History of Persian Rugs

Persian carpets were among the first rugs ever created. Their history dates back to the Achaemenid Empire that stretched through Europe, Asia and Africa from 550 B.C. to 350 B.C. Historical evidence shows that the first carpets were made from bamboos and stalks of plants growing in marshlands of lower Transoxania. In order to produce a more complete and better floor covering, men began to produce a kind of mat by intertwining the wools of animal.

Although the first floor covering seemed suitable for people living in tents, they were not as comfortable as today’s carpets sold in a Persian rug store; for this reason animal skins were later used as floor covering. Weaving this kind of carpet is still common among Kyrkyz tribes. Given the nomadic life of people living in Central Asia and their occupation in cattle breeding gradually made it necessary for those people to spend their leisure time on producing cheap and durable floor covering using twisted wool fibers.

Until recently, most archaeologists believed that today’s common pile carpets had come into existence in Iran one thousand years ago and had no precedence elsewhere in the world. However, the discovery of a Pazyryk rug from the tomb of a Pazyryk ruler in southern Siberia by a Russian team of archaeologists near the border with Mongolia caused the historians to change their previous theory and announce that weaving of piled carpets dated back to 500 years before the birth of Christ.

The weaving of handmade Persian rugs was a major part of the pre-Islamic Persian world. For example, the Arch Palace of the Sassanid King Khosrow Parviz in Cteiphone was said to be covered by a carpet of golden threads known as the “Four Seasons of Baharestan.” During the advent of Islam in the 8th century, the Azerbaijan province was among the largest centers of Persian carpet and rough area rug weaving in the world. In addition, dye centers were also set up next to carpet weaving looms. This created a thriving industry that existed until the Mongol invasion of Persia. Today, every Persian carpet company has these ancient forefathers to thank for their business.