Cities, such as Tabriz, Kerman, Kashan, and Meshed, are historically the largest in Iran and the most important centers of trade. During the "court" period (late 16th to early 18th centuries), finely knotted silk carpets, with gold and silver threads woven, were woven for the Safavid nobility. A court miniaturist created the designs, which were then converted to cartoons and used as models for the weavers. Persian artists, constantly searching for something new, devised more and more complex designs, and often introduced religious and poetic verses into the rug.
Court carpet workshops closed in the early 18th century, when the towns were occupied by the Afghans. In the 1920's, however, workshop carpets from these cities began to appear in Europe again, and they are still among the most outstanding oriental carpets that it is possible to find. The pile is cut very short, so that the contours of the pattern emerge very clearly. Almost all the city workshop carpets have a bright ground and symmetrical design. Medallions are often lobed, with 8 or 16 points.
Best-quality carpets are not normally woven in very large sizes, because they take several years to make. Many city carpets are renowned for their fine detailing. The pictorial rugs are justly famous, and include the four seasons (an allegory of the life of an Azerbaijanian peasant), ruins of mosques and palaces (of which there are many in the area), and magnificent vases and bowls found by archaeologists. Meshed carpets usually date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the most common design is the medallion, usually round or elongated in shape, and decorated with pendants and floral motifs. They are sometimes made with the jufti knot, which originated in the region. The coarser qualities are not particularly hard-wearing.
*sourced from 'Carpet Style' by Barty Phillips
Certified Rug Specialist (CRS)