Image Credit - Lilla Rugs
Craftsmanship is having a renaissance. In our post-industrial age of automation, the romance of the modern-day artisan is back. In Iran, however, many cities are recognised for their rugs, so respect for a hands-on approach and a commitment to craft is nothing new.
The work of a master weaver is painstakingly meticulous; it’s a delicate art, every rug is weaved with passion, love, and hard labour - these communities have been doing this for generations and have a deep sense of pride in their skill. Persian rug weavers have a sublime quality that goes beyond their function; one of the central characteristics of weaving is the superlative precision and impeccable eye it requires. Their fingers are astonishingly nimble, gliding across the loom with a rhythm that feels simultaneously instinctive and impossible.
If you’re only looking at a finished rug, it’s easy to forget how much craftsmanship is involved. Weavers spend anywhere from several months to several years, hunched over a loom creating thousands of knots (depending on the size and quality of the rug). It seems almost ironic that they are thrown on the floor and walked on, considering the time-consuming, labor-intensive nature of this art form. The rug often conveys the weaver’s character or mood, much in the same way an artist portrays their feelings or views in a painting. There's no shortcut to greatness: what makes them even more special is the knowledge that each rug knot was hand-tied by the Persian weaver him or herself. Though the rugs aren't made as much as in their peak years, we do everything we can to keep this art form alive and continue to support the incredible artisans all over Iran. It's an ode to the craftspeople and their heritage. Here, Lilla Rugs explores this centuries-old tradition with a brief history of Persian rugs.
Image Credit - Pinterest
From the earliest times, Persia has been famed as a major centre of Oriental rugs and carpet weaving. The art originated more than 2,500 years ago, and today it is now one of the most widespread crafts and an integral part of Iranian culture.
Persian rugs are traditionally spun from sheep’s wool, the quality of which differs depending on the breed of sheep, climate, pasturage, and time of shearing. Women then turn the wool into thread by hand and boil the threads with natural dyes from plants and insects. Only after the threads have dried does the weaving begin. For thousands of years, artisans have been hand-knotting carpets of extraordinary intricacy - steadfastly tying weft through warp, row-by-row, until the rug is complete.
The natural progression of skill and craft involved in the creation of these works of art has been passed down from generation to generation over the centuries throughout periods of peace, invasion, and war. Different groups throughout various periods have woven Persian rugs: they are a reflection of both Iran’s history and its people. As international trade developed, the variety of patterns and designs grew - many rugs contain intentional mistakes, symbolic that human beings are imperfect and perfection can only be attained by the creator.
PERSIAN CITY RUGS
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The workshops of Persian urban city rugs produce the finest quality and command the highest prices. For centuries, the weaving houses within famous cities of Isfahan, Qum, Kashan, Tabriz, and many others have been producing instantly recognisable handwoven rugs in colours and designs that are unique to their cities of origin. These producers acquired reputations of master weavers; some of them even began to sign their work.
City rugs feature a traditional process of production that is more refined, varied, and detailed than tribal and village weaves. They will typically be divided into four quadrants, or sometimes two, that will be executed faultlessly. The design will be symmetrical, regardless of the direction that you turn the rug and the compositions are typically wool, silk or wool and silk inlaid piles on cotton or silk foundations.
A Persian city rug can add an ornamental flair to any interior, contemporary or traditional. We love the Mid-century Modern trend of contrasting simple contemporary spaces with the addition of a rare and desirable city weave in an unusual colour or design.
PERSIAN VILLAGE RUG
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Village rugs are generally handwoven by traditional people in family settings living in the settlements surrounding the large traditional carpet weaving cities. Each village has its distinct weaving style - including knot type, colour palettes, and symbolic designs.
Each village rug is individual and a product of the mind of the weaver. They may have bolder, more geometric designs and lack the intricacy of those produced in the cities - but this does not make them inferior to the city rugs. On the contrary, it makes them even more special. The lines of a village rug may not be straight, or the colours may shift from one end to the other - even when the rug has a repeating motif, often the repeats will have slight variations.
Our collection of Village Rugs feature a wide range of designs and colours; from soft and muted tones to bold and striking, both are hugely popular amongst our designer and decorator clients.
Whether you prefer the formality of the Persian city rugs produced in the weaving centres, or the rustic charm of those produced in villages is a matter of preference. Both of them have their own qualities that make them a treasure to own.