One of the most prominent Iranian arts known all over the world is carpet weaving. The carpet weaving in Iran has background of thousands of years and has always been one of the most beautiful handiworks in the world.
From the very beginning, Iranians have been designing and implementing carpet drawings using the aesthetic sense and assimilating ancient art. They have always used inspirations and a combination of the best mystical drawings, trying to improve this unique industry as much as possible.
As we mentioned above, the beginning of carpet weaving was not in the Safavid Era and it started thousands of years ago. However, during the Safavid Dynasty, the kings paid special attention to this art. They built special places for carpet weaving. Carpet weaving in cities of Mashhad, Tabriz and Kashan was more common than other cities.
They have created various carpet designs and drawings in this period, which are still among the most wonderful ones. At the command of the kings in this period, everyone would be able to have the copy right of their own style special style, so, this resulted in preserved the originality of the carpets and led to creating beautiful and various styles.
Different Types Of Field Designs In Safavid Era
- The Shah Abbasi’s flower design
This type contains designs of various flowers. Flowers such as Pomegranate, Almond Flower, Flower Basil, Rose, Nastaran Flower, etc.
Due to the extreme beauty of this design, they attributed its name to Shah Abbas Safavi, one of the most known kings of the Safavid Era. The design of Shah Abbasi flower is one of the most famous designs of carpet weaving during the Safavid Era. Of course, this design changed during the time and now, it has some differences with the original designs in Safavid Era.
- Islamic designs
A kind of carpet weaving design that combines spiral curves with short branches of flowers and leaves. At the beginning, they used Islamic designs in painting and tiling, but gradually it find its role in carpet weaving.
- Toranj (medallion) design
The overall layout of the medallion design is a quadrilateral, rhombus or a star shape, which they fill this shapes with Islamic design (flowers and leaves). It is better to know that sometimes in Safavid style of carpet weaving, they use a band of cloud instead of flowers, but the basic medallion design has leaves and flowers in it.
- Guardian border design
The Safavids usually used simple designs in marginal sides of the field design and called it Guardian border design.
So far, we have become familiar with field designs of carpet weaving in Safavid Era, and now we are going to talk about carpet plans of that time.
Field design talks about differentiated shapes used inside the carpet, but the carpet plan is an overall view of all the shapes used in the carpet together.
Carpet plans of Safavid Era
Carpet plans in Safavid Era includes designs like:
Gardan plan, Lechek Torūnj, Goldani, Shekargah, Herati, Derakht o Booteh, Baghi, Polish and Shah Abbasi. We will discuss a few of them.
- Lechek Torunj plan
Inspiration of these designs came from designs found on the cover of Holy Quran and sacred books. The beautiful designs of the Holy Quran have attracted the attention of carpet designers and encouraged them to use those designs on their carpets. Due to the fact that the Lechek Torunj designs have a religious bases, they have been very popular among the carpet weavers. From the Safavid period onwards, they have woven too many carpets with this format.
- Goldani plan
As the name suggests (Goldani means pot), the basic shapes of this plan are pot-shaped. In some of the Goldani designs, there is only one large flowerpot in the center of the carpet. However, in multi-pot designs, you can see several pots symmetrically are put around the texts or in rows.
Goldani plan has different kinds such as Goldani-e Khataii, Goldani-e Mehrabi, Goldani-e Sarasari, Goldani-e Dotarafeh, Goldani-e Haj Khanomi, Goldani-e Tekrari, etc.
- Shekargah Plan
A plan that portrays a hunting ground wonderfully beyond your imagination. You may see a figure of a lion, a zebra and a huntsman who wants to hunt them. The presence of such designs in the carpet indicates their age and we can learn a lot from them.
- Polish Design
Carpets that were ordered by the king of Poland, Sigismund Nedsum (1587-1632) during the Safavid era are known as the Polish carpets.
Introducing Several Samples of Carpets in Safavid Era
- Ardabil Carpet
The Ardebil carpet, known as Sheikh Safi’s carpet, is made in the first 20 years of the Safavid dynasty and they have made it of silk. Maghsud Kashani had woven this work and he mentioned his name in a poem piece that is written on the carpet).
With a dimension of 1152 × 534 cm, it took one and half years to complete the design and texture of this carpet. The color of the background is a blue-garlic, which is covered with beautiful flowers and is kept in Victoria and Albert museum in London. There is no reliable source indicating where this carpet was woven, but because of its silky texture, it is likely to be woven in Tabriz or Qazvin or Kashan.
- Moj-e Darya Carpet
The design of this carpet is one of the most customized and distinctive designs among Safavid carpets. The reason for this is the fact that there are very large medallions on the top and bottom edges of the design, as well as portraying images of the ships and sailors around the plan.
This carpet with a dimension of 3.72 × 6.77 meters is kept in the Vienna Museum, with a density of 500,000 knots per square meter. Carpet weavers from Kerman wove the carpet and its texture is made of silk.
- Chelsea Carpet
The work was sold to a businessperson from the city of Chelsea, London, and since then the carpet has become famous and known as Chelsea. Its dimensions are 540 x 360 centimeters and has a silky texture.
The background of this carpet has a crimson color is and it is designated with shapes of feral animals like deer, stag, and wilds like lions, leopards and legendary animals like dragons are seen among bunch of branches and flowers. Chelsea carpet has two full medallions with tussock, and two and half medallions bounded to the margins of carpet.
The History of Figurative Designs in Iranian Carpets
There is a little information about the first days of figurative designing in Iranian carpets, but what is clearly known is the presence of numerous figurative designs in the carpets originating in Safavid era, and perhaps somehow we can say that the first carpets with such designs were made in this period. As it we said, the Safavid era was not the beginning period of carpet weaving, but in this period, a revolution was happened in this art and it is known as the golden era of carpet weaving.