Kashan Carpets & Rugs

Kashan is a town on the fringes of the central desert on the traditional route to India. Legend has it that the town was founded in the 8th century by Zubaidah b’int Jafar, the wife of the great Abbassid Caliph Harun Ar Rashid.

Kashan has always historically enjoyed a reputation for its quality of woven textiles since the Safavid period. However due to the general decline of the industry in the 18th century, the Kashan textile industries did not revive until the late 19th century. Due to its geography and desert climate, agricultural production in this region is difficult. The native Kashans had thus turned to the textiles industry to make a living. The 19th century revival of the Carpet industry in Kashan is owed very much to the work of one family. It was the marriage of a local merchant, Hajji Mollah Hassan, with a skilled weaver from Arak which provided the impetus for revival.[1] Hajji Mollah had a surplus of unsalable Merino Wool from Manchester and had instructed his young wife to start weaving rugs. A suitable design and set of dyes was chosen and in time we had the birth of the modern Kashan Rug. It was from this very period in which this Rug has come from.[2]

Kashan carpets use a rich strong range of colours in which red, black, green, blue and white dominate. Silk has long been produced in the Kashan area and a number of early Kashan rugs were all made of some of the finest silk. The quality of the rugs are so fine that by the end of the 19th century Kashan Rugs were the most consistently finely knotted of all Persian Rugs.[3]Favoured Kashan designs continue to be floral patterns arranged in arabesques,floral medallions, escutcheons and corners. [4] This rug possesses a ‘mihrab’ design and was designed to be used as a prayer rug. Prayer rugs are characterized by the prayer niche, or ‘mihrab, an arch-shaped design at one end of the carpet. The mihrab, which probably derives from the prayer niche in mosques, must point toward Mecca while the rug is in use.

[1] Arthur Cecil Edwards, The Persian Carpet: A Survey of the Carpet Weaving Industry of Persia, (London, 1953), p334

[2] ibid

[3] Murray Eiland III, Antique Oriental Rugs , (Suffolk, 2003)pg 37

[4] Ian Bennett , Oriental and African Rugs and Carpets, in Ian Bennett (ed.), Rugs and the Carpets of the World, (London,1978), pg 239