered with another light fabric to protect them from wear.
Growing demand from the great royal courts of Europe for these gold and silver threaded carpets led to a great export industry. A large number went to Poland aftre King Sigmund specially sent merchants to Persia to acquire them. King Louis XIV of France even sent his own craftsmen to Persia to learn the trade.
As the 17th century wore on there was an increasing demand for luxury and refinement. A set of silk carpets woven to surround the sacrophagus of Shah Abbas II achieved such a rare quality that many mistook them for velvet. But they were the last really high achievement in carpet making from that era in Persian history. Somehow, inspiration steadily began to slacken and, as the court became increasingly impoverished, the quality of the craftsmanship began to fall away.
When Shah Abbas' capital city of Isfahan was sacked in 1722 a magnificent period in the history not only of carpet weaving but of art itself came dramatical1y to an end. The great carpet weaving fell back into the hands of the wandering nomads who had maintained their centuries-old traditions and skills, apart from a few centres, principally Josheghan, Kerman, Mashad and Azarbaijan. Even the low school rugs these centres produced were in danger of being ruined as an art by the growing demand from the West in the mid 19th century for quantity at the expense of quality. Cheap dyes, low quality wool, chemical washing and even meaningless designs supplied by the European importers brought the industry almost to its knees.
After sporadic and largely an successful efforts to stop the rot, the gavernement took drastic action and confiscated the carpets in which cheap days and low quality wool had been used. The dye Masters soon came to their senses, with it began a new era of revival for the carpet crafts. The Iran Carpet Company and a school of design were stablished in Tehran to restore the integrity of Art and to study and buid the great works of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Background Preamble:

The ancient world had been divided into three distinct civiliza¬tions i.e. Maghribians including Sami, Greek and Roman; and Mashrighians composing of Chinese and Indian, and Markazians as Iranians. The Iranians who were partly sedentary and nomadic tribes had occupied a vast territory from the Euphrates to central and west¬Asia and even Chinese borders, and from southern Russia down to Send delta in India. The dominion situated between two grand west and east civilizations acting as a bridge to transfer or purify the cultures and to develop the global civilization. A development that was being manifested upon Iranian arts and taste under various micro-cultures, and doubtlessly, if Iranian civilization had not enjoyed a sensory ritual root or well-deliberate tribal features, there was no alternative but to collapse under exotic cultural invasions from east and west. This aspect can be well¬studied on the remaining cultures since ancient Iran. Weaving culture remarks as a long-lasting culture originated in ancient Iran, that was highlighted as covering rite. Within this context, one can point to "felt" as the first protecting cover against cold and moisture, and pile-weaving arts for carpeting purpose. That's one which is nowadays reputed as hand-woven carpet history-arts.

Evolution history of weaving arts

Almost 8000 years ago, in Neolithic era, people gathered together in small groups and created the first villages over extensive region of west Asia. They learnt to sow the seeds and develop self-growing plants for higher efficiency in the plains which gradually led to appearance of Agriculture.
Agriculture caused regional concentration of population ar waiting for crop yield. They further understood to attempt f establishing and storing of the production. This phenomenon led public calm that brought about the incentive to collect foodstu and domesticate livestocks for gaining needed milk, meat and ski Residing in a place having climatic fluctuation made the ms protect himself of cold and humidity. He perceived that the animal hair and wool serve as the be thermal impediments, hence the primitive nomadic shepherds wei possibly the ones who boild wool for such purpose. [4]
He, gradually thought to make protective shelters as his mo critical challenge. His previous experiences were utilized to appl different cellulosic fibers for making the first mats which remarke as the initial samples of warp and weft. Later, it took about 2000 years for the man to grasp the relate knowledge in spinning and weaving warp-weft deduced texture Based on the last archeological surveys commenced by prof. Charita ken in a cave adjacent to Behshar city, different tools which wet discovered, approved the primary spinning apparatus for woo threads. [5]
Roman Girshman could also confirm the same claim by hi various findings on clothing culture through archeological disco. eries in Silk hills, supported by prof. Banophilips' investigations i Hesar-e-Damghan hills.[6]
Use of cotton in woven articles documentarily started in lndi since last 5000 years, but silk contains an interesting narrtive.[i Round about 3000 years ago, Chinese were the sole practitioner of sericulture tasks and silk textures of the world. They retained thi industry as a secret for 5000 years in their Royal Dynasties, until was disclosed after a love adventure. In 2nd century after Christ, a Chinese princess fell in an lrania prince love, and decided to run away and marry her beloved, despit the Royal dynasty's opposition.
She hid some silkworm eggs within her hairs when arrived i Iran, and hereby the relevant techniques were disseminated acros the world.[7]

Evolution history of piled-carpet weaving arts:

Perhaps, 3000 years ago, tent-dweling shepherds discovered to lay down a thread warp on a frame and fill it with knots to create a soft and plane surface beneath themselves. This initiative was so flexible and resistive against wind and moisture, while it was portable also along their seasonal movement to the more vegetative rangelands. [4] But it is still believed that carpet gen- esis dates back to era even later than 3000 years ago, because the first hand-woven carpets were discovered by prof. Rodenko in Pazyryk Hill located at 80 km. away from Mongolia border within Althai mountains. The carpets bore a density of 42 Turki knots (3600 knots per square decimeter) indicating that such weaving skill entails at least 1000 years of experience. Respect- ing an estimated age of 2500 years for the Hill, hence the car- pets have to enjoy older genesis.[8] There were other felt or woven articles gained out of ice-hidden graves of tent-living Sakaies in 1949. It seems that the carpet might have been woven during Achaemenian dynasty.
Its outstanding patterns greatly resemble the Persepolis char- acteristics, with central background bearing tetramerous stars exactly identical to those reflected on the objects found in Lorestan contemporaneous to above period, though Mr. Rodenko himself relates the carpet to Madians or Parthians[9]. Before Rodenko discoveries, all European researchers stayed with this opinion that ancient Egyptian and Ashurids civil i- zations have served as the cradle of global hand-weaving car- pet, and this idea was backed by reliable evidences. For instance, they refer to Torah when the Israelites discuss on decorating the tents, they talk about carpet as well. [9]
Moreover, following a series of research conducted at the out- set of 20th century, it was approved the Egyptians were the first nation who could produce the ancient textures. This saying is documented by later discoveries made in ruins of Memfiss city and tombs of "Tahutes IV"and the precious colourful textures which all, convinced the archeologists to believe Egyptians as the first carpet wears in the history. [8]
On the other hand, lots of other facts reveal that rugs were of key appliances in . the Ashurids palaces. [4 J Also there is a monumental column belong to the Ashurids Kings showing an engraved picture of two rugs with hanging roots.[9]
Anyhow, these older evidences with less nobility, are gener¬ally based on sayings and mainly focusing on cases other than carpet as texture, stone or earthenwares. But, there is a unani¬mous expression among majority of researchers and archeolo¬gists disclosing the undeniable role of Iranian in initiation and development of ancient carpet.

The word of "Carpet" (Ghali):

"Carpet" is the most famous Persian word for a knotted spreading article bearing piles, and "Carpet" is attributed to every spreading material as kilirn, mat, rug and even stone-made pavements.
In Persian encyclopedia the Persian equivalent word is of two spelling types i.e.~lj or ~~.
Some researchers have tried to present origins for this word as "Ghalighala", a city in Caucasus without further details. On the other hand, there are lots of villages in Iran named as "carpet weaver" (Ghalibaf) and according to several Pahlavi texts or inscriptions, words like daren (Charbin) and Saren (Abrishamin) were also ap¬plied that all had a spreading conception. In other sources, words as "Shalin" or "Vasnen" are also mentioned, but can be translated into "Kalen" or "Ghalen" which is conventional in Persian language.
Moreover, peoples in Afghanistan, Khorasan, Fars and Kohkiloye-Buyer Ahmad still spell it as "Ghalin". Some scholars searched its root deep into Turkish nomads, but even upon this suggestion, we must know that they used to spell it as Pahlavi's pronunciation. Uzbeks use both "Ghali" and "Ghalin", while Turkmans prefer "Ghalin" and "Heli". In Azerbaijan, "Khali" or "Khalecha" is more popular. Turkish people of Anatoli can only pronunce "hali" or "hali", whereas "Kalin" is widely used by Kashmiri people.
However, it is clear that "Kalin" stands as original root for the words "Ghali" or "Ghalin", The word "Kalin" is written "Karayan'' as its ancient form which is used in Vandidad (paragraph 2, articles 2 and 3) and both were derived from "Kar" representing for cultivaion. In another term. both the man and Iranian ancient civilization. attributed "knotting to warp and weft" as a synonym to sowing seeds or seedlings into soil, and this is the reason behind adoption of "Kalin", "Ghalin", and "Ghali" for carpet.

Carpet weaving in Achaemenian period:

In this glorious period, brimful taste and arts of Iranian artisans in designing and weaving elegant and delicate carpet could be exten¬sively reputed even further to Egypt from where, Iranian carpets used to be exported to Greece.
The Greek historians have reported that Ptolemy held a big ceremony in Alexandria where its palaces had been decorated with Iranian well-designed carpets. They also disclosed that when Alexander went to Pasargad, he found the golden coffin of Cyrus the Great, ornamented by a delicate precious rug. Xenephon has written that a Royal carpet weaving workshop in Sard city used to produce very authentic and unique carpets for Cyrus court.
Cont Kurth, an ancient historian reports on the carpets trapped in the Persepolis fire: "Iranian had gathered all country's wealth in Persepolis, including numerous precious rugs which exclusively used for glorifying the Royal dynasty". He denoted in his report.
In another document, when Blutarokh (a Greek commander) sought refuge in Iran's court, he was asked to talk about Greece and

its prevailing characteristics. He requested some deadline for 1 expression and finally commented "Elaboration on this ma resembles an Iranian beautiful carpet when spread down, its elegance would become apparent to all and, after wrapping up, such portraitures seem disappear."
Again, Blutarokh points to Iranian invaluable rugs when t Iranian and Greek commanders met each other and writes: "When Agisilas and his delegation arrived at appointment, yet Iranian mission joined, hence the Greek commander decided to I on meadow for a while, but when Farnabaz, the Iranian comman arrived, his soldiers spread soft skins with long woolly fibers quality rugs of diversified colours. Later he politely refu: sitting as the Greek commander was laying down on the land.[IC Despite all these tales and evidences, no trace of the Achaemen carpets discovered so far, as they either been plundered by Greek robbers or gradually worn out due to further use. Of cour researchers could later find some burnt pieces of carpets that tl had fired for different reasons.[6]

Pazyryk textiles:

In 1949 and quite accidentally, some hand-woven articles along w other tools were discovered in Pazyryk Hill, Althai Mountain, former Russian explorers and, now preserved as the Achaemeni weaving indicators in Armitage Museum of Saint Petersburge. j these objects were recovered in five big tombs whose biggest was rrr'. Within these tombs, four mummied corpses together with ott 123 human skeletons, 34 horse skeletons, garments, religio articles, saddle and accessories, few pieces of rugs, felts, gabbe ai textures were collectively buried. The contexts of the tombs h been frozen safe and intact for 2400 years due to early wat infiltration.
The tombs made by thick-sized timbers creating a coffin wi 4x2.5x2 meters dimensions which originally transferred to He mitage museum.[6]
There were three pieces of hand-weavings of which, a carp containing 24 squares (4x6) each bearing pretty flowers. Arour the background, a margin of smaller squares are seen adjacent to row of deers followed by frequent Iranian cavalry and infantr This arrangement ends to edge by a narrower border of smalh squares. This web is nowadays reputed as Pazyryk textile and rather precious and delicated than others two.
The second was a felt web composed of four squares each cot taining two veiled queens facing each other with a brazier in betwee and two seraglio maids holding towels and standing at their bacl The outstanding remark focuses on the queens' crowns which n semble the serrated crowns of the Blue Portrait (Peikare Lajvard found in Persepolis and possibly represent for Xerxes. The we shows the ladies in yellow and brown dressing with blue hairs • Pazyryk carpet and, blue or brown braziers.
The third textile contains two running lions as those available on margins of Persepolis carvings and the engraved lions on dresses of the Achaemenian Kings, ornamented by triangular margins around them. [6]
SA Rudenko, the famous Russian archeologist and discoverer of the Pazyryk textile discloses more about them in his second book titled "Civilization of Althai Mountain during the Sakaides" and elaborates that the reputed Pazyryk textile enjoys five distinct colours i.e. deep red, blue, green, pale yellow and orange. There are 3600 symmetric knots per square decimeter amounting to 1250000 throughout. A skilful weaver could make 2000-3000 knots per day and hence its completion should have been taken for 1.5 years. Once after finishing the task, the carpet warps were trimmed leaving 1-1.5 centimeter roots.

Carpet weaving in the Arsacides period:

There is no adequate intelligence of weaving arts in Ashkanian dynasty, but however, some exportable silk rugs were also reported among the parcels to then Roman territory. Iranian silk rugs were highly requested by the rich and distinguished Roman people. Worth mentioning to say that Iranians got acquainted with silk via Chinese people.
Pelin, a Roman historian writes: " In the Arsacides era, Iranian colourful rugs used to be marketed very costly for decorating the Roman palaces."
It is so deduced from Arsacides historians that the country was serving as an intermediato of commercial business between East and West.
No doubt, during the regime, the Chinese and mid-Asian tribes were fully aware of silk application and texture weaving. This industry soon expanded in Iran to respond the growing demands on such commodities in west Asia and Roman dominion.
Iranians gradually incorporated the silk products into the weaving practice and by using their innovation tried to purchase all silk bulk of China and mid-Asian regions for further processing and utilization in carpet-weaving and textural businesses and finally exporting to the West. This interaction hit a maximum level by fourth century A.D. in Sasanid time, so that Iranians were buy¬ing Chinese handicrafts for exporting to the requesting western coun¬tries. This phenomenon gradually led to emerge of a trading route in Arsacides era extending from China passing through Iran and terminated in western dominions and called as 'The Silk Road".[6]
There are other pieces of Iranian rugs existing in Lu-Lan temple that might have been presented to Chinese governors. [ 12]

Carpet-weaving in the Sassanides period:

Roman and Islamic historians have several reports on preCIOUS carpet of Sassanian palaces, courts and premises.
Ibn-Khaldon mentions that the weavers were ordered to place the Royal emblem on the Sassanian carpets for strictly using them within Royal complex.[6]
Moreover, the Chinese Suiy calendar has highlighted the carpets in Sassanides as outstanding commercial production of Iranians mainly exported to West during 590-617 A.D. [91 There are also a few engraved samples of the then carpets in monu-mental stone of "Taagh-e-Bostan" related to the Sassanides era. The portrait illustrates the harper women sitting on a carpet with its long knotted fringes as of today's ones.j IO] Notwithstanding the foregoing words on the Sassanides carpets, there is much more talk about King Khosrow or the big carpet of Baharestan Palace which produced of silk, braid and golden or silver strings, showing a garden with pretty spring, fruits and birds. In winter, when going into the gardens became impossible, parties used to be arranged on this carpet, hence Arabs called it "Basatosheta" while the Iranian named it "Bahar-Khosrow." In the carpet background, soil colour was ornamented by golden strings and the pond water highlighted by specific patterns and lines. The midde portion filled by crystallized pieces of Jewels to represent the water luster. The sands of the water streams were designed by pearls, the tree's stem by gold and silver, leaves and flowers by silk, and the fruits were well-illustrated by nice stones.[6j Tabari has described the Baharestan carpet: "The outlook of the carpet was made of golden texture, shining green tree by emerald, water colour by precious gems, sand particles by pearls, and the tree branches were represented by gold and silver strings". In 637 A.D, when Ctesiphon (Madaen) and the White Palace were occupied and ruinated by Arabs, the big Baharestan Carpet of 60 m? area that inherited to Yazdgerd III was cut to pieces.

Carpet-weaving in Three Caliphs period:

After overthrow of the Sassanides in the 2nd caliph era, carpet-weav¬ing encountered to some stagnation mainly due to following reasons:
Firstly, Arabs had a primitive lifestyle with minor change even after appearance of Islam. They showed greater tendency to pots and pottery for drinking, eating or keeping their foodstuff rather than any spreading articles as they mostly used to reside in deserts.
On the other hand, the prophet of Islam (pbuh) always encour¬aged simplism which strictly obeyed by the second Caliph, and was an essential hindering element to weaving activities.
Moreover, drawing the pictures of human or animal is abominated in Islam and considered as indicator of polytheism and idolatry so that lots of weavers had to give up their activities.
- Secondly, economic turmoil inherited from late Sassanides era did also direct the artisans to other occupations. However, carpet-weaving resumed its place since late government of the third Caliph and the Ommiads period, who extended aristocratic cul¬ture in the society.

Carpet weaving in the Ommiads period:

Carpet-weaving regained its brisk when the Ommiads formed their government. In fact, the same Sassanian weaving techniques gradu¬ally emerged and revived without any modification, as the Arabs were only aware of kilim-weaving without a fundamental background in carpet-weaving for any modification.
On the other hand, Arabs heartily believed cultural promotion and innovation of Iranians and had no intention of destruction and substitution of their civilization. Therefore, they more or less preserved this culture and renovated it under the disguise of an Arabic style for themselves.
Arab historians and geographers of that period have spoken a lot on silky rugs with elegant and unprecedented designs. For instance, Hosham-ibn Abdolmalek (\20 A.H.) ordered for a big silk carpet of 90x32 meters to be woven and spread in his court. Moreover, Howan Tsung, a Chines tourist who arrived in Iran during the Ommiads time, has described the carpet weaving activity as a unique and authentic industry of the country.[6]

Carpet weaving in the Abbassides period:

The Abbassian aristocrats had nothing left for decorating their fabulous palaces including the Persian hand-woven carpet as a key component of their purpose.
There are many evidences disclosing continuous trend of gifts and presents including precious rugs, offered by the local governors to the Tigris Caliphs. For example, a report on the tribal tributes and contributes to the Abbassides dynasty reveals dispatching of 600 Mazandarani carpets. Also, there is another document indicating repeated offers of beauliful rugs by Ali-ibn-Issa-ibn-Mahan from Khorasan state to Aaron- Arrasheed in Baghdad.
Ibn-Khaldon remarks that Azerbaijan was the carpet-prone re¬gion in seventh century A.D, and the people were forced to remit annual tribute of 600 rugs to the Abbassides' capital. He also emphasizes on the prayer-designed rugs which were conventional in Gilan area. [ 6]
The author of "Hodud-e-Alam" (372 A.H) also names some Persian cities in which, carpet - weaving was highly brisking. He then Writes:
"Bokhara ., . well-reputed for its wooly rugs, carpets, and prayer- rugs" or "Fars .. , for its precious carpets, rugs, mats or kilims ... " and "cities like Khoy , Arjih, Akhlat, Nakhjavan and Bedlis are carpet-rising localities."

Carpet weaving in contemporaneous dynasties 1 :

Among the contemporaneous governments who ruled from late third century till Gengiz invasion, only a few dynasties bestowed specific attention to arts, culture and literature topped by the Samanides, AI-e-Buides and Seljukian rulers. The Sejukians who were generations of Seljuki Turks enterd into Iran and occupied Azerbaijan and main areas of central and western regions. The invasion resulted in transfer and mixture of their culture and language with Iranian culture and arts which further had impacts on Persian carpet designs, though there is no such sample of that era.[9]
S. Edwards, a famous Persian-carpet researcher believes that Seljuki Kings could create and promote painting and calligraphy but never perceived a carpet nor contributed in its brisk and magnificence. [ 13]
Furthermore, Ali Hasouri, the Iranian researcher opposed Edwards or others by raising no belief on existence of any remark¬able pattern or design during Seljukians rather than ordinary designs over Azerbaijan, Caucasus and minor Asia. [14] There are possible resemblance of the Seljukian carpets with the available Persian carpets of Alaadin Mosque in Qunia, as the then capital of Seljukides.
It is also referred to Moghaddasi Tazinegad in 5th century A.H. who much appreciated the Qaenat carpets, or Gardizy who articu¬lated the gifts including Armenian and Oveisi high-priced earpets offered by King Mahmoud to king Yousof Qurkan.[IO] The "History of Beihaghi" describes a ceremony organized by King Mahmoud Ghaznavi in early 5th century A.H. The platform had been weel-ornamented by Roman rugs and Carpets, which ap¬proves the Ghaznavides interest in Persian rugs and carpets. [10] There are lots of expressions supporting constructive shares of AI-e- Buides in advancing the carpet-weaving industry. [6] Bafroukhi in his translation on Esfahan in 5th century defines the local markets (Bazaars) and commodities specially the rugs, car¬pets, etc. [1 OJ Several poets like Manuchehri, Anwari, Onsory and Khaleghi have repeatedly pointed to carpets and their charming colours.[9] Interesting enough that Khaghani has complained of the harsh and unfavorable texture of Marandi carpets.[lO]
Carpet weaving in Mongolian period In 630 A.H there was a calamitous invasion by Chengiz Khan who forced through western borders and demolished .major contempora-neous rulers. This attack ceased many artistic activities including carpet- weaving, but later successors or his governors provided the opportunities for re-brisk of that business.
Based on the narratives, Mongolian governors had great tendency to Iranian culture and tried to activate Commercial exports, especially carpets, to India or through western merchants to European markets.
Mousel In Iraq, as a bridging point between Tabriz and Baghdad, played a leading role in carpet business [6]. Also a typical kilim called Atabeyeh, composed of Kurdi and Lori wools, used to be marketed in Mousel.
Yaghut ensures that carpet-weaving was satisfactorily progress¬ing in 7th century A.H. [4] Despite the foregoing evidences, Ghazan Khan, a Mongolian governor ordered to cover his new elegant palace in Tabriz with large Fars carpets. [12]
S. Edwards however opposing that carpet weaving was enjoing a poor market in Azerbaijan with possibly small rugs that couldn't satisfy the Mongolian governor in Tabriz. [13]
Wilhelm Mister and Erick Esteinburg have greater stress or rejecting Yaghut's opinion and denying any remarkable carpel weaving in Azerbaijan.[ 121 Ibn-Batuta, a Maghrebian tourist one hundred years after Yaghui narrates that Atabak Afrasiab, a tribal chief of Bakhtiari entertained him on a green carpet in Izeh.[6,IOA]

Carpet-weaving in the Timurids period:

In late T" century A.H., Holakoo Khan who was a Mongolian murderous ruler passed away and followed by uprising of "Sarbedaran" I at the outset of 8th century. This century also remaked by insurgence of Timur against all scattered Mongolian governors and gradually dominated over the country.
literatural fields, but however he was deeply engaged in war and fighting with less chance for promotion of arts and carpet-weaving activities. [3]
Notwithstanding, perhaps training the art-loving successors was his greatest service to mankind that oriental culture shall largely be indebted to. After Timur, his son Shahrokh, came to power, and signified weaving by ordering for production of precious and luxury carpets. All these carpet enjoyed a geometric pattern and seems to be woven by unskilled weavers [13 J There are miniaturized paintings of those carpets designs con¬firming the brisk of carpet-weaving occupation in that period.[14] These carpets, which were thick and heavy, were used in Ozan Hassan's Palace, a successor of Agh-Ghara Ghoyonlu.[ 131 Shahrokh and his respectful wife "Goharshad Khatoon" made ap-preciable endeavours to grow arts-fostering children, as training the royal children deserves a high priority in Mongolian culture. They left two sons i.e, Ologhbeik and Baisonghor. The former was really a calligrapher and left a full handwritten of Quran while established an observatory site in Maragha too. The latter tried a lot to enhance architecture, painting, calligraphy and carpet-weaving. This ruler was so faithful and innovative that specifically encouraged and supported his contemporaneous artisans. It is narrated that the fabulous wealth of Timur was fully spent in upgrading the Iranian elegant arts by his grand-children, and various cities e.g. Samarkand, Bokhara, Shiraz and Harat were of important carpet-weaving prone in Iran.[9]
This period remarked by impact of Chinese culture on Persian carpet-weaving style leading to creation of geometric patterns i.e, curved or round designs, curls and flowers, fan-palms, massive clouds, varying mythical animals and birds e.g. dragon, simorgh and gazelle in the Persian carpet. This modification resulted in tremendous impacts on weaving techniques as well. For instance, double-weft weaving which necessitates for circular patterns substituted the single-weft style. Also, the thickness of the double-wefts changed and converted into a thick and a thin weft.[l3]
However, deficit information gained during the period, does not allow a comprehensive investigation on the structural aspects. A few carpet obtained so far relate to the late Timurids indicating some progression in circular patterns which accordingly entail modification of weaving techniques.[l3]
After the two sons, king Hossein Bayaghra dominated and followed the same path in developing the Iranian arts. During his dynasty, great artists like "Behzad" entered into arts arena and created inter¬esting miniature drawings for "Bustari-e-Saadi" and "Zafarnameh" illustrating the changes of designs in Persian carpet.[9]
This period is also highlighted by a piece of handwriting dopted from Khajavi Kermani Collection I skilfully incorporated into a car¬pet that leaves no doubt on such weaving arts during the period. [ 4]

Carpet weaving during Uzbeks invasion and Ghara-Ghoyonlul Agh-Ghoyonlu governances

King Hossein Bayaghra was killed due to savage attack of Uzbeks and again, the country did undergo a socio-political turmoil which how¬ever affected the quality and quantity of hand-woven carpet industry.

Meanwhile, two typical tribes e.g, Ghara-Ghoyonlu (having black sheep) and Agh-Ghoyonlu (having white sheep) launched a riot against Uzbeks and could impose a heavy defeat on them, but later Agh-Ghoyonlu applied a stratagem and smashed Ghara-Ghoyonlu. The two tribes dominated the western part of the country with nominating Tabriz as capital.
During the Ghara-Ghoyonlus, everywhere was engaged in war with no chance for cultural promotion, but the Agh-Ghoyonlus had rather favorable opportunities in this respect. In the latter period, beautiful carpets were produced so that researchers believe that the pretty carpets of early Safavids dynasty might have been woven during Agh- Ghoyonlu period in Tabriz.[9]
Narrating that, Josef Barbaro, Ambassador of Venents after his meeting with Ozan Hassan, who was an intellectual, appreciated the beauty and excellence of the existing carpets of his palace.[13] Also, there are indications on hundreds of painted curtains at Da vinci Hall in Florence that show Persian carpets or rugs, covering churches or rooms. Robens who mainly created the paintings of the curtains, has beautifully illustrated various saints including "Aral Arondel" and his wife, or "Helen Formalt" on Persian carpets.[6] Despite all above, there is no trace of such carpets to date.[13]
Period of dehiscence and splendor of Persian carpet (in the Safavids) Right after seven centuries of aliens domination in Iran, the Safavid dynasty came to power and demolished all foreigners backed by religious peoples' classes. The Safavids were the first Iranian Royal Family who reigned in Iran since Arabs Attack, and greatly made efforts for qualifying the Iranian civilization. King Esmaiel was the founder of dynasty whose successors i.e King Tahmasb and King Abbass ruled over the country. Following is the distinct narration on individual period of each Safavid rulers and their progressive achievements in carpet-weaving arena.

Carpet weaving in King Esmaiel period:

King Esmaiel was the founder of his dynasty who declared the Shiite as the national religion across the country. The Iranian highly be¬lieved him as a faithful reviver and liberator ruler.[13] The first three Kings of this dynasty started with Esmaiel, were industrious, qualified and bright-minded which seems rather excep¬tional in the history.[13]
Available evidences approve establishment of several weaving workshops by King Esmaiel in his capital Tabriz.[10] Though, Edwards basically denies this idea for full engagement of the King in consolidation and integration of his regime to struggle against Turks and Uzbeks.[13]
Notwithstanding the reputation of Tabriz as a focal place in weaving arts since Ghazan Khan (a Mongolian ruler), but however "Ardman", the oriental arts analyst, raises his doubt on this suggestion.
He also points to several Ottmani attacks, 12 times occupation and instability of the city that must have hindered the possible growth and development of carpet-weaving industry. Besides, when the city collapsed by King Salim I, there was no Tabrizi weaver among the artisan groups of captives taken to Istanbul. Hence it seems the city acted as a marketing place rather than weaving prone.[12]
A few others, however, like Nicolao Manucci, the Italian qualified physician, have proclaimed on many carpets production in Tabriz.[12]

Carpet weaving in King Tahmasb I Period:

King Tahmasb was the son of King Esmaiel and paved the ways for highest grade of carpet weaving arts at national level. His son, King Abbass completed the task and concreted the movement by well- reputating the Persian Carpet across the world.
King Tahmasb was a conservative and peace-seeking politician who soon came into a settlement with the Turks and Uzbeks ing his 50-year governance. He shifted the Capital from Tabr Qazvin to keep safe and away of Ottmani danger. For his pers inclination to arts and weaving activities, the city soon convert, a key points for weaving production.
King Tahmasb himself was an artisan and has developed' plans for carpet. He tried to upgrade and urbanize the rural wea occupation or the nomadic weaving arts up to the city level founded a few urban style for the business.
In his period, other than Tabriz, several workshops were established in Qazvin, Kashan, Hamedan, Shushtar and Harat, He assigned three Iranian famous painters and designer Kamaleddin Behzad, Soltan Mohammad and Mir Sayed Ali developing new schemes. They created memorable and un] eden ted designs and drawings which were even used identicallj the next weavers' generations.[6]
He also activated many royal workshops for producing fine courtesy carpets that gradually resulted in development of a spe style named as "The Shah-Tahmasb Style."[6]
He had written a letter to Ottmani King and sought his vie weave some carpets for "Solaimania Mosque". He addressed the I as his brother and insisted him to reflex the response inclu the requested carpet's dimensions.[13]
The then Ambassador of Hungary in Iran confirms pres of a few silk-woven rugs among the aforementioned parcel.[lO Substitution of Timuri and Mongoli designs by Ton (Medalion) bearing carpets were the commendable characteri of the Shah Tahmasb Style. In addition, hunting design became popular showing some horse riders in a match or on hunting. period was explicitly remarked by inspiring impacts of the gik designs on carpet patterns.[6]
A masterpiece called "Sheikh Safioddin Carpet" or "Arc Carpet" is the unique creation of King Tahmasb period. This ar of excellence characterized by silk warp and weft and wool finished in 946 A.H. It is specified by Farsi knots bearing 534x] em. dimension. Maghsoud Kashani was the weaver of this ~ arts and finalized the task in Kashan. The carpet is now being d onstrated to the public at Victoria Museum in England.

Carpet weaving in the period of King Abbass the Great:

Immediately after King Tahmasb, Abbass his elder son initi the reign. Unlike his father, he abrogated all previous peace 1 ties and oppressed the oppositions and disturbing neighbours.
He thoroughly smashed the Uzbeks' tumult followed successive attacks on Ottmanies and crashed them out. King Abbass then shifted to Esfahan and founded the lar Royal carpet-weaving premise. This event is well-documented many writers e.g. French Toverniet & Shardon, Sir Robert Sherli, a Hangarian perist and King's court secretary who all have repeatedly pointed to the workshop.[13]
All such notes have clearly identified the workshop location next to "Chehelsotun Building" at "Naghsh-e-Jahan" grand square. Toverniet states that the workshop was actively weaving car¬pets for Royal courts. Lots of the carpets were either covered the Royal buildings or presented to foreign Kings or dignitaries resulted in propagation and reputation of Iran and its wonderful carpets in foreign Royal Museums.[13]
King Abbass, however extended appreciable and endeavours to¬ward enhancing and boosting this arts and engraved an outstand¬ing style known as "the King Abbass Style" in the industry. His style is remarked by emerging of flower-vase, Eslimi, tree and garden (Buta) and prayer designs carpets.'[6]
Sir Richard Arthur Purp believes that flower-vase (Goldani) design was originated in Joshaghan and founded by Nematollah Joshaghani. There is a sample of this design presently used for covering the King Abbass tomb in Qom. The most well-known flower-vase design is now available in a carpet at New-York Metropolitan Museum.[lS]
There left a few numbers of Eslimi design carpets which are also reputed as King Abbass design. Lots of such designs have been imitated by Caucasian and Turkish (Ottmani) weavers.[6] In "the King Abbass style" a new design was brought about called tree and bush (Buta) that incorporated medallion (Torange), animals and vegetations, all in one. The best samples of this configuration which produced in Kurdistan, is now being ex¬hibited in Philadelphia and New-York Museums.
Professionals agree upon western Iran in particular, Kurdistan as the origin place of this design "with predominant blue and dark-blue colour scheme.
Baghi design (Garden) is also affiliated to King Abbass Style and said to be developed by the late Safavids reign in Kerman. There is a commending piece of this design kept in Folk Museum, Harward University, USA.[6] Two conventional prayer rugs of King Abbass period are now available at Iran-e-Bastan (Tehran) and Metropolitan (N.Y) Muse¬ums.[6]
There is special carpet design which assumes as a masterpiece of King Abbass period and presently caIIed Polonise carpet. In spring 1601 A.D. Zigmond III, the King of Hungary fielded an Armenian merchant called "Muratutis" to Iran for purchasing some precious carpets for his Royal complex. Muratutis placed the order to the Kashanian weavers who were perfectly profes¬sional and skilful in producing silk carpets. There are almost 300 pieces of such design of which 8 are preserved in Residents

Museum (Munchen, 4 in Iman Ali (pbuh) holy shrine (Nadjaf), and a few others at Rosenburge Fort in Denmark.[9]
The colour of the carpets composed of prink, green and pale yellow remindering the excellent compilations of the great arti¬sans like Kamaleddin Behzad. Alireza Abbassi, and Soltan Mohammad Naghash.[9]

Carpet weaving after King Abbass until domination of king Nader:

The Safavids, after Abbass, experienced no ruler who loved literary or cultural works. The period since the death of king Abbass to Afghans revolt elapsed by collapsing turmoils and Persian Kings' sensualities. Four kings succeeded the king Abbass, but de voiding of their ancestors characteristics. The neighbouring enemies misused the opportunity for massive invations and reoccupation of Baghdad, Tabriz and Hamedan.

The successors of kings Tahmasb and Abbass failed to heat their ancestors' inclination to carpet weaving arts which resulte: dropping supports from weaver desiners and practitioners who '" so privileging before. This professionals were soon scattered disappeared and showed reluctance to train their followers hence, the industry encountered severe disturbance and lam its nobility. [13]
Of course, relatively precious rugs should have been wo within the then agitated status, but almost no trace left beh today, as either worn out or sold out to the foreigners museums.[9]
The last Safavid ruler, King Hossein, soon gave up and left capital to the Afghans. He was excessively jollifying that e couldn't think of his crown and throne, let alone defending country's integrity.
Arrival of the Afghans came across to destruction of carr weaving industry/ arts due to huge suppression and massacre: They occupied the country for 20 years leaving one of the ill awful periods of non-stopping crimes and aggression.

Carpet-weaving in the Naderids and Zandids periods:

It happened not late that Nadergholi, a dutiful officer of Iranian defeated army, who was upon a time, a dangerous rob I rose against the Afghans. He knew nothing but the sword ( fight, and finally extirpate the criminal aggressors and recove the occupied cities.
During the agitating domination of this violent soldier attention drawn to the weaving activities. Nader was almost gaging in war with frequent settlements in hunting or des premises with less residing chances at palace or Royal courts. This was the reason behind hindering circumstances in carr weaving field.[13]
Nader was superseded by Karim Khan, an illiterate but k ruler without any evidence on weaving promotion. [13]
Karim Khan changed his capital to Shiraz. Regarding the; ventures of this period, full reports were provided by Sir Jc Malcom, an English counselor who has well-elaborated on han crafts manufacture and business without mentioning the car activities in late l S" A.D.[13]
Though S.Edwards fully trusts in Malcom, but however, ba: on other documents, some beautiful carpets have been produc in late Zand reign. [6]

Carpet-weaving in Ghajar period:

After the death of Karim Khan, Agha-Mohammad Khan who wa real blood-thirsty man came to power and founded the Ghajar ( nasty in Iran. He also kept on strengthening his throne which per fectly pushed him away of weaving arts/industry. King Fathali, king Nasereddin and king Mozaffareddin succeeded each others. The reigning times were remarkable prolong with com-paratively calm situation which encouraged gradual revival of weav¬ing tasks. Sir John Malcom didn't indicate to this field in his mission report, but strange enough, the tourists who later visited Iran, confirmed the weaving profession among the public classes. [13]
In late Ghajar period, the country faced to unstable political condition but, with well-off parvenus and princes who highly straticulated to the publi groups. Their enormous wealth caused them purchacing quality and precious rugs and carpet for priding and
glorying to each others. This, however, resulted in progressive brisk of the carpet production and commercialization. On the other hand, foreign tourists and collectioners also joined to buy and gather the beautiful pieces.[9]
During the late of the pervious century, the western companies which were marketing the carpets preferred to establish few do¬mestic branches at weaving-prone centers of Iran.
The agents of the aforesaid branches used to dispose the required inputs e.g coloured wool and favourable designs to the weavers upon placing the pertinent orders.[9]
S.Edwards emphasized on year 1885, as the neogenesis of car- pet- weaving arts in Iran.[13]
He relied on E.Stebbing's book titled "The Saint Rug in Ardebil Mosque" published in London,1982, which investigates the weav¬ing status in 1877 and concludes the prevailing of 4 or 5 distinct designs, whereas now the business is broadly enjoying more than 20 pertty designs under implementation.
Edwards comments that the author had no direct contact with the native people but gathered his non-reliable information through the newly-created Ziegler Co. and its dealers in Iran.[13]
In 1875, a national company was founded by Tabrizi traders for manufacture of exportable goods in Arak. Ten year later, an En¬glish enterprise (originally registered in Swiss) called Ziegler & Partners Co. opened an agency in the city and started importing raw materials from Manchester. Oskar Straws, a staff of the com¬pany proposed to convert the incomes into rugs or carpet which are relatively easier for due cash-trading in London market. The pro¬posal approved and led to activating a dyeing workshop, recruiting desiners and the required go-down. Soon the company supervised about 2500 weaving systems and encouraged other European / American firms for further participation in this beneficial business. [13]
The Castelli Brothers Co. was also another foreign enterprise that initiated its activity in late Ghajar period. "The Eastern Rug and Trading Company of New York" based its main office in Kerman and later merged into Fritz & Ha Rue Co. Otto Brandly was the leading foreign merchant who resided in Kerman for carpet business purpose.
Very soon, Mr. Nearco Castelli, a rich and well-known Italian businessman became interesled in rug marketing. His brother was also assigned as a foreign bank-dealer in Tabriz for years. They gradually expanded their carpet business by late 19th century in Tabriz to Kerman and Kashan. At the end, the authorized English and American companies well extended their agencies across the country on rug trading activities.

References:

1. Iran, from the Beginning till appearance of Islam, by: Roman Girshman, translated by: Dr.MMoin
2. Artistic Cultures in Iran, by: Roman Girshamn, Translated by Dr. Yaghub Ajand.
3. Acquaintance with Persiam Handicrafts, by: Dr.MT. Ashuri
4. Carpet History, by: Dr. Ali Hasouri (Article)
5. Persian Texture Industry from Beginning till Now, by: Dr. A. Alvand
6. Weaving and Persian Woven Materials since Ancient' Time, by: Dr.Ali Sami.
7. Designing Method in Texture Weaving, by: Eng.Samad Nematollahi.
8. Rising of Orartoi from Pazyryk, by: Velkomar Gantzeroden Translated by: Fatemeh Miri
9. A Survey on Persian Rug-weaving Arts, by: Eng.M.J.Nassiri
10. Artistic Compilationsof Iran, by: Yahya Zoka & MH.Semsar
11. Proceedings of the Fifth Int'l Conference on Persian Carpet, 1996.
12. A History of Persian Carpet, by: Dr. Vilhlm Sister, Translated by: Mahshid Tavallaie & M R. Nassiri and edited by Javad Yasavoli 13. Persian Carpet, by: S. Edwards, Translated by: Mahindokht Saba
14. Rug on Miniature, by: Dr. Ali Hasouri
15. The Arts of Carpet-Weaving in Iran, by: Edvin Gantzeroden Translated by: ETKA (affiliated to Army) Organization.
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