The art of carpet weaving in Iran has its roots in the culture and the customs of its people and their instinctive feelings. Weavers mix elegant patterns with a myriad of colors. The Iranian carpet is similar to the Persian garden: full of florae, birds, and beasts. The colors are usually made from wild flowers, and are rich in colors such as burgundy, navy blue, and accents of ivory. The proto-fabric is often washed in tea to soften the texture, giving it a unique quality. Depending on where the rug is made, patterns and designs vary. And some rugs, such as Gabbeh, and Gelim have variations in their textures and the number of knots. Silken textile caught the attention of famous travelers and explorers such as Xuan Zang, Jean- Baptiste Tavernier, and Jean Chardin. Iranians were among the first carpet weavers of the ancient world.
History of the Pazyryk Rug
In a unique archaeological excavation in 1949, the exceptional Pazyryk carpet, the oldest known surviving carpet in the world, was discovered among the ice of the Pazyryk Valley in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. It was discovered in the grave of a Scythian prince by a group of Russian archaeologists under the supervision of Professor Rudenko. Radiocarbon testing revealed that the Pazyryk carpet was woven during the 5th century BC. Just how the rug remained intact is very interesting. The rug had been preserved in the permafrost since the 5th century BC. Soon after the rug had been placed in the burial mound of a Scythian chieftain, grave robbers raided the tomb. Fortunately, the robbers ignored the rug, and in their pursuit, they actually helped to protect the rug from decay. Through the opening, which the robbers left behind, water poured into the mound and froze, and thus protected the rug from decay. This rug is 180 X 198 (5'11" X 6'6") meters, and it has a velvety woolen pile, finely knotted (an average of between 200 to 270 symmetrical knots to the square inch).
The rugs' central field is a deep madder red color, and it has five borders. The primary, widest border contains horsemen. Each horse has an embroidered saddlecloth with a design that resembles the actual Pazyryk rug. The secondary inner border contains rows of deer. The central field depicts repeating quatrefoils, which can be found in the stonework entrances of some of the Assyrian Palaces. The design suggests an Achaemenian Persian origin (Achaemenians were a Persian dynasty, who reigned from 559 BC to 330 BC). The advanced weaving technique used in the Pazyryk carpet indicates a long history of evolution of and experience in this art.
Most experts believe that the Pazyryk carpet is the final achievement of at least one thousand years of experience and history. According to this theory, the art of carpet weaving in Iran is at least 3500 years old. The carpet is now kept in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad. Although there have been fragments of older and finer examples of hand-knotted rugs discovered, these pieces were too tattered to be successfully identified. The Pazyryk Rug has been reproduced in a 100% Worsted Wool Machine made Wilton rug. The Royal Kashan Pazyryk Rug is available in two colorways and various sizes.