Vintage persian rugs are more than just floor coverings—they’re heirlooms that represent an unbroken link to historic weaving traditions from the erstwhile Persian empire. They carry with them a sense of luxury and can transform a space from an ordinary room into a stately manor.
A truly authentic and classic rug will show its age through the use of natural dyes. Sheep’s wool was the primary textile used, though goat or camel hair could also be found. Historically, dyes were made from natural materials, such as madder roots for reds, chamomile or onion for yellows, and indigo for blue. Even today, natural dyes are the preferred choice for carpeting since they tend to be more durable than synthetic dyes.
The varying characteristics of sheep’s wool, available dyes, and regional influences gave rise to different rug-making styles throughout the country. Those woven in city centers like Isfahan are floral and intricate, often using no less than 15 colors for one design. Those from rural villages, such as Heriz, are known for their symmetrical designs and geometric medallions. The motifs on antique Persian rugs are often decoded as symbols, with peonies, for example, symbolizing power and pomegranates indicating fertility.
Vintage persian rugs, especially those from the 16th century Safavid court manufactories, are often considered the pinnacle of Persian rug-making art. These rugs, and those from other locales, are highly prized for their artistry, primal colors, and at times seemingly “modern” graphic designs.