The characteristics and important factor that have made the
carpets of this land world- famous are their pleasant,
varied and unique design. Each Persian carpet has a design
of its own, so that thousands of fascinating designs can be
seen in the whole range of Persian carpets, each being very
beautiful and possessing perfect harmony.
When the Persian
artist, gifted with very good taste, came into contact
with the culture and arts of new settlers in the country
and also with the culture and arts of those who invaded
this country, they selected the designs which were most
appealing and pleasing and incorporated them in their
national designs. Thus, with the presentation of all the
designs, the original ones and those introduced later,
the artists were able to raise the art of carpet
designing to its highest level.
The joint efforts of these designers together with the
work of experienced dyers and the silk of artistic and
patient weavers eventually resulted in the production of
a most beautiful and glorious creation the “Persian
Carpet”. The durability and unique fineness of Persian
rugs and carpets, together with the special quality of
the wool used and the brilliant fast colours gave
Persian carpets their world wide reputation and placed
them on the throne of the carpet art and industry.
Progress towards the
perfection of the designs of Persian carpets was
gradual. According to historical evidence, the designs
prior to the Safavid dynasty were all geometrical.
During this period,
the art of carpet design, like other fine arts, reached
perfection. It must also be stressed that at the same
time the motifs portrayed on the tiles of the buildings,
the forms worked on the plaster-mouldings and the
designs of the carpets influenced and enriched each
The attractive designs
of Persian carpets and the harmonious dyes have for many
years been accepted by all those interested in carpets.
Today, most of the carpet weaving centres in the world,
fully aware of this universal acceptance, weave their
carpets with Persian designs and do not make much effort
to present new designs, as they feel that they cannot
improve on the existing ones.
With the exception of
those carpets portraying scenes or faces, most Persian
carpets are symmetrical.
Classification of the Persian carpet on the base of the
Before talking about the variety of the design, it is
opportune to mention that all the designs can basically
be categorised into three principal groups. All the
motifs and figures which constituted the design are made
from composition, contact, rotation and balance of the
If the lines along
their route make angles the design is in geometrical
style. But if the lines in their course don’t make
angles, the design will be classified in the curvilinear
group. Should the lines of the design in some part of
their route make angles and in others make roundish
movements the design belongs to the stylised group. Most
Persian carpets are decorated with medallion, (Toranj),
The medallion is
always located in the centre of the Layout and the shape
may be round, oval, rhomboid or radial of different
sizes which varies according to the taste and custom of
the weavers. Instead of a single medallion we may find
two or three medallions on the central line of the
carpet. Usually on the top and bottom of medallion there
are two pendants,(Sartoranj). One fourth of the
medallion shape or something of a similar form when
repeated in the corners of the field is named corner
Lachack. All Persian designs are categorised in two main
These designs have been influenced by old and noble
Persian Patterns that were created by the native carpet
weavers. The simplicity of life enjoyed by the weavers
is reflected in the style of their production. In spite
of the patterns, which are not ordered and regular, the
designs are still attractive and pleasant.
The designers have
transferred these patterns from one district to another
so that these designs can be found from the furthest
east to the furthest west of the country. Sometimes
these designs are recognised by the name of the
production zone such as Maziaghan, Ferdous, Veis, and
may take the name of the Chieftain such as Salar-Khflni,
Yaghub Khani, All- Mirzai. Heibatlu is one of the most
famous patterns of this group which is associated to
Abadeh in the province of Fars. Most tribal designs are
in geometric and stylised style.
The designs of Urban carpets in comparison to tribal
patterns are more elaborate and precise, therefore to
realise them the weaver needs to use the tenplate.
Every compartment of
this millimetric sheet represents one knot of the
Here below we study thirteen kinds of designs.
The basic sketch is formed from specially designed
flowers, which are known as Shah Abbasi. It is set off
by other floral designs and occasionally Eslimi motif,
these abstract flowers form the main design in the field
and the border, all over (Afshan), medallion,
Sheikh-Safi, tree, animal, turreted medallion are the
better known in the secondary group of this design.
Abstract circular branches of a tree amidst leaves are
the basic form of this design.
The branches are
adorned with foliate spurs known as Eslimi. There are
many kinds of
Eslimi designs predominating in some carpets of which
the Dahan Ajdari is the best
The shape of the vase in different sizes can be seen in
the carpet of this category. Some large vases are
repeated throughout the ground.
Zell-e-Sultan vase, Hal khanumi vase, all over vase are
the minor groups of this design
This beautiful nomadic design was created in the city of
Harat (the capital of Timur) now in Afghanistan. A basic
sketch is formed from a central diamond shaped figure
framed by four slightly curling leaves which could be
repeated in the field and the borders.
Entwined fish (Mahi-dar-ham)
pattern is one of the sub-patterns of this category which
was produced for the first time in Khorasan but gradually it
found its way to other carpet weaving areas of Iran.
Sub — patterns are: Mahi
(fish)Farahan, Mahi Sanandaj.
The base of this design is a tree. Sub-patterns include:
tree and animal, floral profusion, vase tree , cypress tree.
Botteh design (Paisley Pattern)
The Botteh design is the
abstract form of the cypress tree common in both Indian and
Iranian patterns from olden times and for many years t had
had a good market. There are various forms and sizes in the
Botteh designs in Iran. The famous one of this category are:
Botteh jegheh, Botteh terme, Botteh saräband or Botteh Mir,
Botteh Ghalamkar Esfahan, Botteh Kordastani and Botteh
The field of the carpet in this design is divided by some lateral panels and the carpet looks just
like a chess-board. The interior of each panel is decorated by the traditional motif of each district
such as vase, Botteh, bunch of Grapes, Willow, flowers, birds, animals etc. This design which is originally
from Bakhtiari area, is appreciated also by the craftsmen of Tabriz, Ghom, Birjand. Sub — patterns are Bakhtiari panel, Eslimi panel.
Historical building design
To create these designs the inspiration has been taken from the tile work and architecture of ancient buildings.
In the course of history carpet designers have copied the main patterns and created similar designs.
Portrait and pictorial
In this kind of designs,
political personages, portraits, landscapes and painting are
depicted and constitute the main subjects of this category,
which are common in the high level workshops of Tehran,
Tabriz and Kerman.
Prayer (Mehrabi) design
The prayer niche in the mosque
where the Imam prays inspires the basic design of the rug.
Some ornaments such as columns, headband, candelabrum
(Ghadil), Shah Abbasi flowers, may enrich this design. Among
the numerous variations are tree prayer (Mehrabi Derakhti),
vase prayer (Mehrabi Goldani), candelabrum prayer (Mehrabi
Normally in carpet designs all the components and forms are joined and linked together as if the painter’s
pen has never ceased its movement from the beginning until the end of the sketch. In the Afshan design, the flowers,
branches and other motifs are scattered on the surface of the carpet without being joined.
Well-known patterns in
this group are: Afshan Shah Abbasi, Afshan bouquet of
flower, Afshan gol Farang.
When a small portion of a design is repeated and connected throughout the length and
width, the pattern is called interconnected (Bandi).
Sub patterns of this
group are known as Bandi Varamin or Mina — Khani, Bandi
Bandi Mollah Nasreddin, interconnected cartouche,
interconnected deer horn (Bandi
Stripped (Moharramat) design
This name is applied to designs which are repeat in narrow strips along the length of a carpet.
Each strip has its own
specific colour and design in some areas of Iran this
pattern is also known as Ghalamdani. Botteh Moharramat is
one of the sub — patterns of this design.