Visual Arts: The History of Persian Rugs


Everyone knows that Persian rugs are more than just ordinary rugs – they’re actually a unique form of art able to catch everyone’s attention, which is exactly what makes them so valuable and outstanding. Besides that, did you know that, according to ancient traditions and beliefs, geometric figures and symbolic motifs protect the owner of a Persian rug from evil and misfortune? We bet you didn’t, so keep on reading to find out more about the history of Persian rugs!

The beginnings of an art form

Persian Rugs

The history of Persian rug dates back to 2,500 years ago, and we can freely say that it was a culmination of artistic magnificence reached by the Iranians who were among the pioneer rug weavers of the ancient civilizations. Did you know that the skill of rug weaving has been handed down from fathers to their sons, who further improved those skills and handed them down to their own sons as a closely guarded family secret? That’s exactly what makes these rugs so authentic and valuable. Besides that, the history of Persian rugs is closely intertwined with the cultural growth of one of the greatest civilizations in the world, which was just the beginning of a unique art form that has gained a lot of respect and recognition over the centuries.

What was the oldest known knotted rug?

Persian rugs

A couple of Russian archaeologists discovered the oldest known knotted rug back in 1949, in the Pazyryk Valley in Siberia, and this piece is said to date back to the 5th century BC. The Pazyryk rug is one of the best examples of skill that has developed and refined over the centuries, and it survived over 2 millennia preserved in the frozen tombs of Scythian nobles. In fact, it’s now one of the most famous showpieces in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. However, the first documented evidence on the existence of Persian rugs actually comes from Chinese texts that date back to the Sassanid Dynasty. In 628 AD, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius brought back a variety of Persian rugs from his conquest of the Ctesiphon, Sassanian capital. The Arabs also conquered this city in 637 AD, and they were introduced to the ‘Springtime of Khosrow’ – an enormous silk rug that measured about 84 square feet and weighed several tons.

Persian rugs in the Safavid Dynasty

Even though mentions of woven Persian rugs are usually closely related with the Sassanid Dynasty, we must say that the tradition of weaving became a major art form during the Safavid Dynasty, between 1501 and 1722 AD.  Some of the finest Persian rugs were designed and woven in royal workshops by experienced designers, weavers, and craftspeople. The majority of those rugs were made usually from silk or wool, whereas gold and silver threads were sometimes used as well. There are about 1,500 priceless pieces that are preserved both in numerous museums and in private collections worldwide. However, two of the most famous rugs of the Safavid period date back to 1539 and come from the mosque of Ardabil. The larger of the two rugs is now a centerpiece in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Did you know that authentic top-quality Persian rugs are available online these days? We reckon you didn’t, so check them out and find your own piece of art right now!

Persian rugs today

Rug weaving is nowadays the most widespread handicraft in Iran, and these people are responsible for sharing their beauty, richness of color, quality of design, and variety of artistic patterns with the rest of the world. In fact, a Persian rug has always been considered the most treasured possession in mansions, palaces, museums, and famous buildings. If you ever find yourself in Iran, you should definitely visit the Carpet Museum of Iran located in Tehran, beside Laleh Park. It exhibits a variety of outstanding pieces from all over Iran that date back from the 16th century to the present day. One thing is certain – handmade Persian rugs are a classic example of art imitating life and life imitating art!


As you can see, Persian rugs are appreciated and valued all across the globe for a good reason. These are truly unique and extremely valuable pieces that teach us about the traditions of one amazing civilization, which is exactly what makes them so fabulous. So, if you get a chance to buy a Persian rug for your home, make sure not to skip it and you’ll see what we were talking about!

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