Are Persian Rugs Really Handmade? (Explained)

Iran, formerly called Persia, is considered the world’s most superior rug-making culture.

This is why authentic Persian rugs are considered one of the most expensive and valuable.

There is an art to centuries-old Persian rug-making process involving weaving, knotting, and dying with vegetable dye to make rugs of all styles, designs, colors, and sizes.

Authentic Persian rugs are handmade.

Here Is How Persian Rugs Are Made:

Traditional authentic Persian rugs are handmade and made from wool fibers, sometimes blended with silk, and hand-knotted to make different intricate designs. The rugs reflect the maker’s skill and style, making each Persian rug unique. No two Persian rugs are the same.

Are All Persian Rugs Handmade?

While it is the signature style of Persian rugs to be handmade and hand-knotted, not all Persian rugs are handmade.

The authentic Persian rugs are handmade, but there are non-authentic, machine-made Persian rugs.

These Persian rugs are manufactured using a machine that takes the rug fibers and weaves them into a backing material. They are cheaper than authentic handmade Persian rugs.

Just like the authentic ones, machine-made Persian rugs also use wool. They also have similar designs to handmade ones, but the similarities end there.

Because of how they are made, machine-made Persian rugs will not have the same quality and durability that authentic handmade Persian rugs have.

Since the fibers are woven and glued to a backing, machine-made Persian rugs tend to wear out faster than handmade Persian rugs.

Machine-made Persian rugs will only last for several years, while handmade Persian rugs can last for many generations.

Are Persian Rugs STILL Made By Hand Today?

The art of making Persian rugs have been around for centuries.

Persian rugs were made entirely by hand back in the day, but advancements in technology have brought about new techniques.

Rugs have become machine-made and are being mass-produced to meet their demands in the market. Of course, you cannot compare the quality of machine-made rugs with those that are truly handmade.

Even though rug companies make Persian rugs using machines, authentic Persian rugs are still made by hand today.

The authentic Persian rugs nowadays are still being made with the same hand-knotting procedure that has been used for centuries.

The hand-knotting procedure takes a lot of time. A high-quality Persian rug can take months or even years to complete. This is why Persian rugs are in-demand worldwide despite them being so expensive.

What Is So Special About Persian Rugs?

Persian rugs are desired because of their intricate designs and bold colors.

Each rug is like a work of art that showcases expert craftsmanship and skill by the rug maker.

The procedure of hand-knotting and making Persian rugs is a tradition that dates back to 2,500 years ago. Many handmade rugs that artisans completed centuries ago are even considered keepsakes.

The skills used in knitting and weaving Persian rugs have been passed down from one generation to another. These rugs can last for a very long time.

If they are being cared for and maintained well, they can even be passed down as a family keepsake from one generation to another.

Because Skilled artisans make Persian rugs with their hand-knotting and dyeing to make different designs, each Persian rug is unique and one-of-a-kind.

All of these are what make Persian rugs so special.

Where Are Persian Rugs Made?

Persian rugs are made in Iran, which was formerly called Persia. This is how this type of rug got its name.

There are three main Persian rugs: city, village, and tribal. 

Each is based on which part of Iran they were made in, and each one has a unique style that you can distinguish from the others.

Here are some types of Persian rugs named after the city, village, or tribe that they originated from:

  • Isfahan¬†– This is a city located in central Iran. Isfahan rugs have designs inspired by the tile works in mosques or the gardens of the palaces. They have a high knot count and are known as some of the best and highest quality Persian rugs.
  • Nain¬†– This city is located east of Isfahan. Nain rugs generally have floral patterns and often come in the colors ivory, light and dark shades of blue, and shades of pink. These rugs are among the most popular Persian rugs because of their colors.
  • Tabriz¬†– This city is located west of Tehran. Tabriz rugs often feature a medallion design at the center, surrounded by arabesques and other floral-inspired patterns. These rugs have a wide variety of designs.
  • Qum¬†– This city is located south of Tehran. Qum rugs are known to be made of fine silk, with medallions, plants, animals, and floral motifs. These rugs have the highest knot count and are one of the finest details you will ever see in Persian rugs.
  • Abadeh¬†– This city is located between Shiraz and Isfahan. The designs of Abadeh rugs often feature hexagon shapes with patterns of birds, flowers, and trees.
  • Ardabil¬†– This is an ancient city located in the northern part of Iran. Ardabil rugs are known to have thinner piles than other Persian rugs. They are geometric in design.
  • Bidjar¬†– This is a small Kurdish town located in the western part of Iran. Bidjar rugs are among the most durable Persian rugs because of their unique rug-making technique where a heavy comb is used to beat the weft and the knots. The resulting rug is tightly knotted and extremely durable. The most common pattern on these rugs is the fish pattern.
  • Hamadan¬†– This is a city in the western part of Iran. Hamadan rugs are characterized by their repeating patterns of mainly floral or geometric designs, with deep, bold colors such as navy and shades of red.
  • Heriz¬†– This city is located in the northwestern part of¬†Iran. The design of Heriz rugs normally features a medallion at the center, surrounded by geometric patterns.
  • Kerman¬†– This city is located in the southeastern part of Iran. Kerman rugs normally come in red as a base color, featuring a medallion in the center with small patterns surrounding it.
  • Kashan¬†– This large city is located between Isfahan and Tehran. Kashan rugs are one of the most popular types of Persian rugs. They feature floral patterns using bold colors such as navy and shades of red. Other colors being used for Kashan rugs are cream and green.
  • Mashad¬†– This city is located in the eastern part of Iran. These rugs normally feature a medallion design and come in navy and shades of red.
  • Moud¬†– This city is located south of Mashad. Moud rugs often feature a pattern that consists of a flower inside a rhomb, surrounded by four leaves.
  • Senneh¬†– This city was the capital of the province of Kurdistan. The capital city is called Sanandaj, but the rug retained the old name. Senneh rugs feature delicate, intricate designs and elegant patterns in dark shades of blue and red.
  • Afshar¬†– This is a tribe that resides in the southeastern part of Iran. Afshar rugs commonly have geometric patterns with the colors red and blue and often feature a square medallion at the center.
  • Bakhtiar (Bakhtiyari)¬†– This tribe is known to live in the Zagros mountains west of Isfahan. Bakhtiar rugs usually have the garden motif or plant and animal designs. These rugs are known to be very durable because the wool used is particularly thick.
  • Baluch¬†– This tribe lives in the part of Iran that borders Afghanistan. Baluch rugs have geometric designs and come in deep, rich colors like burgundy, navy, and black.
  • Gabbeh¬†– This tribe lives in the southwestern part of Iran, with mostly female rug weavers. Gabbeh rugs have thick piles and mostly come plain or with very simple and subtle designs, using light neutral colors. They do have a small animal or tree design in the corners.
  • Qashqai¬†– This tribe lives in the Fars province. Qashqai rugs use dark shades of red, brown, and burgundy as the base color and often feature designs inspired by wildlife and nature.

How Do You Know If A Rug Is Handmade?

There are a few ways to tell if a rug is handmade.

If you are looking for handmade Persian rugs, here are some things you can do to be sure, so you would not end up getting a machine-made rug:

Check The Backside Of The Rug:

This is the easiest way to tell if a rug is handmade. Handmade rugs do not have a backing material.

The underside of handmade rugs normally mirrors the top part or is a reverse pattern.

Machine-made rugs have a backing made from a different material.

Check The Fringe Of The Rug:

For handmade rugs, the fringe is the foundation of the rug.

It is handmade if the fringe is part of the rug and is seamlessly connected.

They are machine-made if the fringe is attached or sewn to the rug.

Check The Knots:

Handmade rugs have knotted fibers, and they will have very few tiny imperfections, such as inconsistencies with the knots.

If your rugs have perfect knots of the same size, machines make them.

Are Persian Rugs More Exclusive Than Rugs From Other Places?

Persian rugs, especially those of high quality, are regarded as high-value objects. While some people might think they are exclusive, they are not.

Anyone can buy a Persian rug, as long as they can afford it. People think that Persian rugs are exclusive because they are quite expensive.

Persian rugs exude a vibe of elegance and luxury that can instantly elevate the look and feel of your space. Plus, they can last for quite a long time given the attention and care they need.

Often, they are considered family keepsakes and can even be handed down to the next generations.

Because of their durability and high quality, handmade Persian rugs can be worth the price. As long as you take care of it as prescribed, you will be able to get the most value out of it.

Sources:

How Persian Rugs Are Made

Why Persian Rugs Are Superior To Other Oriental Rugs

What Makes Persian Rugs So Special

Types of Persian Rugs – Lilla Rugs’ Encyclopedia

How To Identify A Handmade Wool Area Rug