Tabriz Rugs: A Result of History, Creativity & Diversity
History of Tabriz Rugs
The capital city of the province of Azerbaijan, Tabriz has for hundreds of years enjoyed a great reputation as a thriving center of Persian culture.
Creativity flourished in this northwestern region during the period between 1587 and1629. The ruler at that time, Shah Abbas the Great, encouraged artisans in the art of creating miniature paintings, embroidered silks and illuminated manuscripts. In this richly creative atmosphere, the weavers of Tabriz rugs were inspired to create some of the most extraordinary oriental rugs.
After the end of the Safavid Empire in the early 18th century, the legendary craftsmanship of the region nosedived but was gradually revived between 1786 and 1925 under the Qajar Dynasty.
The 1880s saw another golden age underway as Tabriz slowly reestablished its reigning position as a center of high quality oriental rugs.
Diverse Designs of Tabriz Rugs
While you will see some degree of diversity between rugs of the same type, the range that you see in Tabriz rugs is simply breathtaking. On the one hand there are rugs with simple geometric designs and on the other hand are the dense floral motifs with foliage, garden elements, palmettos and small flowers scattered everywhere in wild profusion. Some rugs feature the Herati/Mahi designs and still others have the medallion or figural designs. The edges usually feature hunting scenes, assorted flowers and various other geometric patterns. Tabriz weavers also create the fascinating 3-D rugs.
Some weaving villages prefer to use the Islimi style or the Shah Abbasi style in their rugs and some even use a combination of both styles resulting in some of the most interesting designs.
Colors & Construction of Tabriz Rugs
All Tabriz rugs are always hand woven and although the techniques may vary from one region to another, the same style flows through all of the rugs from any one particular region. This is because the knotting techniques are handed down from one generation to the next, leading to a certain amount of continuity in the techniques used.
The colors as well as the combination of colors used in the designs, gives these rugs a highly sophisticated look. The predominant colors used are ivory, copper ones, terracotta and burgundy. Complementing these main colors are various shades of blue, ranging from light baby blue to dark navy blue. Accented highlights are provided with hints of gold, salmon, green and tan.
The way they are constructed is another exclusive feature of Tabriz rugs. Double wefts are used, which consist of either cotton or wool and the warp is usually cotton. In some of the more high-end rugs, silk and wool are used in the construction and in the extremely high end rugs, silk is used in the pile as well as the foundation. These rugs have a KPSI range of about 120 – 850 knots, which is fairly dense. The nap is trimmed short in the higher quality rugs and left slightly longer in the average rugs.