Like most types of Persian rugs, Kashan rugs also derive their name from the city of their origin- Kashan. Weaving of these rugs has been traced back to the 17th century and some smaller silk designs have been thought to date back even further to the early 16th century.
Kashan Rugs: Traditional Designs & Intricate Artwork
One of the oldest cities in Iran, Kashan is located in the center and surrounded on all sides by the desert. The mountains to the west provide just enough water for survival but not much more, with the result that the wool was stiffer and harsher and not good for weaving rugs. The early Kashan rugs were made with merino wool, which was imported from Manchester and was softer and finer than the wool locally available. Later rugs used wool sourced from Sabzevar, a region in Iran that produces some of the highest quality wool.
Kashan rugs are instantly recognizable by their distinctive ‘medallion-and-corner’ patterns. This design is inspired by the elaborate patterns found in traditional Persian Ornamentation.
The diamond shaped medallion patterns are woven amidst an equally elaborate garden-like background called the Shah Abbas field. Named after the Mughal ruler who contributed significantly to the popularity of Persian textile art in the 17th century, the Shash Abbas field consists of a series of continuous curvilinear flower forms.
Rich royal reds, blues and ivory as well as burnt orange, yellow and a smattering of greens are some of the traditional colors used in designing a Kashan rug.
Knots, Density & More
Original Kashan rugs have a cotton base and a 100% wool pile. The pile is typically clipped short to showcase the intricacies of the design work. Because these rugs are hand knotted, it is not unusual to find these rugs in varying qualities.
Kashan rugs are usually woven using an asymmetrical kind of double knot called the Senneh knot. The rugs are dense and heavy. A 4′ 6″ x 7′ Kashan could weigh as much as 24 pounds or about 10 kgs. Their double knotting and heavier density makes these rugs extremely durable.
Owning a Kashan
With its intricate design work, high quality wool and exquisite workmanship, owning a Kashan rug is like owning a piece of art and like all pieces of art, it needs to be maintained so retain its quality and its good looks.
- – Direct sunlight tends to fade the colors quickly so make sure you place your rug in an area that is not exposed to sunlight.
- – A gentle vacuuming once a week will help remove dirt and debris that can scuff the wool dull the design outlines.
- – Kashan rugs are sturdy enough to take on the weight of your furniture without showing any signs of stress. However, when placing furniture over any type of rug, it is always advisable to rotate the furniture placement every once.
With proper care you can expect to hand your Kashan rug over to the next generation in the same condition that you bought it.