Nain rugs differ from most other types of Persian rugs in that they are made up of depressed cotton warps and two shoots of cotton wefts.
Nain rugs are knotted by hand using asymmetrical Persian knots and wool and silk pile on a cotton warp. The rugs are then clipped closely so that the design stands out more sharply in focus.
The city of Nain has earned a reputation around the world for producing some of the finest handmade rugs. The special feature of Nain rugs is the high percentage of silk that is used in making the rugs.
In addition to the high quality of the material itself, the designs and the color combinations that the weaver use in their rugs is simply magnificent.
The City of Nain
Nain is a small city located in the center of Iran, just a few kilometers away from the other famous rug producing city of Esfahan.
Interestingly, unlike other rug producing cities of Iran, Nain was not historically a rug manufacturing city. Before the 20th century, the city was better known worldwide for manufacturing handmade woolen cloth of high quality.
However, around the beginning of the 20th century when this business started to decline for several different reasons, the authorities began to look towards rug manufacturing. At first, they got their rugs woven by weavers from the nearby city of Esfahan.
This is one of the reasons why, when you look at contemporary Nain rugs, you will notice that many of these rugs have several similar design elements as Isfahan rugs.
However, despite these similarities, it is not too difficult to distinguish a Nain rug as they do retain their unique color and design characteristics.
This is because, once the local tribes within Nain started weaving their own rugs, they incorporated their own personal style into their work, giving it a few distinct features that make these rugs instantly identifiable.
Nain Rugs Safavid Design
Nain rugs take their inspiration from the Safavid design. During their rule around 1502-1722, Safavid rulers brought about a lot of changes in the patterns and designs incorporated into the rugs.
They established schools, workshops and factories where Nain weavers were encouraged and taught to create more sophisticated rugs with highly complex and elaborate designs.
The Safavid influence can be seen in the stylized medallions, floral patterns, tendrils and mythical creatures featured in Nain rugs.
Some highly skilled master weavers even wove human figures into their designs.
Who Is Master Artist Fatollah Habibian
Master artist Fatollah Habibian is a well-known and highly revered Nain master weaver. He is widely regarded as the ‘Father of Nain rugs’.
Fatollah Habibian established one of the most renowned Nain rug-making workshops.
All Nain rugs produced in their workshop was of the highest quality featuring fine, intricate designs and precise weaving techniques carried out by skilled weavers.
Fatollah Habibian and his brother Mohammed Habibian ran the workshop until their deaths. The quality, trust, and prestige of the Habibian signature remains unparalleled.
‘LAA’, The fineness Indicator Of Nain Rugs
LAA is a Farsi term that means layers. In Nain rugs it refers to the layers of each warp that go into the weaving the rug. Because the extra length of warps are what make up the fringe, the LAA can also be counted as the number of yarn fibers that make up one fringe.
LAA is used to assess the quality of Nain rugs. A Nain rug with an LAA of 4 is considered to be the best.
Nain rugs with an LAA of 9 are also considered good quality but among the Nains, they are of the lowest quality. This speaks volumes about the high quality of Nain rugs in general.
Construction Of Nain Oriental Rugs
Nain rugs usually have a cotton foundation and high quality kork wool and silk pile that is clipped short, which defines the design elements clearly. They are created using asymmetrical Persian knots.
The construction of Nain rugs differs from most other types of Persian rugs in that they are made up of depressed cotton warps and two shoots of cotton wefts. The warps are the cords that run up and down the length while the wefts are the cords that run side to side.
Pulling the wefts tightly from both sides displaces the warps into two levels resulting in a depressed warp.
Patterns Of Nain Rugs
Nain weavers primarily used the Shah Abbas design to create their patterns.
Nain rugs typically feature very elaborate and finely detailed curvilinear floral patterns with forked leaves, which is reminiscent of the arabesque style. Animal motifs were often interspersed in between.
Another motif that can often be seen in Nain rugs is the Islimi motif, which is made up of multiple star medallions.
Primary patterns in Nain Rugs
Colors Of Nain Rugs
The colors of Nain rugs too have been influenced by Isfahan rugs.
Every shade of blue is used in these rugs along with beige, gray and brown on ivory or cream backgrounds.
White silk is used for outlining the motifs. Green, yellow and orange are not commonly seen in these rugs but they are used occasionally to highlight certain design aspects.
Construction of the rugs was done using the Persian knot and a higher knot count density.
Most Nain rugs have about 300 to 700 knots per square inch. The pile, which is made up of very quality wool or silk, is clipped short for better design definition.
The high knot count means that these rugs took not just months but sometimes several years to complete.
End And Side Finishes Of Nain Rugs
The extra lengths of warp are left unfinished at the ends of the rugs. When the weaver has completed weaving their rug, they knot the warp ends into fringes. The sides are finished by overcasting with a single wool cord. This gives them a neat look.
Nain Rugs Sizes
Nain Oriental Rugs are usually found in small to medium sizes with a few available in larger room sizes.
Smaller Nain rugs range from about 3’2″ x 4’10” to 3’4″ x 5′.
Medium size rugs range from about 5’9″ x 9’1″ to 6’11” x 11’3″
You can also find elaborately designed round Nain rugs measuring approximately 9’5″ in diameter as well as square Nain rugs measuring 8’6″ x 8’6″.