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Handmade Persian Carpets and Rugs

Handmade Persian Rugs: One of The Most Valuable Oriental Carpets

Handmade Persian rugs and carpets are the most durable and exquisite oriental carpets and also Iran's unique and unmatchable handicrafts, used for the interior of ordinary people's houses or great kings' courts for centuries. Persian people weave their dreams, imaginations, stories, myths, and everything inside their inner world on looms of different forms and sizes all over Iran. Handmade Persian carpets symbolize a magical, abstract world of beliefs and desires; that's why each has a particular identity and touches people's souls. They are tied in with Persian life and traditions and have hundreds of patterns and many styles.
Each region, city, and village in Iran has different types of Persian rugs, creating a live handmade carpet with natural fibers that they provide from their herd or cotton farms. Everything about Persian hand-woven carpets is related to the pure nature of Iran. Their stunning colors represent people's feelings and passions. They are extracted from beautiful and aromatic plants, are highly durable, and even get brighter as time passes. Persian rustic and tribal handmade carpets and rugs may have some irregularities but are so lovable worldwide as they are made by nomads and tribes on their small and medium handmade looms and designed by their wild souls' imaginations.
Persian handmade rugs of cities are woven splendidly, with a more ordered structure, tiny knots and delicate designs full of mazes of plant branches and heaven's birds flying among them or mystical abstract leaves and flowers. The fantastic world of handmade Persian rugs still remains undiscovered between oriental rugs. There are some regions in this land where unique rugs are woven by local people with remarkable patterns and textures that remain unknown. Handmade Persian carpets were an excellent investment for the country for more than 400 years; they are still a valuable handicraft worth investing in, collecting, and decorating any interiors with them!

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How Are Persian Handmade Carpets and Rugs Made?

The process of producing a Persian handmade carpet is like a long and exciting tale. Sometimes it takes more than a year for a Persian rug to be made. It all depends on many factors, like the Persian rug patterns and designs, texture and techniques, knot density, size, and even fibers and dyes. Handmade Persian rugs create a great industry and gather many people, from weavers to dyers and designers. What makes a handmade Persian carpet unique and valuable is the long path of its production, the ups and downs; the patience of weavers; the way dyers create fantastic colors from plants and flowers, and, of course, the mystical imagination of designers. They don't just appear from the beautiful hands of weavers, but their knots are tied by the pleasing sounds of weavers' songs. Making handmade carpets is an inseparable part of most Iranian tribes' and people's traditions. It differs in regions; handmade Persian rugs among migrating tribes are woven much more freely among deserts and meadows, taking inspiration from the surrounding nature. Though handmade rugs produced in Iranian cities are more regular, they are created in large carpet workshops. As it is mentioned, producing a handmade Persian carpet depends on several items, which are introduced here briefly:

Handmade Persian Rugs Foundation and Structure

Ever thought how these wonderful Persian rugs are created and what is their foundations and structures? Like most handmade rugs from all over the world, such as Turkish or Caucasian rugs, handmade Persian  rugs are created from the interweaving of vertical and horizontal yarns and piles tied in them. These fibers may have different types, from wool to silk yarns, and also different thicknesses that highly affect the quality of the rug and the look of the design. Let's get familiar with their usage and features!

Warp and Weft in Persian Handmade Carpets

The base structure of pile carpets and flat-weave rugs is created from warps and wefts. Warps have the most important role in making a Persian rug! They are a group of vertical yarns of the same grade and type, placed parallel to each other with an equal distance between them, and are drawn from the top of the loom to the bottom with a specific pressure similar to all the yarns. They are mainly cotton yarns, but sometimes wool and silk (for delicate and high-density rugs) with different grades according to the design. Weft yarns are used to make a firm structure between knots or in Kilim rugs used for creating patterns. These yarns, placed horizontaly among the warp yarns with a zigzag pattern, are mostly cotton and, in some places, wool. Cotton warp is more potent and has different grades for different rug densities. You may see that some handmade Persian rugs have two wefts, and some have one weft; it depends on the regions of the carpets and their techniques.

Persian handmade rug foundation
Different types of Persian rugs knot

Knots in Persian Handmade Rugs

What is a rug knot? And what is a pile rug? Actually, carpets and rugs with piles have knots between their warp and weft structure. A knot of any kind is usually tied on a pair of warp yarn (in some regions in Iran, people also tie knots with two pairs of warps). After weavers knotted a row of a rug pattern on warps, they put one or two yarns of weft on them and beat on them to make them firm. In Persian handmade rugs, two main types of knots are used:
1_Symmetric or Turkish knot
2_ Asymmetric or Persian knot
Symmetrical knots are tied by passing the yarn between two adjacent warps, bringing it back under one, making a collar with both, and then pulling it through the middle so that both ends emerge between the warps. Though symmetrical knots seem stronger, asymmetrical knots are used for more delicate and soft rugs with higher density and knots placed closely near each other. One side of a Persian knot is securely knotted around a warp, and the other half is left loose.

Tools and Materials for Handmade Persian Rug Weaving

Weavers of Persian rugs use several materials and tools all over Iran. These tools may have different forms, but they all have the same usage: they make it easier for weavers to knot the patterns on warp and improve the process of passing the weft through warps. The types of these tools and their safety impact the quality of rugs. The main tools and materials for weaving a Persian carpet include:

Carpet Loom

Looms are the basic tools for any handmade carpet. It's a framework that is made mainly of wood and, more recently, iron. The looms have many important parts and two main types: vertical and horizontal looms. Stable vertical looms are used in almost all carpet workshops in cities and villages in Iran, and Persian tribes use horizontal looms as they're movable.

Hooked Knife

This tool includes a sharp blade and a hook at the head of it, used for both knotting fibers between warps and then cutting them to make a pile in every pair of warp. Weavers hook the threads and make a knot with a pair (or two pairs) of warp, then cut the fibers and separate them with the blade of this tool.

Comb

This tool includes a row of metal blades that aren't sharp at an equal distance from each other and a wooden or metal handle. Combs have different shapes and weights and are used to firmly place weft threads on knots row and make a strong structure. Depending on the fibre types and density, weavers beat combs on weft several times.

Scissors

The scissors that are used for rug weaving have different types, but all are bigger than a regular scissor and are used for cutting an additional amount of knot piles. Some rug weaving scissors have edges on one of their blades to help weavers control the process of cutting piles with a defined pile height. Some others (like Turkish scissors) don't have any edges, so the weavers should worry about equal size for piles!

Hooked Stick

Most of the weavers, specially Turkish tribes in Iran, use a long metal stick with a hook at the head of it to pass the weft thread between warps. This simple tool is to help weavers to put weft with zigzag patterns among warp faster and easily.

The High Value of Handmade Persian Rugs Against Machine-made Rugs

What Is the Difference Between Handmade Persian Rugs and Machine-Made Rugs?

Handmade Persian rugs are elegant, timeless aesthetically pleasing. They're also handmade by traditional artisans who have been weaving for generations. Their high prices indicate their high value, and their value is because they have been created by human hands, which makes them unique and beautiful. However, today, they have entered the competition with machine-made carpets.
There's an apparent difference between these two carpets we all know; Handmade Persian rugs are made by hand, and machines make machine-made Persian rugs! This difference in structure distinguished these two types of carpets.

Durability

First, handmade Persian rugs are much more durable than machine-made carpets. The old-school process of hand-weaving means that each knot in the rug is individually tied and secured by hand, making handmade rugs very durable and long-lasting, while machine-made carpets tend to fray more easily over time. Machine-made carpets have inferior materials, so they can only withstand wear and tear a little. On the other hand, handmade Persian rugs are made with high-quality eco-friendly material that will last for years.

Beauty

Second, handmade Persian rugs look better than machine-made ones. They have unique designs and patterns and symbolize a Persian story. Handmade Persian carpets have many ties with literature in their appearance. Because they're made by hand, they have a unique style and pattern you won't find in any other type of carpet or rug, and not two handmade Persian rugs can be a pair. Also, most handmade Persian rugs are sourced from weaver's imaginations. They stand out!

Price

Third is the price! Handmade Persian rugs are expensive and can only be obtained through a reputable dealer. Their high prices are due to their unique design and the long time spent making them. Machine-made carpets are mass-produced and sold at a much lower cost than handmade ones. It refers to the synthetic materials and short times of their weaving processes; however, this doesn't mean that all machine-made carpets are necessarily cheap—some very high-quality ones are available at reasonable prices!

Common Questions About Handmade Persian Carpets and Rugs:

Why are Handmade Persian Rugs Expensive? Making a hand-knotted Persian rug takes a long time (at least three months, on average)! Therefore, besides the quality of fibers and materials, the time needed to weave a rug affects the price. as fibers and designs get more delicate, more time is required for a carpet to get woven, and the more you should pay for that carpet. On the contrary, machine-made carpets are produced in a much shorter time, and because of their synthetic fibers, they have a lower price.
Not all carpets with Persian rug designs are handwoven! You can easily recognize if a Persian rug is handmade by some texture aspects such as fringe and knots. Fringes are sewn into machine-made carpets, but in handwoven carpets, they are an integral part of the carpet. Also, You can see that handmade rug knots aren't equal when you look at the back of the rug, but every knot in machine-made carpets is similar and regular.
Handmade Persian rugs are one of the most durable oriental carpets; because of the high-quality wool and silk fibers used in handwoven Persian rugs' texture, their lifespan increase. Also, handmade rugs mainly include naturally dyed fibers, which redouble the maintenance of these rugs.