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Persian Carpet Styles

The Most Complete Introduction To All Types of Persian Rugs

We gathered almost all the unique and extraordinary real Persian carpet styles, A complete and diverse collection from traditional styles of tribes, villages, and town workshops all over Iran to modern, transitional, and conceptual rugs woven inside the country. Though each part of Iran has a particular style with special motifs and patterns in its carpets, we take this responsibility to introduce over 30 diverse and miscellaneous types of unique and adorable Persian designs and textures. You can find specific features of styles in various collections of their designs, weaving techniques, and primary colors. You can find your desirable Persian rugs under the verification and acknowledgement of our team. Nomadic tribes, rural and urban workshops, and royal court manufacturers simultaneously weaved Persian carpets and rugs of diverse varieties. As a result, they show miscellaneous, concurrent lines of tradition and reflect Iran's history and varied peoples. Carpets produced in Tabriz, Kerman, Mashhad, Kashan, Isfahan, Nain, and Qom are distinguished by their unique weaving techniques and high-quality materials, colors, and designs. Therefore, diverse collections and types of traditional Persian carpet styles are classified into three main categories: town, rustic, and tribal rugs, and modern Persian rugs are considered too. Each has some unique and specific characteristics within their subgroups as well. Here are famous and well-known styles and types of Persian rugs you can choose from:

The Mysterious Story of Persian Carpet Styles

Different Styles and Types from Different Regions and Ages

You may get confused about where all the different types and styles of Persian rugs and carpets come from. All types of Persian rugs belong to a specific culture and society. That's why they are all beautiful with similar Persian art scenes but also different from each other. All the types of Persian carpets still typical and preserved in many carpet workshops weren't created at a particular time, but grew and changed during the time. The regions of Persian carpet styles affect their designs and weaving techniques. Weavers and designers were inspired by their environment in creating carpet designs. Although Iran is now the origin of real and authentic Persian carpets, you may find traces of Persian carpet art in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan or Azerbaijan (as once they were parts of the Persian empire). The story of carpet weaving in Persia refers to 700 BC in the Achaemenid empire. The Persian people were pioneers in the carpet and textile industries till now, as many types of Persian carpets were obviously born and saved for centuries, such as Isfahan rugs and Persian tribal rugs, and many were changed and inspired by the soul of time. All styles and types of Persian carpets are categorized into two groups: traditional and modern rugs. Those traditional-style rugs belong to specific tribes such as Qashqai nomads, Baluch tribes, or special villages and cities. However, all keep their regions' unique and mysterious identities inside their designs and motifs.

Types of Persian Rug Styles

As one of the world's rare, unique, and luxurious arts and crafts throughout history, the Persian carpet industry continues its life by obeying traditions and innovation. Not because of customer tastes but also because of the essence of this art and industry; there are many types and styles of Persian carpets that are offered in carpet markets and stores globally (or even some of these fantastic styles are still hidden and unknown among Persian tribes or rural regions). Despite their diversity, all types of Persian rug are classified as either traditional Persian rugs or modern Persian rugs.

Traditional Persian rug Styles

Most Persian carpets and rugs from different regions are categorized as traditional Persian rugs. The traditional styles of Persian carpets is more than 1500 years old, including rugs with traditional Persian motifs and patterns woven for many years in the Persian regions. These rug styles have long stories and are created in long processes by many people, from those who spin fine wool from herds or pick cotton flowers from meadows, those who prepare great pots of natural color dye, and many weavers (most are women) and designers. However, not all Persian traditional rugs have their patterns from specific designers. Still, the unique thing about traditional Persian rugs is that most of them are woven by a weaver's imagination or designed according to a Persian myth or legend. Handmade Persian traditional rug styles have some lovely irregularities as humans weave them; these irregularities cause uneven designs and patterns, making some Persian carpets unique. Traditional styles of Persian carpets are categorized into three groups, city rugs, rustic rugs and tribal rugs. You can get more information about each types on traditional Persian carpet styles Page.

Buy Handmade and Machine-made Traditional Persian Carpets

Handmade Red Persian Isfahan Wool rug
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Modern Persian Rug Styles

We saw the Persian carpet industry as the great soul of Persian art, growing near our lives! As a unique but desired industry, not only antique Persian rugs or traditional Persian rugs but also some modern Persian rugs are now impressing this industry. The fast growth of machines and technologies also impacts the Persian carpet industry, as today, One of the main products of Persian carpets is power looms. These machine-made carpets with lower prices, even textures and flawless designs, became great benefits of the Persian carpet industry, though handmade Persian carpets still have their place. When we talk about modern Persian rug styles, it doesn't mean they are entirely different from traditional Persian rugs. Persian modern rugs include some elements of Persian traditional and antique rug designs. They create new visions of Persian rugs with modern color combinations. They still talk about Persian stories and myths in a modern and contemporary way. Modern Persian carpet styles know the trends and vibes of today's people and makes a remarkable feeling in interior decoration. The Persian modern rug styles are categorized into four groups by our team of experts: vintage and patina rugs, transitional rugs and contemporary rugs.

Buy Persian Handmade and Machine-made Modern Carpets

Machine-made Modern Ivory Persian Area Rug
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Persian blue vintage Kashan rug 709
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A Guide to Identifying Persian Carpet Styles and Types

Did you ever think about how you could identify if a carpet is Persian? We understand if you get confused, as Persian carpets have various styles and types. The best way to recognize if a carpet is Persian or not and figure out its style is to know each kind and type of Persian carpet style. First, you should realize that Persian carpets aren't oriental rugs but are a kind of oriental rug! Oriental rugs refer to all carpets and rugs from oriental countries (all Asian countries), such as India, Turkey, China, and Iran!
After you find out the difference between Persian and Oriental rugs, read the comprehensive introduction to each Persian carpet style we gathered here in Percarin, from Tabriz Rug to Khamseh Rug. Some factors for each style and type help you identify them. Another enjoyable way to learn about different types of Persian carpet styles is to study their designs, motifs, and their features, patterns, structure, and ...

Identifying Persian Carpet Styles by Their Designs, Patterns, and Motifs

It doesn't seem very easy to learn about all the designs of each Persian carpet style (as Persian carpets have diverse styles)! But according to their classifications (city rugs, rustic rugs, and tribal/nomadic rugs), you can feel each style sense and design quickly! Also, Persian carpets and rugs have some general structure. Let's try to know the general structure and total designs of Persian carpets:

General Designs of Persian Rugs

Although each Persian carpet style and type has specific features and motifs, they all usually follow some general designs and structures. Persian antique rugs and traditional Persian rugs are more subject to particular regulations than modern Persian rugs. These rug designs may be similar to other oriental rugs too, but they are mainly dedicated to Persian rugs. If you want to know what kind of rug you have or how to identify a Persian carpet, get familiar with the general designs of Persian rugs:

Centeral Medallion Rug Design

Most Persian rugs have a central medallion. These medallions are round or oval, mostly symbolizing the sun. Rugs with a central medallion usually come with four corners in the main field with a quarter design of a medallion.

Allover Rug Design

An all-over Persian carpet design usually consists of a specific repeated pattern. These patterns may be geometrical or curvilinear plant branch patterns. It doesn't have any medallions, but repetitive motifs near each other with a specific regularity all over the rug field, just like fabric patterns.

Prayer or Mihrabi Rug Design

Some Persian carpets have a prayer design structure. As most Persian people are Muslim, they use a unique rug for praying. These Persian rugs are symmetrical and have an arch at the top of the main field where Muslims put their hands and heads while praying. Under the arc shape, a flower vase, tree motifs, or sometimes geometric motifs are placed.

Triple Medallion Rug Design

While many Persian rugs (especially those woven in big cities such as Isfahan and Tabriz) have a central medallion, a triple medallion is another general design of Persian carpets. This structure is most common in Persian rustic and tribal rugs. Triple medallions have a diamond shape or are sometimes polygonal. Some rugs even can have more than three repeated medallions, too.

Kheshti Rug Design

The Kheshti design is a regular group of square or lozenge frames near each other that are filled with a tree or floral motifs. This general Persian rug design is prevalent among the Bakhtiari tribes, especially those living in Iran's "Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari" province. They contain diverse patterns and motifs of nature and animals.

Garden or Four Garden Rug Design

Gardens were always an integral part of Persian architecture. The unique structure of Persian gardens is called the "four gardens." This design consists of a central water pool and four gardens on each side of the pool. Persian four garden rugs are rare but unique and represent the traditional garden structure of Persian architecture. Some Persian rugs show abstract or realistic gardens too.

Gonbad or Dome Rug Design

One of the unique common designs of Persian carpets is the bottom view of a Persian dome. This design, called "Gonbadi," has the bottom structure of a typical dome and is found in almost all kinds of Islamic architecture, especially during the Safavid dynasty. If you've visited Iran, you've undoubtedly seen these majestic domes, which are designed with tiles in delicate patterns. The rug design consists of geometric shapes and a central medallion filled with similar details to Persian domes, mostly common in traditional Persian town rugs like Tabriz rugs.

Moharamat or Striped Rug Design

Moharamat design is a structure of horizontal, vertical or diagonal striped lines. These lines make equal or unequal spaces filled with various Persian rug motifs and patterns, such as Boteh or abstract forms of flowers. Moharamat design is not only used in Persian town and rustic cut pile rugs, but is common in Persian kilim rugs of Bakhtiari and Kurdish tribes and Persian gabbeh rugs of Qashqai tribes too.

Tree, Tree of Life Rug Design

Most Persian rugs (whether town or rustic and tribal rugs) have trees, gardens, and jungle patterns. They are filled with various trees, animals, and birds among them. One of the most remarkable Persian carpet designs is called the "tree of life." This design features a giant tree full of beautiful leaves and colorful blossoms or fruits protected by birds or animals. The whole tree is usually in a simple background or placed in a frame or under an arch-like Mihrabi or prayer rug structure. According to ancient Persian religion and culture (Zoroastrian beliefs), the universe was created by the tree of life!

Common Patterns and Motifs of Persian Rugs

Now that you understand some of the general structures of Persian rug design, let's take a closer look at Persian rug patterns! Knowing all the motifs and patterns used in Persian carpet styles and types may be challenging. In fact, each style is unique and created by a specific culture or lifestyle in Persia. Still, many motifs and patterns of Persian rugs from different types and regions have similar features. Some patterns and motifs are common among Persian town carpet workshops and factories or even identical to other Persian handicraft motifs, which all have Persian originality and are created from the heart of Persian culture and stories. They are placed individually or in a specific structural design, between spiral branches and lines or in lattice frames.

Shah Abbasi or Palmette Rug Motif

These motifs have a long history, symbolizing the Lotus flower and changing in form during the time. The "Shah Abbasi flowers," also known as Palmette or arabesque flowers, were common during the Safavid Empire in Persian land and are still today one of The most common motifs of Persian rugs. The whole structure of these flowers contains a central core and usually eight (or more) petals around it.

Islimi or Arabesque Rug Motif

Islimi (which came from Islamic art) is a delicate and soft design of lanceolate leaves placed in a curvilinear spiral line. They are also known as arabesque designs, but are specialized in Persian art and culture, mainly during the Safavid era. Islimi motifs and spirals are usually merged with Shah Abbasi or Palmette flowers and branches.

Hunting Rug Pattern

Hunting was an ancient entertainment in Persian culture for kings and royal families. This tradition became common during the Safavid dynasty, inspiring Persian rug designs. Persian carpets with this motif represent horse riders hunting wild animals such as lions, tigers, or gazelles. This pattern is more prevalent in traditional town rugs such as "Isfahan rugs and Kashan rugs".

Boteh or Paisley rug motif

This is one of the mysterious though popular and common motifs in not only Persian carpets and rug designs, but also in most of the handicraft arts of Persia. The Boteh, also known as Paisley, is a tear-shaped motif symbolizing the cypress tree. As cypress is sacred to ancient Persian people (Zoroastrians), the Boteh motif has been present in the long history of Persian art. It is also used in the designs of many Persian carpet styles and types like "Kerman rugs" and "Senneh rugs", either individually or near other motifs.

Weeping Willow Rug Motif

The weeping willow tree is a significant motif in Persian art and culture. It symbolized pure love and is always present in Persian love stories of separated and sad lovers. It is also one of the native trees of Persia (Iran). The importance of this tree has affected Persian carpets too. Many Persian rugs of different types and styles have weeping willow motifs in different shapes and usually come near cypress trees. This motif is prevalent in "Persian Bakhtiari Kheshti rugs, Sabzevar rugs, and Kurdish rugs".

Herati or Mahi Rug Pattern

To recognize a Persian rug with Herati or Mahi patterns, you should first know the story and strucrue behind this original Persian motif. Most Persian Herati rugs include repeated motifs. This motif, also called Mahi (meaning fish in Persian), represented two golden fish swimming in opposite directions but against each other. It also symbolized the Persian traditional water pools, called "Houz," filled with many golden fishes. The motifs include a central flower with two curvy leaves around it, spread from a lozenge frame on two sides of the flower. The Herati or Mahi pattern "is most common in "Bijar rugs, Senneh rugs, and Birjand rugs.

Cypress or Sarv Rug Motif

Cypress has been a spiritual tree in Persian beliefs and cultures for centuries. In Zoroastrianism, the cypress symbolizes eternal life and infinity. The Iranian people have admired the cypress as a glorious tree throughout history because it's always green. They paint it in their miniature Persian paintings or on the tiles of their mosques and palaces. The Cypress motif comes in various shapes and forms in different styles and types of Persian carpets; in a detailed medallion "Tabriz rug" or allover " Sabzvarand Bijar rug", in Persian "Kermanand Kashan prayer rugs", or even in " Qashqai tribal rugs".

Millefleur Rug Pattern

The word millefleur comes from French and means "thousands of flowers." It describes patterns filled with plants and flowers that are not connected. This pattern is also common in Persian rugs, especially in "Kerman rugs", rarely in "Tabriz rugs" and "Qashqai rugs". The Persian millefleur rug design contains trees full of blossoms near each other or repeated separate motifs of plants and shrubs. Sometimes this pattern includes birds and animals among the flowers, like some of the beautiful designs of Persian "Isfahan rugs".

Turkmen Gul or Bokhara Gul Rug Motif

This motif is dedicated to the Turkmen tribes' handwoven carpets and rugs. It is also called " Mari Gul" or "Kushal Davani," which means camel footprint. The Turkmen Gul is the most common motif among Persian Turkmen tribes, like the Tekke tribe. This motif is usually repeated all over the rug's field, with equal spaces and primarily red color.

Earthenware Rug Motif

Earthenware rugs include motifs of antique Persian clay dishes. These patterns come in an all-over structure among spiral floral branches and plants or around a central medallion of Shah Abbasi flowers or Islimi/arabesque leaves. Earthenware motifs are unique, mostly dedicated to Persian Kashmar rugs in Khorasan province.

Minakhani Rug Pattern

The Minakhani pattern includes a square with four flowers on four sides of the square that repeats all over the rug's field in regular horizontal and vertical rows. Inside square frames, there are usually floral designs and sometimes bird and animal designs. This pattern is dedicated to Varamin rugs, one of the important regions of the Persian carpet industry.

Tips to Find and Choose the Right Persian Carpet Style

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Common Questions About Persian Carpet Styles:

Each region and country has its specific patterns and motifs for carpets, as Turkish rugs have their designs and also Persian carpets. To identify the Persian rugs, explore all of the traditional styles we gathered in Percarin. Also, make sure that a rug hasn't sewn warp on its fringes. To ensure that your rug is Persian try to buy from Iran local manufacturers!
There are several miscellaneous patterns and motifs in Persian carpets that belong to specific regions of carpet weaving. Most town workshops have curvilinear motifs and patterns, while rustic and nomadic carpets contain geometric and figural motifs. some frequent patterns and motifs are called the medallion, Shah Abbasi, Mahi, or Herati.
For identifying your Persian rug style, check out all the traditional styles of Persian carpets we collect! If your rug has curvilinear motifs it is woven in a town workshop such as Isfahan, Tabriz, or Kerman. Most rugs with geometric and figural motifs belong to villages and tribes.
Though there are many diverse patterns and motifs in Persian carpets, some of them are more common such as Shah Abbasi flowers, arabesque patterns, tree of life and vases in town carpets, and abstract forms of birds and plants and geometric shapes in rustic and tribal carpets. Also, there are specific compositions of patterns and motifs like medallion with corners, Moharamat (which has divided main background with parallel horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines), Khesti ( group of equal squares or lozenges near each other), and Mihrabi that has a dome shape in the main background.
You can compare town carpets and rustic/nomadic carpets with two factors: pattern and density. Carpets that have more than 300 knots per square inch are woven in town workshops while rugs with lower densities are rustic or nomadic (rustic rugs have even more density than nomadic rugs). Also carpets with curvilinear and delicate patterns related to town workshops while most geometrical and broken lines patterns relate to rustic and nomadic styles.
A traditional Persian carpet consists of designs and patterns that are preserved in a special region for years and signify the feature of each regions' carpets while a classic-style rug has been influenced by traditional patterns and motifs in its design.

Ask Anything You Need to Know about Persian Carpet Styles

Ask Anything You Need to Know about Persian Carpet Styles