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A Little about Tabriz Rugs

Updated on October 7, 2011

The fantastically beautiful and intricate Tabriz rugs were woven around the town of Tabriz,which is now in Azerbaijan. Because the most beautiful rugs were woven when Azerbaijan was part of the Persian Empire, they're considered members of the Persian rug family. They can be low priced or fantastically expensive, depending on the materials and the quality of the skill that went into making them.

Tabriz rugs usually have cotton foundations, but the very highest quality rugs can be woven from silk as well. They can also be woven from the coarse but strong wool of local sheep. Sometimes the wool can be woven with silk, or metallic thread and silk for an especially breathtaking richness. The weaver uses between 80 and 400 Turkish or Giordes knots per square inch. This knot is formed when the pile yarn is looped across two warp strands. Each end is then drawn back through the inside of both warps. This method produces very compact rugs. The pile on a Tabriz rug can be left short or medium long, but a shorter pile is indicative of very fine knot work on the rug.

The Tabriz rug has a rich and incredibly varied design repertoire and can include everything from garden scenes to scenes from tales and myths. There can be hunting scenes which show humans hunting on horseback, or wild animals pursuing their prey. Since sultans and princes liked to be portrayed as mighty hunters, some Tabriz rugs are actually portraits of noblemen. Rugs with hunting scenes are still produced.

Some rugs have designs that are completely floral. The Shah Abbas design is also very prevalent in Tabriz rugs. These designs represent flowers and palms, and they can be found throughout the rug or in the central medallion. Shah Abbas was a King of Persia who promoted the arts, including the textile arts, in the 16th and 17th centuries. Boteh designs are also popular. The word derives from the Persian word for "cluster of leaves" and is a stylized version of same. It’s the inspiration for the paisley design, and is an almond shaped figure with a curl at the end that narrows to a point. Also popular is the herati pattern. This pattern is believed to have originated in Herat, which is now in Afghanistan. The motif is a flowerhead inside a diamond surrounded by outward curling leaves, and is also known as the fish-in-the-pond design. This design is rarely found outside what was once the Persian empire. Along with this, many Tabriz rug weavers have given their names to their own particular design.


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