Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Makes Ardabil Carpets So Valuable and Unique?

What Makes Ardabil Carpets So Valuable and Unique?

Nothing says luxury and elegance like a fine carpet. And for those looking for the highest in caliber and design, the only option is to purchase an Iranian carpet. This is because Iranian carpets contain the essence of what a fine carpet is supposed to be. For example, the famed Ardabil carpets are perfect examples of perfection. From their vast details to their creative weaving design, these carpets are some of the most sought-after carpets in the world. Even though they are housed in two separate museums, numerous visitors travel long and far to get their eyes on these historical carpets. There are a variety of factors that make these carpets so unique.


Created 470 years ago, the Ardabil carpets have a long history. They were created for the shrine of Sufi leader, Sheikh Safi. And although that shrine was the home of both of the carpets for more than 300 years, various circumstances resulted in their separation. The carpets were bought and sold numerous times before ending up in American and English museums. The interesting thing is that these carpets were so valuable, people tried to pass off copies as originals. For example, it is said that there was an Ardabil carpet at 10 Downing Street. In addition, even Hitler claimed to have owned an Ardabil carpet in his office.

Authentic inscription

The Ardabil carpets have a significant place in Islamic history. The carpets even contain an inscription:

"Other than thy threshold I have not refuge in this world
My head has no resting place other than this doorway
Work of a servant of the court, Maqsud of Kashan, [in] the year 946 [1539-40]"

The fact that these carpets include poetry from Persian lyric poet, Hāfez (1315-1390), is simply amazing and another great thing that makes Ardabil carpets one of a kind.

Intricate design work

Shah Tahmasp wanted these carpets created for the shrine of his ancestor, Sheikh Safi, so it is without a doubt that they had to be perfect. Defining parts of these Ardabil carpets include complex design and scrollwork. The carpets consist of asymmetric (Persian) knots, roughly 518.000 knots per square meter, silk and wool. In addition to a big, yellow medallion in the center, with two lamps on either side, the bulk of the carpets have in-depth scrollwork located in the main section of the carpets – the blue background. This includes flowers, leaves and other greenery intertwined together.

Rare find

Besides their remarkable beauty, the main reason why these carpets were praised so much is because there was knowledge of only one at the time of discovery. The carpet received the highest compliment from one very notable British designer and artist named William Morris. He called the carpet, among other things, "a remarkable work of art…its design is of singular perfection…"

With such praise and demand for the Ardabil carpets, it's obvious why these carpets are of such high value and rivaled by no other.

Khosrow Sobhe (DR. Kay)
Certified Rug Specialist (CRS)

1 comment:

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