Vibrant Garden of Patterns

The Mesmerizing Beauty of Persian Art

Author: Meisam Emami Arandi/ Photo by: Carpet Museum of Iran

According to Hans Wulff in 1966, ‘There is no field in the industrial arts in Persia that is as important as carpet weaving, and yet little is known about its early development’.

Here in the gloomy afternoon of the : village, the daylight is gradually giving way to the cold and the darkness of the night. The school year has begun and the relaxing and playing days of the summer are gone. I am sitting next to an oil lamp heater doing my homework. My mother breaks away from her carpet loom and, a few minutes later, comes back after performing her ablution. She sits back down into her seat behind the loom. I ask her why, then, she wasn’t praying after performing her ablution. She replies that it is not time to pray.

Curiously, I ask why she performed an ablution.

She says: ‘Because this is the final row’. I look carefully and notice that the carpet is not more than half woven. I ask: ‘What do you mean it is the final row?’

She explains that she has come to the middle row – the centre of the toranj, or medallion – ‘the point of hope’.

‘Up until now, forming the warp and weft has been difficult. From now on it may come easy, God willing.’

Not pausing, she continues: ‘I give my gratitude to God 100,000 times: that he gave me health, enabling me to weave it up to this point. That is the reason I performed ablution: to thank God and then weave the final row.’

She returns back to her weaving and continues: ‘The middle row is like the fortieth year of life – the point of perfection!’

I was confused with her words then and I am still confused….

I was a child and could not understand many things. My curiosity, however, was the beginning of a path that the more I travelled the more I found to be boundless.

The Importance of the Subject

In culturally developed countries, emphasis is placed on elements that form that culture. People are encouraged to study and be informed in order to become guardians of their own heritage.

In Iran, we also maintain deep cultural and historical knowledge. Further, due to regional diversity, there are different languages and cultural traditions among the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau. Without doubt, these differences have affected the discourse on literature, culture, art, and social life in Iran.

Deeper study of these differences and their impact on cultural outputs, such as fine arts and architecture, throughout Iran’s history is necessary and would be beneficial in order to protect and transform Iran’s cultural heritage for the next generation. Cognition is the first step to salvation’s path.

In the following, the reader may familiarise themselves with the various patterns of the Persian carpet, one of the most internationally renowned fine arts of the region.

Persian Carpet Patterns

Carpet patterns have different names depending on their elements, history and their geographical origin, whether urban or rural. Their names may also describe the main features of the pattern and they have different names in each part of the country.

According to the most recent listings in the Handmade Carpet Lexicon (), No. 1460, which is published by the Iranian National Standardization Organization, carpet patterns can be categorised as follows:

Kheshti or Qab-Qabi (Panel) Patterns

The carpet surface is divided into equal panels and polygonal shapes, in such a way that each, independently and separately from other panels, contains identical figures.

The carpet surface is divided proportionate to the size of the carpet and such patterns are categorized into different subcategories based on the way in which the surface area of the carpet is filled with patterns and symbols…

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