What do you think about when you think about Persian carpets? Palaces? The Disney movie Aladdin? Looms? Persian carpets have been celebrated in Persia and around the world for thousands of years, and for good reason. Persian carpets are one of the only forms of art that is not hung on a wall, and are a very functional piece of art rather than strictly aesthetic. There are many different sizes, styles, colors, and origins of Persian carpets, and each one is a unique creation. The uses of these beautiful rugs also vary, as well as where they are made. Materials, colors, sizes, and intricacy are all factors associated with Persian carpets. As stated by Roger Stevens, author of The Great Sophy, "It would be hard to dispute the Iranian claim to have produced the most elaborate, the most decorative, and the most superbly assured carpets in the world" (page 66). .
The history of Persian carpets is a very interesting one. The oldest Persian carpet, found in Siberia in 1949, is thought to be 2,500 years old (Art Arena 1 and Persian Galleries). It is known as the Pazaryk Rug, and is on display at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (Gregorian, frontispiece). So, it is obvious that carpet making in Persia has been an art form since at least the fifth century, but the height of Persian rug making was in the 16th and 17th centuries while Iran was under the Safavid Dynasty (Farsi Net 1). Before this time, in the 15th century, many carpet makers began to use a more centralized design rather than a repeated design, along with more floral designs (Aschenbrenner 8,9). During the Safavid Dynasty, along with the heightened production of carpets came an increase in calligraphy, miniature paintings, and court making, although Persian carpets .
remain the most celebrated (Farsi Net 1). In the 16th century carpets makers began exporting their works of art, and in the 1800s a few countries built factories in Iran to help the carpet industry (Farsi Net 1).