What is a "Persian" rug?
A handmade Persian rug, from the country now known as Iran, is to handmade rugs and carpets what Italian cars are to automobiles, or French wine is to the world of wines. The "Persian" has always been considered to be the reigning monarch in the world of hand-knotted rugs.
The term "Persian" refers not only to a traditional handmade rug from Iran, but also to the Persian-design rugs that are handwoven in India, Pakistan, China, and Turkey (primarily). While all of these countries had been weaving rugs, many for centuries, the 1979 United States' embargo on Persian rug imports from Iran, during the Iranian revolution, gave a tremendous boost to their rug production. Before the 1979 embargo, the Iranian Persian rug market had been soaring, exceeding previously unfathomable figures.
The embargo was dropped from 2000 to 2010, and a backlog of rugs from Iran were brought in great volume to the United States during that period. The embargo was imposed again by the Obama administration in 2010 in response to the political situation between the United States and Iran. We hear from some sources that the Iranian Persian carpet is dying, that social change will make the craft economically unsound, and that there are fewer weavers making rugs in Iran with each generation.
The names of Persian rugs are derived primarily from the area or city where they were made. The rugs known as "City rugs" tend to be the more traditional, formal, curvilinear designs, that many people associate with the words "Persian rug." The Village, or Tribal rugs, tend to be much more geometric in their designs and often less finely knotted. The latter have become very popular in the west because they suit our informal, more rustic lifestyles. The Gabbehs, which are brightly colored and improvisational in their designs, are wonderful examples of Village rugs. Their designs have been emulated, often very nicely, by the rug weavers of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey.
A quality hand-knotted "Persian" rug, from whatever country, is always a wonderful choice. It can look beautiful in any setting - contemporary or traditional - and will never become outdated.
Please send us a note, or call for more information and personalized recommendations on the perfect Persian-style rug for your space.
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