Persian Vase Rugs: Bringing the Garden Indoors
An Antique Persian Vase rugs bring a garden of color to indoor spaces. Simply speaking, a vase carpet features one or more vases overflowing with flowers that spill across the design. They can either have a single large vase or several smaller vases throughout the design. There is no doubt that they are some of the most striking and beautiful antique Persian carpets in the world.
However, the antique Persian Vase Rugs from Kerman are even more special, considering their important role in the rise of one of the greatest dynasties in the world.
History of Antique Persian Vase Carpets
Kerman is a city located in, what is today, south central Iran. It became a center of carpet weaving as early as the 15th century and the region produced some of the most prized and highly collectible carpets of today. To the point where one vase rug sold for 10,000,000 while another became the most expensive rug ever sold at auction and brought $34,000,000.
The vase design was most prominent in the 15th and 16th century during the rule of the Safavid Dynasty. The Safavid Dynasty is known as a time of economic revival and the carpet industry was an important part of this economic growth. The courts of the Safavids were lavishly decorated and intended to draw attention to the wealth and success of the rulers. Many of the artistic designs found throughout the Persian Empire first began with artists commissioned by the courts. The designs later spread throughout the region and were mimicked by the local artisans.
Silk and wool were some of the most valuable commodities that were used to produce goods that the Persians traded along the famed Silk Road. Shah Abbas (1571-1629), recognized the commercial benefit of sponsoring the arts and the production of artisan products, including carpets. Local handicrafts were an important part of foreign trade and the economic power of the Dynasty.
By the 16th century, carpet weaving had evolved from its tribal roots into a thriving industry that produced some of the most exquisite rug designs in the world. The antique Persian Kerman rugs became known for their use of color and design, including the prized antique Persian vase rugs. Kerman vase carpets were produced during the Golden Age of the Persian Empire and they are still prized today.
Antique Persian Vase Rugs – Weaving Technique and Rug Design
Many of the court artisans produced patterns and drawings to be distributed to the local artisans. The antique rugs were produced in commercial workshops and in private homes. The materials could include cotton, silk, and wool. The dying of the wool become a highly skilled trade to produce colors that were vibrant and long lasting. Although Persian vase carpets of the Safavid and subsequent periods are rare, many times, the colors have remained as bright as when they were first created.
The Kerman vase carpets of the Safavid, and later periods, used a weaving technique that was unique, and later became known as the “vase” technique. The technique involved using three rows of weft of very fine threads between each row of rug knots. Most Kerman carpets use the asymmetrical knot. The first and third rows are high tension and consisted of wool, but the third is left loose and is typically cotton or silk, but sometimes wool as well. This gave the antique Persian Kerman vase carpets their strength and durability. It also gives them a distinctive structure that allows them to catch the light differently and produces a unique sheen and texture that carpets of the region became known for and is easily recognizable.
The colors of the Kerman vase carpets include ivory, royal blues, rich reds, golden and saffron tones. The colors are often rich and harmonious, blending together in a way that creates contrast in the design and highlights elements chosen by the designer.
The floral patterns of the vase carpet are often connected by intricate vine work in a system that has formal geometric form and structure. They were meant to mimic the formal gardens of the Persian courts during the Golden Age. Antique Persian vase rugs continued to be produced through the 18th century, and their design evolved over time. In some instances, the vase itself is not present, only the suggestion of it. In others, the vase became extravagant and oversized.
Some later variations on the vase design rugs include a central medallion with sweeping floral pattern filling the background of the field. At the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Kerman experienced a revival as a carpet weaving center, relying on many historical and traditional designs, but combining the elements in new ways. Even in the early 20th century, a hand knotted carpet from Kerman could take up to a year to complete.
To own a a true antique Persian vase rug is to own a true treasure of the world.
Check out our beautiful collection of antique Persian Kerman carpets to add a beautiful and unique design feature to your home or office.
This rug blog about antique Persian vase rugs was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rug Gallery in NYC
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