In Iran, the hand-carpet is not only an art that shows the engraved history of our land, but also it narrates the passion, love, mysticism, and beauty in the arena of life.
In this article, in addition to the introduction of carpet, we talk about the short history and blinding and unique characteristics and also the distinction of the Isfahan’s carpet with other carpets of Iran and the world.
The hand- carpet of Isfahan has an old ancientness and the short history of Isfahan’s hand-carpet, these unique masterpieces return to the beginning of the 16th century A.D. in the era of the reign of Safavid (1502- 1722).
The Safavid period can be known as the bright era of Irani’s hand- carpet. Shah Abbas was the powerful promoter for the art and Iranian artists in the 16th century A.D.
Isfahan is a city in the west center of Iran and when Shah Abbas transferred Iran’s capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, it became important more than ever. The era of the reign of Shah Abbas can be called the golden age of Iran’s carpet- weaving. Today, Isfahan is the second-largest city in Iran and also one of the important industrial centers.
The Isfahan carpet in the Safavid period
In the 16th century A.D, the Safavid were gathering the craftsmen and different artisans from the north-west of Iran and settled in the neighborhood of Isfahan that became famous as “Jolfa”.
After that, there were built carpet production workshops in dimensions of palaces and temples in the city center. because of the interest of Safavid kings especially Shah Ismail, Shah Tahmasb, and Shah Abbas in the art of carpet- weaving, the most precious silky carpets were weaved with the hand of Isfahan’s artists with so beautiful designs.
Thus, this period can be called the glory era of Iran’s carpet. The variety of designs and colors made the Isfahan carpet one of the most original Iranian carpets.
Until the designs of original arabesque, khitan and Shah Abbasi, Shines on the dome of Imam’s mosque, Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque and also the golden mementos Reza Abbasi on the walls of Ali Qapu, Chehel Sotoun, and Hasht Behesht, the Isfahan’s carpet also preserves the Irani’s original culture and tradition.
The period of decline and peak of the history of Isfahan’s hand-carpet
Unfortunately, in the period of domination of Afghans over Iran land, the Irani carpet was found rarely in the time span of 1700- 1920. Instead, until the beginning of the first worldwide, Isfahan became the center of the textile industry.
After the first worldwide, the changes of worldwide fashion caused the degrading of the high position of Isfahan in the textile industry.
During the revival of carpet- weaving in Isfahan, the new carpets were usually sold to Europe; because the United States preferred the more resistant and heavier carpets that could be clean, stain, or if necessary, dye with the old way.
The selling of carpet got harder in the recession period big became harder and also the import of merino wool became costly.
So, the carpet weavers replaced the merino wool with the Irani local wool, which was coarser than merino wool.
The characteristics of Isfahan carpet
The harmony, appropriateness, and the variety of colors, especially the cheerful colors in the dark and light spectrums, short piles, the linage counting between 50 to 90, using the Persian knot, the connected selvedge and most double waft, barrel and also the payment in the time of weaving are the characteristics of Isfahan’s carpet weaving.
The warp winding, vertical loom with one Kouji (Isfahan’s method)
The warp windering is putting and pulling warps on the upper and lower beam. This work is done by a two-person, named warp winder.
One makes the warp and the other installs the warp on the beam. This work should be done with accuracy and proficiency.
It is necessary to divide the layers of the warp’s beam into two separated half layered for interweaving the warp and waft.
Kouji is a wood that the yarns are getting wrapped around it, that was taken from a single yarn skein. At first, the warp looms are made from silk and then install on the loom for the warp windering of the looms that are used in Isfahan carpet.
After that, the Kouji, warps, and also the huff wood that divides the two layers of warp’s beam from each other, are getting in their place.
During the weaving, the weaved part is pulled down, until another part of the warp on the loom is placed in front of the weaver; of course, this work needs high physical ability.
The production instruments and equipment of Isfahani carpet
The weaver women slip their thin fingers easily between the layers of warp in the Persian knot. The thumb, index, and middle finger have a difficult task and for doing it, they get help from a series of instruments and equipment.
The weaving knife that is striking on the knot pile, after closing each knot, to get ready for the next knot, is a kind of comb that includes a wooden and curved handle with metal, thick and parallel blades.
These blades are placed between the yarns of warp and make wefts and knots tighten in their place.
The compression of water depends on the power of the weaver and usually, this work is done by one person, until the patterns of carpet don’t get crooked. The weaver puts the thick blade of the metal scissor on the warp and makes the height of lints the same. The currycomb is a saw-toothed device that is used for pulling out the additional wools of knots.
The foundation of hand- a carpet of Isfahan
The Isfahan carpet is weaved from the warps (vertical yarns) of cotton (usually in the older carpets), wool or compressed silk warps, and double ball of waft (the horizontal yarns) which are cottony, blue- colored and spiral.
The meaning of the compressed warps, is a condition that wefts are pressed firmly together from one of the sides and warps are getting transferred on two levels.
The wool pile is carefully tied from the map until the carpet goes up. After is finished, the additional piles are and after the design of the carpet that is so durable, while it has elegance. In the weaving of some high-quality carpets of Isfahan, silk and metal warps are also used.
The map and design
The design of Isfahan’s hand-carpet in the 16th century was indebted to the other proposed arts of that time, like :
- of course, the licorice poets.
Isfahan city with that rich architectural history which includes mosques, palaces, breathless bridges and handicrafts, textiles, and eye-catching, beautiful arts, was the inspiration of the Isfahan carpet weavers from the past to the present.
Isfahan’s carpet has elegant and intricate designs with the curves that herbal patterns added to its glamor.
The vase, the hunting scenes, Islamic patterns, ivy, spiral, and interwoven arabesque lines can be seen in the classic designs of the Isfahan carpet. Of course, there are other elements in the spiral arabesques that are in the center of other motifs (like the tree) ends.
The colors used in the Isfahan carpet
The Isfahan carpet is being weaved in the color of red and blue or azure in the ground of ivory color. The colors of red, blue, and ivory are used in the more modern carpets of Isfahan (it’s related to the Second World War).
The Iranian signature and flag
Including Iran’s flag in the narrow margin of the top of the carpet, the protector is one of the characteristics of Isfahan hand-carpet. Sometimes, the name of the weaver is also seen beside the design of Iran’s flag.
Alert to the buyers: Be careful! Many carpets despite these signatures are fake and they are added to the carpet before the marketing.
The Polish carpets
By the order of Polish nobles, the carpets were weaved with silk, gold, and silver in Isfahan and Kashan, in the 16th to 18th centuries and it was exported to the common-interested countries of Lithuania- Poland.
When these carpets were sold to the west European buyers for the next year, it was named wrongly “Polish Carpet” and the buyers unsuspectingly assigned these beautiful carpets as the Polish.
The carpets, which are similar to the Isfahan carpet
If you are not an expert in the carpet, maybe you confuse Isfahan’s carpet with other cities, like Tabriz, Kashan, and Naein.
The Tabriz carpet has but Isfahan has symmetrical knots and more regular wefts, while the knots of Isfahan carpet are asymmetrical. Also, Kashan’s carpet has more regular wefts. Naein carpet is originally a kind of Isfahan carpet.
The weavers and their hand weaves
It seems unlikely that a tourist searches for the hand-carpet of Isfahan and doesn’t hear the names, such as Seirafian, Haghighi, Enteshar, and Davari.
These names are recommenders of the masters of Isfahan’s carpet weaving and their inheritors that had a significant role in the reviving of the carpet industry in Isfahan.
The circular frames, medallion corner, arabesques, flower, and plant patterns, and landscape alongside the metal, golden and silky, bright warps gives a unique perk to the Isfahan’s hand-carpet that makes the beauty and glory of every room, hundredfold.
Question and answer:
The history and antiquity of the Isfahan carpet return to which time?
The Safavid period can be known as the brilliant era of Irani hand-carpet.
What are the different kinds of designs that were used in the pattern of the Isfahan carpet?
The vase, the hunting scenes, Islamic patterns, ivy, and spiral and interwoven arabesque lines can be seen in the classic designs of the Isfahan carpet.
What are the names of some famous single-weavers and institutions that were given fame to the Isfahan carpet in the past and now?
Seirafian, Haghighi, Enteshar and Davari.
Where we can buy Isfahan’s carpet?
Sajjad Street (before Ahmad Abad Square), Naghsh-e Jahan Square, the Bazaar of Rangrazha (the carpet Bazaar), Bazaar of Hakim.
The map and design of the Isfahan carpet can be known as the most important characteristic of the Isfahan carpet; because it relies on the original art of Iran and gives a special effect to this old art with its arabesque, khitan, and flowers of Shah Abbasi’s designs.
In this article, we talked about the role of the carpet and the map, design and its dimensions, and also to the tonality of these carpets, the characteristics of Isfahan carpet, and the cases which differentiate the carpet from the carpets of other cities.