During the 12th to 16th centuries the production of Tabriz Persian rugs was quite abundant. However, the most notable Tabriz masterpieces were produced during the classical “golden” period of the 14th century.
The secret of the Tabriz masterpiece was the harmonic merging of miniature paintings with the superior skills of the master weavers. Tabriz Persian rugs displayed a diverse array of design patterns including Herati/Mahi, pictorial, vase, tree of life and special subject themes. Additionally, Tabriz weavers found inspiration in the Persian/Islamic architecture and also from famous Persian poems.
World Class Tabriz Persian Rugs
A fine example from our collection of Tabriz Persian rugs features the central medallion design. This central medallion is based on floral concept and the design works outwards with winding vines and a flower vase in each corner pointing inwards. The beautiful floral vines wrap around the center in the frieze which features hearts, lotus and miscellaneous flowers.
Additionally, this fine handmade carpet features a high knot count of 800 per square inch and a 70/30 silk-wool mixture. This fine antique rug is 90 years old and features blue highlighting within the floral design. The cream colored background is common with classic Tabriz designs. As always, the signature of the weaver is seen at the bottom of the rug.
Historical Challenges for Tabriz Rugs
However, Tabriz would soon be challenged as the center of production for fine Persian rugs. In the 17th century, Shah Abbas the Great moved the capital of the Persian Empire to the centrally located Isfahan. As a result, Isfahan would become the center of production and innovation for high quality Persian rugs.
Nonetheless, rugs made in Tabriz are still in high demand due to their adherence to traditional weaving techniques and high quality. Additionally, special weaving skills were protected and passed down from generation to generation. As a result, when you purchase a Tabriz Persian rug you can rest assured it is of world class quality and traditional design.
Fine Silk, High Knot Counts and Natural Dyes
Tabriz Persian rugs use a mixture of silk and fine wool to maximize the design concept and utility of the rug. The designs are usually highlighted with fine silk or gold/silver threads and only natural dyes are used. As a result, the theme is displayed in fine detail and vibrant color. Additionally, the finer quality rugs are handmade using significantly higher knot counts.
In Tabriz, the knot counts are known as “raj”. The simple bazaar rugs would have about 24 raj and they move up incrementally to an incredibly fine 110 raj. Raj is defined as the knot count in 2.75 square inches. For example, 35 raj would translate to about 162 knots per square inch. The higher the knot count the more detailed the design and the higher the rug durability.
Some of the most expensive museum quality rugs in the world are from Tabriz. The golden period of manufacturing was of special significance because they were created before the Afghan invasion of the 18th century.