While the country of Iran may be in today’s headlines for all sorts of reasons, it seldom gets mention for the astonishing beauty of the rugs it has exported for centuries.
Yet a Persian rug-Persia being the ancient name for Iran-now on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is regarded as the finest carpet being exhibited anywhere in the world. And in 1999, Christie’s auctioned a Persian rug from the classic Safavid period for $2,000,000.
The United States, in 2000, lifted a 13-year-old ban on the import of rugs from Iran, so Persian rugs are once again among the most sought-after home accessories. From the simple patterns of Tabriz, to the elaborate floral patterns of Qom, rugs from each different province of Iran have distinct characters, and you are sure to find one which will be the perfect complement to your décor.
What should you look for when purchasing a Persian rug? First, and foremost, buy what you like, no matter what the trends in home fashion may be. A Persian rug is meant to last for generations, and you will be living with it for a long time. Take heart in the fact that, if your tastes are somewhat out of step with current interior design fads, they, after all, are just fads. Your turn will come soon enough.
And while the seventy-year life span of a silk Persian rug, with its vivid colors and designs, may seem adequate, woolen Persian rugs which are well-tended will offer beauty and service for centuries.
During the Safavid period of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Persians bred sheep specifically for the quality of their fleeces, so that they would have the finest wool to weave their rugs. The $2,000,000 Persian rug auctioned at Christie’s was from that period. By buying a wool Persian rug, you may be making an investment as well as a home improvement purchase.
When selecting your Persian rug, take the time to count its knots. Rugs with more knots have more detail and a more even backing; one-hundred-and-twenty knots per square centimeter, according to William Robinson of Christie’s, is the minimum for which you should settle.
Make certain, once you’ve brought your Persian rug home, to maintain it well. Dampness will create mold and weaken its fibers, so run a dehumidifier on wet or sticky days; summer air conditioning is also a good idea. A weekly vacuuming, and bi-annual professional cleaning, will keep it in tip-top condition.
Clean spills with paper towels and warm water; chemicals or bleach will affect the colors and possibly weaken the fibers of your Persian rug. And if you rug is exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, turn it every three or four months, to prevent it from fading excessively in one area.
One of the biggest joys of owning a Persian rug is that, unlike other of your eye-catching home accessories, Persian rugs not only allow vigorous use; they blossom under it. The wool will soften, and the colors become more vivid, with wear.
When you buy your Persian rug, you’ll be buying both an artwork, and a piece of history. So care for it, enjoy it, and pass it down!
Author: Matt Garrett - © 2007 1stRugs.Com - Got the rug blues? Get “Rugucated" Today! 21 top tips for rug care to make sure your favorite rug remains your pride and joy for years to come.