Traditional hand-knotted Persian rugs remain an important part of modern Iranian culture. Their unique design with elaborated geometrical patterns, botanical figures and intricate embellishments are recognizable all around the world and are considered rather as a piece of art, mark of luxury and an item having utility values. The carpets were believed to have served for magical purposes; people believed that geometric figures and symbolic motifs could protect them from evil and bad luck. Many Persian regions developed their own ways of manufacturing and ornamenting rugs, making them a material source that can tell the long and rich history of Iranian people. The traditional material used to produce them was wool (mainly from the sheep’s fibers, sometimes from camels or goats); modern rugs are also made from cotton or silk, considered as an exclusive fabric that has its price. The oldest discovered pile-woven carpet, called the Pazyryk carpet, was manufactured in 5th century B.C.
The “golden era” for Persian rugs was during the Safavid period (1500–1736 A.D.), frequently compared to European renaissance when the modern cities of Tabriz, Kerman, Herat and Isfahan became the biggest producers. Persian carpets, like many others tangible goods, were transferred through the Silk Road – the main trade route that connected East and West at those times – and thus became popular and fashionable even beyond their areas of origin. Those artisanal masterpieces were able to withstand the pressure of industrial production. One may be able to buy cheaper imitations in design chain stores, but the prices of original Persian rugs can reach several thousands of USD even amidst this.