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Afghan Rugs and Afghani Carpets

The ethnicity and authenticity of Afghan carpets are second to none. They are exotic and distinctive oriental rugs. They hold a special appeal for buyers looking for true and original ethnic expression.

Like Afghanistan itself, Afghan rugs represent a diverse range of artistic sensibilities and cultures. While some heavy showcase influences of Persia, some reflect the war history of Afghanistan. Afghan carpets are indeed a pinnacle of craftsmanship.

Afghan Rugs and Afghani Carpets

If you are looking for an original and authentic Afghani rug, then you must know a few characteristics of Afghan Rugs and Afghani Carpets. Here are a few things to take into consideration, that will help you make the right purchase decision.

Color of Afghan carpets

Almost all Afghan Rugs use natural dyes that come from plants. More than often, genuine and traditional Afghan Carpets come in earthy colors such as red, maroon, brown, and different shades of green, yellow and blue. They are usually vibrant and get along with almost all home décor schemes. They are quite a treat to the eye.

Material of Afghan carpets

An authentic Afghani carpet is handwoven with mountain wool. Some tribal carpets also use goat hair for overbinding the selvedges or sides. Some Afghani prayer rugs also use camel hair along with mountain wool. Afghan Rugs are heavy and durable. This is because they are tightly woven and have an extremely dense and solid construction. Unlike soft silk carpets, Afghan Carpets are heavy, hard, but quintessentially cozy.

Design of Afghan carpets

Some of the common Afghan carpet types include Baluch Rugs, Kilims,Mauri Rugs, Shindand or Adraskand Rugs, Turkmenistan Rugs, or Bukhara Carpets and KhalMohammadi Rugs. Baluch Rugs are usually small, and they feature vibrant colors. Kilims are flat woven rugs. A Kilim showcases a distinct pattern that comprises a small slit between colors. Unlike other Afghan Rugs, Mauri Rugs are one of the most high quality and luxurious Afghan Rugs.

Some of the various types of Turkmenistan carpets or Bukhara carpets include Basjir, Tekke, Salor, Yomut and Tjaudor carpets. Bukhara rugs showcase various designs like geometric patterns, octagonal motifs, floral medallions, and complex oval or diamond-shaped motif patterns. They are indeed one of the most sought after Afghan Carpets and are highly associated with royalty. KhalMohammadi Rugs are warm and welcoming. They usually display deep reds, with black or dark blues used to highlight its details.

Despite the type of Afghan rug that you are looking for, know that all Afghan Carpets have a nomadic, tribal, traditional, and bohemian look and feel. More than often, they exhibitbold motifs and intricate designs. They are handwoven, and a medium sized Afghan rug can take 7 to 9 months to complete.

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Difference between Handmade and Machine Made Carpets

This article really helps to identify the difference between handmade carpet and machine made carpet. If you don’t have much knowledge about the rugs or carpets then it’s difficult to identify and distinguish between the two. So here we are telling you the major difference between handmade carpet and machine made carpet.

Handmade Carpet

Handmade carpet is woven on special type loom which is called handloom. This loom is operated by hand. For this technique, no electricity is required. Weavers set looms according to the size of carpet which they want to make. The making of a handmade rug is an ancient art. Handmade rugs are three main types.

1) Hand Knotted Carpets– Hand knotted is part of the handmade carpet category. In hand knotted technique the size of loom depends on the size of the carpet and the weaving is done from bottom to up.  First weavers insert the “knots” into the looms of the rug and tie by hand which is called “pile”. It takes many months to complete one rug according to size, color combinations and designs. It also depends on the pattern and intricacy involved. In hand knotted rugs the fringe is also a part of the rug foundation. However, a lot of times, people do not prefer these fringes or tassles and get them removed since its only a matter of preference.

Handknotted rug

2) Hand Tufted Carpets: These are also handmade carpets but the technique and process is entirely different. For weaving this rug modified drill guns are used to insert the piles into the cloth foundation. Clothes are in cotton material.  When it is inserted in the cloth it creates piles. If piles are shared then becomes a cut piles. This is a less expensive method to make a carpet as compared to a hand knotted carpet because of using drill gun and takes less time to weave it.

3) Flat Woven Durries-: This is another category of a handmade rug. Flat weave rug are made with no piles. There is virtually no height of the rug. This is made of cotton, wool, and jute materials. This is very high durable durries and perfect for high traffic areas as well.

Machine made carpet

These type of carpets are made in large machines which are called power loom. Power looms are controlled by computers and it has very fast production. These are very cheap as compared to handmade carpets. The durability of machine made carpet is maximum 15 years.  In machine made carpet fringes in sewn. In machine made the back part of carpets, its look very stright and perfectly even. If the piles of carpet made of nylon, polyester, olefin or any synthetic fiber then the carpet is 100% machine made.

machine made

Hence, to conclude, it would be wise to say that although for a layman a carpet is a carpet. But in reality, there is a huge difference between a machine made and hand knotted carpet in every aspect. Rugs and Beyond recommends buying a hand knotted carpet since it is much more durable and would last a lifetime.

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WHY KNOT ! PROJECT

Persian carpets need no introduction.  Originating from the crossroads of Europe and Asia, they date to a time before antiquity.  World renowned for exquisite artisanship, they have long inspired merchants from the East and West to crisscross the globe.

It is no wonder that Persian carpets are synonymous with the site of home and hearth.   Each carpet may travel thousands of miles and touch countless lives.  As they pass through generations and among nations, we imagine each carpet tells a tale.  The sight of tens of thousands of hand-tied knots joined in patterns of rare beauty has a unique capacity to inspire.  Might it be, as intuition so often suggests, that our lives and stories are interconnected?  Perhaps, as the great Persian poet Saadi expressed, we are woven of one essence.
Inspired by the poetic vision of Saadi, Why Knot? is a revolutionary three-dimensional Persian Carpet made to represent the globe.  Woven on a custom spherical loom, work on the Why Knot? globe commenced with the help of professional Iranian weavers in 2010, and it will be completed by ordinary people from around the world.  This one-of-a-kind project invites us to look at the world anew – to see how the earth is woven together through our actions.
At its best, art invites us to make the world a more beautiful place.  We invite you to weave your tale into the world.  You too can be part of this unique and exciting project, bringing people together through the ancient tradition of carpet weaving – Why Knot?

Why Knot?

Is a three dimensional Persian globe woven by people around the world? That’s right you too can be a part of this unique project bringing people together through the ancient tradition of carpet weaving.
At its best art invites us to make the world a more beautiful place. Inspired by the words of the celebrated Persian poet Saddi, Why Knot?

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Tabriz Rugs

The most prolific of any carpet center is a very old city known as Tabriz, located in north-western Iran.

Their carpet quality is quite exceptional, as most of the carpets are on a base of very fine cotton but other times on pure silk.

Tabriz Rugs

Many unique designs exist, but the typical pattern for a rug from Tabriz is filled with large palmettes, a dense floral motif, vivid scenes of hunting, vases, or field pictorials.

These can be found with medallions or without them, while geometric designs also exist. Tabriz has sub-styles, too, which include the elegant and restrained ‘Mahi’, done in co-ordinated borders of subdued tones which can fit anywhere; the Naqsheh, displaying an array of pinks on beige or, on rare occasions, black; and the wild yet gorgeous Tabatabaie, always done with touches of orange, beige, and lemon green.

The finer Mahi and Naqsheh are mostly of highly-priced Kurk wool, while silk is frequently used to lavishly outline the rug highlights.

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Whats is Machine Made Carpets?

Machine made carpets are tufted, woven, knitted, flocked or needle-punched. Most commonly tufting is used for machine-made carpets. Tufted carpets are made on machines where the yarn is stitched through a pre-constructed backing to form a loop or a tuft. To hold the loops in place, the back side of the carpet is coated with latex.

Whats is Machine Made Carpets?

Tufting is the most inexpensive and fastest ways to manufacture a rug. Weavers can also control the tuft size making it possible to create carpets with varying patterns or surface textures.
There are three kinds of woven carpets: Velvet, Wilton and Axminster. Velvet is the least complicated of construction methods. Velvet carpets usually come in one solid coloured and a tweed effect may be noticed. Wilton carpets are more intricate. These are manufactured by using a Jacquard loom which can hold up to six different coloured of yarns. The Axminster method of weaving carpets produces the most elaborate designs with a wide variety of coloured.
• Knitted carpets are faster to make. In knitting, several sets of needles create loops and these are stitched together before the backing is applied. Knitted carpets come in solid or tweed and the pile may be of the same size or of varying heights.

فرش ماشيني و تكنولوژي بافت CRT - مجله نساجی و فرش ماشینی کهن

• Flocked carpets are similar to Velvet carpets in appearance. They have a dense cut pile of short fibres that are imbedded into an adhesive-coated backing.
• Needle-punching is similar to hand-hooking. Formerly used for indoor-outdoor carpets, this process is now being used for carpets that are only meant to be placed indoors as well. In needle-punching, fibres are locked into a packing by using hooked needles, which are further compressed.

The Manufacturing Process
The process of manufacturing tufted carpets can be explained in the following steps:

Step 1: Preparing the yarn

• First, the synthetic yarns arrive at the carpet manufacturer either in staple fibre form or in bulk continuous filament form
• The staple fibres, which are an average of 7 inches (18 cm) long are generally loose and are individual strands that arrive in bales. Several bales are blended together into one batch in a hopper.
• Then, these strands are lubricated and are spun into long, loose ropes called slivers by a carding machine. The slivers are then pulled, straightened, and spun into single yarn that is wound onto spools.
• Both the single-ply staple fibres (now spun into filament) and the bulk continuous filament is then twisted together to form thicker two-ply yarn suitable for tufting.
• The yarns are then steamed to bulk them, and then heated to 270-280°F (132-138°C). This heat setting causes the yarn to maintain its shape by fixing its twist. After cooling, these yarns are wound onto tubes and transported to the tufting machines.

Step 2: Dyeing the yarn

• Generally, most carpets are dyed after tufting yet sometimes the yarns are dyed first. The methods include putting 500-1,000 pounds (227-455 kg) of fibre into pressurized vats through which treated dyes are circulated, or passing the fibre continuously through the bath, or passing skeins of yarn through the vat of dye.
• The yarn can also be put on forms, and the heated dyes can then be forced under pressure from inside the forms to coloured the yarn.
• Another method passes the yarn through printing rollers, while yet another involves knitting the yarn onto a form that is then printed with dyes before the yarn is unraveled. All yarn that has been dyed is then steamed, washed, and dried.

Step3: Tufting the carpet

• At this stage, the yarn is put on a creel (a bar with skewers) behind the tufting machine and then fed into a nylon tube that leads to the tufting needle.
• The needle pierces the primary backing and pushes the yarn down into a loop. Photoelectric sensors control how deeply the needles plunge into the backing, so the height of the loops can be controlled.
• A looper, or flat hook, seizes and releases the loop of yarn while the needle pulls back up; the backing is shifted forward and the needle once more pierces the backing further on.
• Inorder to make a cut pile, a looper facing the opposite direction is fitted with a knife that acts like a pair of scissors, snipping the loop. This process is carried out by several hundred needles (up to 1,200 across the 12 foot [3.7 ml width), and several hundred rows of stitches are carried out per minute. Thus, one tufting machine can produce several hundred square yards of carpets per day.

Step 4: Dyeing the tufted carpet

• Solid coloured carpeting: For this carpet of several standard roll lengths is sewn together to make a continuous roll, which is then fed into a vat. The vat is filled with water, which is first heated before dyes and chemicals are mixed in. The mixture is then slowly brought to a boil and cooked for four hours approx.
• Another method of making solid coloured carpet is to sew several rows together to make one continuous roll, which is then fed under rods that bleed the coloured into the pile. After dyeing, the carpet is then steamed to fix the coloured, excess coloured is washed off, and the carpet is dried and put on a roll.
• Printed Carpets: Inorder to make printed carpet of various designs, white carpet passes under screens in which holes in the desired pattern have been cut. The desired coloured is squeezed through the holes in the screen, and the carpet is advanced 36 inches (91 cm) to a different screen that applies a new coloured in a different design through the screen. Up to eight coloureds can be applied with this method.
• Another method of dyeing printed carpet is to pass it under embossed cylinders that have raised portions in a design that press colour into the carpet. Each cylinder provides a different design for a different coloured. After dyeing, the printed carpet is steamed, excess dyes are washed off, and the carpet is then dried and put onto rolls to go to the finishing department.

Step 5: Finishing the carpet

• The ends of the dyed carpet are first sewn together to form a continuous belt. This belt is then rolled under a dispenser that spreads a coating of latex onto the bottom of the carpet.
At the same time, a strong secondary backing is also coated with latex. Both of these are then rolled onto a marriage roller, which forms them into a sandwich and seals them together. The carpet is then placed in an oven to cure the latex.
• The completed carpet is then steamed, brushed, vacuumed, and run through a machine that clips off any tufts that rise above its uniform surface. The carpet is then rolled into 120 foot (37 m) lengths that are then packaged in strong plastic and shipped to either the carpet manufacturer’s inventory warehouse or to a retail carpet store

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A Rich History of Sarough Rugs

Sarough rugs, sometimes called Saruk or Sarouk rugs, are oriental rugs based on the exquisite, hand woven floor coverings that were first created in the 19th century by artisans living in Sarough, Farahan, Ghiassabad and other villages lying near the Iranian city of Arak in the central province of Markazi.

Where Do Sarough Rugs Come From?

The village of Sarough is located approximately 20 miles outside of Arak in the central Iranian province of Markazi, a city well-known for its carpet-making. These days, Sarough rugs do not necessarily come from Sarough, though. The term “Sarough” is reserved for all high-end Persian carpets from this region, carpets that are still woven by hand. The term “Arak carpet” is more commonly used for the machine-woven rugs that come from this area.

What Is the History of the Markazi Province?

Markazi is a region in Iran with a long history of human settlement. In the first century B.C., the province was the center of the great empire of the Medes, one of the four great powers of the ancient Near East.

The history of carpet-weaving in this region, however, only dates back to the 19th century when the demand for carpets for American markets spurred the creation of characteristic rugs that used the high quality wools and natural dyes found in the area. The delicate nature of the dyes were not quite bright enough for the American market, so often parts of the rugs were re-dyed a bright raspberry or blue color after they were imported into the United States. This is the origin of the Sarough rug’s distinctive color palette.

How Did Sarough Rugs Originate?

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the village of Sarough became renowned for exquisite, hand-woven carpets with floral designs that were primarily sold in the American market. Sarough rugs manufactured before the First World War showed a strong Turkish influence and tended to sport a classic central medallion design while rugs manufactured after the War made use of floral patterns on a raspberry backdrop.
One distinct subset of Sarough rugs is called Feraghan or Farahan Saroughs. These are room-sized carpets with an extremely fine weave comprised of asymmetrical wool knots on a cotton background. Farahan Saroughs typically showcase traditional medallion patterns surrounded by a floral border in a soft apple green or pistachio color.

Distinguished Designers from Arak

Some Arak rug designers became very well known within Iran for the carpets produced from their designs. Among these designers were:

• Isa Bahadori: Born in 1908 in Arak, Isa Bahadori gained international prominence when one of the rugs he designed won a coveted gold medal at the Brussels Exhibition.
• Asadollah Daqiqi 1905 – 1962: Asadollah Daqiqi learned the art of carpet design at the Mirza Abdollah Raisabadi School in Arak, and went on to establish one of Arak’s leading rug design centers.
• Zabihollah Abtahi: In the early part of the 20th century, Arak’s most famous rug designer was Zabihollah Abtahi who got his start in the rug industry in 1907 at the age of ten. Zabihollah Abtahi is best known for his exquisite Arabesque and Palmette Flower designs.

  • Asadollah Abtahi
  • Abdolkarim Rafiei
  • Asadollah Ghaffari
  • Jafar Chagani
  • Seyed Hajagha Eshghi (Golbaz)
  • Hosein and Hasan Tehrani
  • Zabihollah Abtahi

Are Sarough Rugs Still Being Made in the Traditional Way in the Region?

Carpet weavers in Arak continue to hand produce beautiful Sarough rugs today. Sarough rugs continue to be created by artisans who adhere closely to traditional hand-looming methods. Modern consumers have more sophisticated tastes when it comes to subtle colors, so Sarough rugs are no longer re-dyed after they are woven to intensify their hues.

Sarough carpets are woven from high quality wools using the traditional Persian knot, which means they will stand up to decades of use. Elegant, beautiful and durable, Sarough carpets are among the most popular carpets coming out of Iran today.

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Iranian carpets weave their magic spell

Age Like any art collector’s piece, the older it is, the more valuable it becomes. There is a distinction between antique and “new” – those made after the 1930s. A carpet made at a workshop of a well known master weaver will obviously be more expensive than one made in a regular workshop. Some of the names sought by the international auctioneers Christie’s and Sotheby’s are Kashan Mohtasham, Tabriz Haji Jalili, and Laver Kerman.

Iranian carpets
Colour A good carpet will have a diverse colour palette, with a strong contrast between the colours – no one wants a dull carpet. Buyers should ask the dealer whether it is made from natural dyes – from fruits, vegetables or mashed insects – or modern manmade chemical dyes.
Material The price of a carpet will also be determined by the type of material used, usually silk, imported or domestic, or wool, imported or domestic. Carpets made of Manchester wool, produced in the northern English city of the same name, have appreciated extremely well, says Ali Al Bayaty, the chief executive of Estuary Auctions in Abu Dhabi. Rug commissioners in Iran stopped using Manchester wool, bringing an end to carpets made of expensive imported wool, after the Great Depression when British and German companies defaulted on their commitments to Iran.
Weave The fineness of the rug is determined by the number of knots per square metre. A coarse rug could have 36,000 to 50,000 knots per square metre, whereas fine or rare rugs could have more than 1 million knots per square metre.

The effort to produce a work of such staggering beauty was so immense that his family hosted parties for weeks and exchanged elaborate gifts to celebrate its completion.
The Paradise Garden, a 160 square metre Persian rug that can only fit in a palace, features more than 90 shades of colour and is decorated with the Shah Abbasi Flowers pattern , which originated in the 15th century. But it is more than just a rug.

The carpet, made in the weaving centre of Tabriz city in north-west Iran, has been a backdrop to the struggles of Mr Hossein-Zadeh’s Iranian rug trading business, which he has operated in Abu Dhabi since the early 1970s. Whatever was happening in the region, in the business, even in the world, the dream carpet was always there.
There was the opening of his branch in Abu Dhabi, the Iranian Revolution, cash disputes with the weavers and a two-year hiatus when the project was completely halted, not to mention rounds of international trade sanctions with Iran and other geopolitical tensions.
At every stage of manufacture, it is almost as if the dream carpet represented Mr Hossein-Zadeh’s prosperity and that of his business.
And for the millions of knots tied to weave the beautiful and intricate rug there is a similar number of business deals struck between traders of the UAE and its Iranian neighbour.

For many years Dubai has been a re-export hub for Tehran for goods including fruit and nuts, cars and carpets. Trade between the UAE and Iran between 2005 to 2009 tripled to US$12 billion (Dh44.07bn), according to figures from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Re-exports to Tehran jumped 29 per cent to $31bn last year, according to Reuters.
Even as sanctions tighten over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, trade remains and so, too, does Mr Hossein-Zadeh’s dream carpet, which today is kept under lock and key until the right buyer is found.
“There were times when my father wondered why he even began that project, but by then he had invested so much money that he just had to complete it,” says Dawood, Mr Hossein-Zadeh’s son, who was a child when the carpet was envisioned and an adult, married with children, by the time it was completed.

Dawood, who has taken over the century-old family business and runs the Centre of Original Iranian Carpets in Abu Dhabi, says the rug, kept in the family private collection, is for sale at Dh4.4 million.
On one of Dawood’s walls hangs a collection of old framed photographs of Sheikh Zayed and several notable UAE Royals, along with portraits of Queen Rania of Jordan, and King Mohammed of Morocco standing behind piles of carpets laid out in the company shop.
“In this kind of business, very one-of-a-kind, rare pieces of the finest Persian rugs, you are dealing mostly with royalty wherever you are. Who can afford to buy them? Only the rich, ultra-rich and VIPs,” says Dawood.
Persian rugs, once the passion of Ottoman Caliphs and European monarchs, have long been coveted by Middle East families, not just as decorative floor coverings but as assets to be sold in times of economic hardship.
The price of a Persian rug has increased by 40 per cent in the past 12 months as Iranians inside Iran pour their money in carpets as a haven to hedge against the rapid devaluation of the local currency and subsequent rise in inflation.
“Merchants are trying to concentrate on fine, rare antique carpets by 19th century masters to buy to re-import them to Iran,” says Ali Al Bayaty, the chief executive of Estuary Auctions based in Abu Dhabi.
“Most of the rare pieces are in Europe and [Middle East and North Africa] region, while bazaars in Tehran are only selling ‘new’ pieces, by new we are talking about 1930s.”
“These carpets are currently in high demand. A lot of these pieces have wear and tear and need to be washed and maintained, and the best workshops are still in Tehran,” Mr Al Bayaty adds.
It’s the opposite of the days of the 1979 revolution, Dawood says.

“When the Pahlavi was toppled, Iranians who wanted to leave rushed to buy carpets because they were not able to transfer currency abroad. When they left the country, they sold them in Beirut, Damascus, Dubai and other Gulf states to get money, and the whole international market became flooded with carpets making the prices fall. Those were difficult times.”
And today he is facing a different set of challenges as sanctions hit Iran’s economy.

“Antique rugs from Iran are becoming more expensive and as the economic situation gets worse, you have to pay more to encourage these workers to stay in the field,” says Mr Hossein-Zadeh.

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The Persian Rug May Not Be Long for This World

For centuries, Iran’s famed carpets have been produced by hand along the nomad trail in this region of high plains around the ancient city of Shiraz.

Sheep grazed in high mountain pastures and shorn only once a year produce a thick, long wool ideal for the tough thread used in carpet making.

But high-quality production of hand-woven carpets is no longer sustainable on the migration route of the nomads, said Hamid Zollanvari, one of Iran’s biggest carpet makers and dealers.

Instead, he had built a factory with 16 huge cooking pots, where on a recent cool, sunny spring day men in blue overalls stirred the pots with long wooden sticks, boiling and coloring the thread. As the colored waters bubbled, they looked like live volcanos. The air smelled of sheep.

The century-old bazaar in Shiraz, an ancient Iranian city known for its production of hand-woven carpets.

The century-old bazaar in Shiraz, an ancient Iranian city known for its production of hand-woven carpets.

Another room was stacked with herbs. Eucalyptus leaves, indigo, black curd, turmeric, acorn shells and alum, ingredients for the different colors. “The Iranian carpet is 100 percent organic,” Mr. Zollanvari declared. “No machinery is involved.”

It is a scene that seems as ageless as the women who sit before the looms and weave the rugs, a process that can take as long as a year. And now even the factory is threatened. With six years of Western sanctions on the carpet business and punishing competition from rugs machine-made in China and India, these are hard times for the craft of Persian rug making. Many veterans wonder whether it can survive.

Over the centuries invaders, politicians and Iran’s enemies have left their mark on Iran’s carpets, said Prof. Hashem Sedghamiz, a local authority on carpets, sitting in the green courtyard of his restored Qajar-dynasty house in Shiraz. The outsiders demanded changes, started using chemicals for coloring and, most recently, imposed sanctions on the rugs. Those were blows, he said, damaging but not destructive.

Nomads and others at a carpet production center owned by a family of carpet traders outside Shiraz.

But now, Mr. Sedghamiz said, the end is near. Ultimately he said, it is modernity — that all-devouring force that is changing societies at breakneck speed — that is killing the Persian carpet, Iran’s pride and joy. “People simply are no longer interested in quality.”

This year, after the nuclear deal was completed, the United States lifted six years of sanctions on carpets. But even with that, the Persian carpet is in a critical state as fewer and fewer people buy them.

“These days, everyone is seeking quick satisfaction and simplicity, but our carpets are the complete opposite of that,” Mr. Sedghamiz said.

His message was not what officials of the Iran National Carpet Center had in mind when they organized a tour for a group of foreign journalists last weekend. Still, none of them could really argue with Mr. Sedghamiz’s conclusion.

One thing is for sure: Iran’s carpets are among the most complex and labor-intensive handicrafts in the world.

It is on the endless green slopes of Fars Province, in Iran’s heartland, that the “mother of all carpets,” among the first in the world, is produced: the hand-woven nomadic Persian rug.

Workers coloring wool in large cooking pots. Only natural ingredients like herbs, pomegranate peels and wine leaves are used for coloring.

The process starts with around 1.6 million sheep grazed by shepherds from the nomadic Qashqai and Bakhtiari tribes, who produce that tough, long-fibered wool so perfect for carpets.

Women take over from there, making thread from the wool by hand, twisting it with their fingers. The finished thread is bundled and then dyed, using natural ingredients like pomegranate peels for deep red or wine leaves for green. After days of boiling on a wooden fire, the threads are dried by the cool winds that blow in from the north each afternoon.

Only then does the weaving start. Weavers, almost all of them women, spend several months to a year bent over a horizontally placed loom, stringing and knotting thousands of threads. Some follow established patterns, some create their own. When the carpet is finally done, it is cut, washed and put out in the sun to dry.

“It’s so time consuming, real hand work,” said Mr. Zollanvari, the carpet dealer. “A labor of love. And what does it cost?” he asked, before answering the question himself: “Almost nothing.” A 6-by-9-foot handwoven carpet costs around $400 in Shiraz, depending on the pattern and quality.

Mr. Zollanvari, who speaks fluent English, stood alongside two other carpet dealers, Habib Bayat and Mohammed Ali Dideroushan, both of whom are United States green card holders and self-declared carpet lovers.

The sanctions were really painful, Mr. Dideroushan said, and to him, at least, inexplicable. “Let’s face it, what do carpets have to do with our nuclear program?”

The worrisome part, Mr. Bayat said, is that business still has not picked up even after sanctions were lifted early this year. With international financial transactions still a problem, he said, “even the tourists that come to Iran cannot pay us, unless they bring plenty of cash.”

Not only that, but Persian carpets have fallen out of favor even in Iran, with many middle-class Iranians preferring cheap plastic laminate floor covers. Those who still like carpets often go for cheaper Chinese and Indian knockoffs.

“We are selling around 10 percent of what we used to sell over a decade ago,” said Morteza Talebi, the head of the council of the Shiraz bazaar. The century-old bazaar was filled with carpet shops, but there were no buyers.

Nomads greeted visitors at a temporary camp near Shiraz.

Even the original producers of carpets, the nomads, are becoming harder to find. Mr. Zollanvari took the reporters to a nomadic camp outside Shiraz. There, men cheerfully blew trumpets and shot rifles into the air to celebrate the visitors. Women in colorful traditional clothes were spinning wool, others weaving a carpet.

But it turned out that several of the “nomads” were recovering drug addicts from other parts of the country who were entertaining tourists as part of an attempt to stay clean.

“Many nomads are in search of jobs and better salaries,” said Mina Bahram Abadian, a member of an Iranian group that helps nomads and drug addicts. Their situation is not that different from the problems many indigenous people have worldwide, she said.

“Divorce rates are up, as is drug use,” she said. “They cannot cope with all the changes. They get depressed and stop making carpets.”

Resource : NYTimes

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What is Jute Rugs?

When you choose a jute rug, you have an attractive floor covering and you also have the benefit of flooring that will last. Biodegradable jute carpet is an excellent choice for the contemporary shopper who’s environmentally aware.

what is jute?

What Is Jute?

Jute is the most cultivated plant fiber in the world after cotton however because nearly 85 percent of jute cultivation is concentrated in India’s Ganges delta region, this natural fiber is not very well known to Westerners by name. Westerners are very familiar with products made from jute fiber however, particularly burlap, sack cloth, twine and rope.

Jute rugs

What Is a Jute Rug?

Traditionally, the world’s most gifted Oriental carpet makers used jute backing for their masterpieces of interwoven wool, cotton and silk yarns. More recently, jute has come into its own as a primary material for rugs, carpet and other floor coverings.

Jute fiber can be spun into a strong and durable thread. Jute fibers tend to have a rough texture, but when jute cords are separated out into finer threads, those threads feel like silk. Finer jute threads are what are used to create jute carpet and jute rugs.

In its natural state, jute fiber has an attractive golden sheen that has led to jute’s nickname as the Golden Fiber. Jute also takes dye very well, and is often blended with other natural and synthetic fibers to create textured patterns in carpet.

Jute carpet is typically produced using broadloom methods or by braiding. Jute will adhere to your floor quite well so it doesn’t need a latex backing and often a cotton or a wool border will be added to a jute area rug for aesthetic reasons.

Like floor coverings made from other natural plant fibers, a natural jute rug is a good option in environments that do not have or retain a lot of moisture. If jute becomes wet repeatedly, the fibers can lose their strength and begin to break and they may also become a medium for mildew and bacteria. Jute can also become brittle and yellow if it’s exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.

What Are the Benefits of Buying a Jute Rug?

Jute area rugs are beautifully textured pieces that are perfect for accenting specific areas of the rooms they’re in. Jute is probably the least expensive natural material available on the market today, so jute floor coverings tend to be relatively inexpensive. Jute fibers are among the strongest of all organic fibers, so a jute rug will last for a long time and stand up to hard use. Jute floor covering also requires very little maintenance; routine vacuuming will remove most dirt and dust. Jute is also a poor conductor of electricity, so static electricity won’t build up in a jute rug. Unlike seagrass and sisal, jute is not a particularly slick material so a jute runner on your staircase is a great option.

Best of all, jute is an ecologically friendly fiber. It doesn’t require pesticides or chemical fertilizers to grow, and it’s completely biodegradable.

Jute floor coverings are attractive, long lasting and represent some of the very best values consumers will find in natural floor coverings today.