Apart from the pleasant weather, there are many benefits to living in this part of the world. One of the highlights is the availability of beautiful Persian carpets, which can be found almost everywhere. But many people purchase these colourful rugs and are not quite sure of the authenticity of, or story behind, what they are buying. Most of us choose the carpet because it matches our colour scheme at home or because we like the intrinsic detail. What many of us don't realise is that our Persian rug is so much more than a piece of home furnishing. Well, these carpets have a very rich history.

The origin of a Persian carpet can be identified through its pattern

"The Persians were among the first civilizations to enter the billion-dollar carpet-weaving industry. They built their unsurpassable reputation in the art employing their superb skills, improving upon talents of the past and applying unique techniques and ingenuity. During the Safavid dynasty (1502 to 1736 AD), Iran became world-renowned for its artistic glory. Court weaving, calligraphy, miniature painting, and tile work are just a handful of the numerous arts that flourished during this period. This brilliant era witnessed the fast-paced growth of state of the art carpet factories, mainly in the cities of Kerman, Esfahan, Kashan, Tabriz and Herat. Iran is undoubtedly the unparalleled pioneer of most motifs, patterns and traditional colours produced in rugs worldwide. Over the centuries, Persian carpets have become treasured heirlooms passed down from generation to generation."

Indeed, these carpets are heirlooms and, unlike trends in home furnishings, they are long-term investments. Owing to its artistic splendour, the Persian carpet has received the international respect and acknowledgement that it deserves for several centuries now. They can be found in palaces, landmark buildings, mansions and museums in all corners of the globe. They are considered one of the most treasured possessions a person can own. Like other artefacts, they have a continuously appreciating monetary and emotional value."

For carpets to increase in value, owners have to take care of them, but this needn't be an arduous task. A good quality carpet requires very little maintenance. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your carpets looking good. Being among the most expensive carpets in the world, Persian carpets require a special form of maintenance. Firstly, regular vacuuming allows it to maintain its best appearance. Raking the carpet before vacuuming is also commonly observed as this technique allows the loosening of dirt, pet hair and pile, making the vacuuming far more effective. Stubborn spills and stains require immediate attention, as these can spread rapidly and penetrate the carpet's fibres. Solids can easily be scooped up using ordinary household items such as spoons or palette knives; however, it is best to work your way towards the centre of the spillage as this reduces the chances of it spreading." Having your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months helps them realise their full life-span. It also keeps them looking better and feeling softer.

Weaving an ancient Persian Carpet in a traditional store

Some carpets also have a quirky history. One such carpet is known as the Jail Carpet, which is quite possibly the most expensive in the world. They originated during the Mughal Empire under the patronage of one of the greatest Mughal emperors, Akbar. He was a great propagator of the arts and culture and decided to incorporate the teaching of carpet weaving to prisoners to achieve a greater sense of education, patriotism and responsibility among prisoners and also to give them a hobby to stop them causing trouble. Between 1520 and 1530 AD, he brought some of the finest carpet weavers from the most well-known carpet workshops of Persia to teach the prisoners the art of weaving carpets. These prisoners responded well, taking a lot of pride in their work and eventually outshining their masters. The carpets were made for the palaces of India and some were also sent abroad in the form of diplomatic gifts.

The designs were rare and quite different from the traditional Persian, Turkish and Central Asian carpet designs. A lot of the designs were based on the original Indian patterns that were popular before the Mughal influence. These carpets can cost up to Dh2.5 million today.

There are certain attributes that you should look for if you're currently searching for a Persian rug. We have created a very unique and simple way of learning about rugs, which areas they originate from and how to distinguish between the different types. There are 13 attributes by which we can classify all the areas making these rugs in the world. Some of these attributes include size, colour (rugs and carpets can be identified by their background and border colours), layout, pattern, style, make, condition and weave.

 

 "Always buy the carpet from a reputable store. You don't want to end up with an inferior quality carpet for your hard-earned money."

Edited by: Surabhi Sudarsan