One of my fondest memories from childhood brings me back to a cosy fire scene on a chilly winter’s night in the family living room, where I would lay sprawled out with a book on the huge area rug which dominated the room. It was a deep red-colored one with intricate weavings in black and gold. As I close my eyes I can still almost see the pattern. While our area rug was most likely of the discount variety, it was a classic imitation of the Persian rug. These amazing textiles are so much a traditional feature of Persian culture that they have become synonymous with it. Nowadays they can be found in all sorts of varying shapes, sizes, patterns and prices to suit everyone’s taste.
The art of carpet weaving dates back to the times of ancient Persia and is still a thriving industry in modern-day Iran. There are over a million active weavers in Iran today and that country alone manufactures about one third of area rugs in the whole world. Eighty percent of Iran’s rugs are sold outside of the country, making this industry one of its most important. Persian rugs have been made using the same techniques for thousands of years. It is impossible to tell exactly how far back this tradition goes, but there is one example in existence which dates to around 500 B.C. This carpet is about ten feet by six feet in size and was made using an extremely advanced weaving technique which features more than two hundred knots per cubic inch. These facts suggest that the actual art of Persian rug making dates back much further into the Middle Eastern past.
Around the time of 1000 A.D. Persian rugs were used as a form of currency, particularly for paying taxes. Many smaller carpets were also produced then, their primary function being for use as prayer mats. Specific breeds of sheep were developed solely for their wool which was especially suited to making rugs. The Mongolian invasion of Iran in the 13th century brought rug making to an abrupt halt, but the tradition began to thrive again when the Mongol empire fell about a hundred years later. Sophisticated carpet looms were set up with dying facilities nearby and Persian rug-making exploded into its classical era. From the 1500s through to the end of the seventeenth century a huge variety of quality carpets were produced, many of which are now in museums and private collections all around the world. Adolf Hitler had one of these at his office in Berlin and the British Prime Minister’s residence at Number 10 Downing Street in London also features a Classical-era ‘Ardabil’ area rug.
The Persian rug is typically made of wool but cotton is often interwoven to make the carpet more durable. Silk was widely used during the classical period (15th to 17th Centuries), but due to its high price and lack of durability this fabric is much less common nowadays. Modern rugs made from silk are often used as wall-hanging tapestries instead of floor coverings. Traditional area rugs can have varying patterns, but tend to be based on four common themes and can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to make.
Over the past thousand years or so Persian rugs have woven their way into the tapestry of fiction in various forms, especially where their magical qualities are concerned. You may remember the book ‘Thousand and One Nights’. In one of the stories Prince Husain uses a magic carpet to teleport himself from place to place. King Solomon apparently had one of these magic Persian rugs also, while in more recent times they have appeared in the video game Super Mario Bros. 2 where after killing the enemy a player can hop onboard and also in ‘Harry Potter and the goblet of Fire’, in which the U.K. Ministry of Magic outlaws magic carpets. Persian rugs have been used as modes of transport in many other books and movies over the years, among them The Arabian Nights and several incarnations of Aladdin. Rock band Steppenwolf had a hit single called Magic Carpet Ride in nineteen sixty eight and the modern game World of Warcraft features a flying carpet.
You might have trouble finding yourself a magic carpet nowadays, but for all other types of Persian rugs, area rugs and discount rugs you need only visit Esalerugs.com. This company has been travelling the world for four decades, dealing only in the rug trade. Buyers for Esalerugs know how to spot the best deals that are out there and specialize in passing the savings on to every single customer. They have the largest range of rugs in the world, with something to suit every taste and budget. Whether you have a hundred dollars or a hundred thousand, this company has a rug for you at a price you won’t find anywhere else and it will be shipped promptly to your door at no extra cost.
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