Isfahan rugs are knotted on either silk or cotton foundations, with up to 1.000.000 Persian knots per sqm, using exceptionally good quality (Often Kurk) wool for the pile, which is normally clipped quite low. In contemporary items the palette is normally more pastel, and technical perfection is generally of greater importance than artistic flair. Contemporary Isfahan’s are however extremely attractive, and the subduing of the palette, particularly the elimination of strong reds, makes them more compatible with Western decorative schemes.
A range of traditional designs are still used including allover Shah Abbas, Vase, Tree of Life and Pictorial schemes but by far the most popular composition is based on a circular central medallion (Derived from the famous mosque of Shah Lutf Allah in Isfahan) set against an elegantly sculpted field decorated with intricately purling vine palmette and flor motifs.
Antique/ semi-Antique rugs of Isfahan are more colorful and richer in tone than that of Nain, a nearby city renowned for its exceptional handmade rugs. Antique Isfahan’s are quite sought after since production had been almost completely been halted since 1722, during which the Afghan invasion occurred. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that it was firmly reestablished.
Shah Abbas the Great was an inspired King of the Safavid dynasty, and in consequence not only moved the capital of Persia to Isfahan from Qazvin but also started a artistic renaissance within the capital of his court. Under his vision and guidance carpet weaving in Isfahan flourished. However the Afghan invasion dealt a serious blow to this industry which it never recovered from until the beginning of the 20th century. Some early pieces created in the last century can be found which consist of 500.000knots-1.000.000knots/m2, however these are rare and few in number. World war I brought a change in “modern” Isfahan which was the center of weaving for the fashion industry of Iran. The change of fashion in the world also influenced Iran, causing Isfahan to loose its lucrative fabric industry. However, the shrewd businessman of Isfahan decided to utilize the fine quality wool in fabrics and Aba’s into high quality persian rugs which again reestablished Isfahan as a base for one of the finest and most beautiful carpets of Iran.
Persian court with King and mulla’s wearing aba’s
Many of the designs which consisted of medallions, tree of life, and vase designs reflected the tiles found on the beautiful architecture of the Safavid period.
Sheikh Lutfollah Mosque: Construction of the mosque started in 1603 and was finished in 1619. It was built by the chief architect Shaykh Bahai, during the reigh of Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty. Many of the tiles of the architecture of this period served as inspiration for the carpet designers of Isfahan of the early 20th century.