Design of Shiraz Rug (Rugman)
|Original name||قالی شیراز|
|Alternative name(s)||Shiraz Carpet|
|Common designs||Afshan, Geometric, Tribal|
|Common colors||Blue, Red, Brown, Yellow, Green|
|Dyeing method||Natural, Synthetic|
|Foundation material||Cotton, Wool, Goat Hair|
|Knot type||Asymmetrical (Persian), Symmetrical (Turkish)|
Shiraz rugs originate from Shiraz, located in the Province of Fars, just south of Tehran. The history of this ancient city can be traced back to Neolithic times. Today Shiraz is considered to be the dominant market city of southwest Iran. Reputed to produce some of the finest Persian wool rugs on the market today, Shiraz is considered one of the most important cities for the weaving of wool rugs anywhere in the world. The weavers are truly skilled artisans who ply their craft using a horizontal loom and both Persian and Turkish knots with an approximate density of 100 KPSI (knots per square inch).
Shiraz is the centrally located capital city of the Fars Province in southwestern Iran. It is known as the home of famous historical Persian poets, such as Saadi Shirazi (c. 1200-1299 CE) and Hafez Shirazi (c. 1320-1389 CE), both of whom were born in this city. Shiraz is also one of the larger cities in southern Iran and is a popular destination for tourists visiting the ancient royal palaces ruins of Darius I and Cyrus the Great at Persepolis.
Shiraz is surrounded by hundreds of villages and towns made up of different tribes and nomads that weave rugs and carpets. Notable tribes and subtribes are the Arabs, Baharlu, Kashkuli, Khamseh, Lori, Qashqai, and Shekarlu. Shiraz is an important trade center for these tribes and individual weavers who market their rugs in the important main Vakily bazaar.
The Shiraz bazaar has a collection of tribal items in both pile and flatweaves. Examples include saddlebags, transport bags, Namakdan (salt) bags, tobacco bags, Paneer (cheese) bags, and animal and tent decorations. Towns in Fars Province weave room sizes and oversize carpets, which is rare among tribal weavers in Iran. The notable towns that market their carpets in the Shiraz bazaar are Darab, Fassa, Neyriz, Marodasht, and Firuzabad.
Shiraz rugs are found in the antique market from the early nineteenth century. They have geometric designs with a medallion, allover, or Mihrab (prayer arch) styles. The medallion design generally has one to four lozenge-shaped medallions, often edged by stylized Hook motifs. Small flower heads, leaves, vines, animals, birds, and other elements are woven in the background and medallion. Another pattern is the traditional Boteh (paisley), which was taken from the neighboring Kerman Province and appears in Shiraz rug fields. The Moharamat (stripes) design is woven vertically, horizontally, and diagonally in the background. The stripes in this style can be either narrow or wide throughout the background, and the border is sometimes also striped. The Lattice design was also made in rugs and features shrubs or flower heads. Other Shiraz designs are the Mihrab (prayer arch), Shrub, and Tree of Life, produced in a tribal style. The rugs generally have one or two narrow major borders and minor borders.
Beginning in the nineteenth century, dealers would call Shiraz rugs woven with mihrab or two-sided niche styles "Mecca Shiraz." These rugs were generally good quality and were given the holy religious city name to help lure buyers.
Most Shiraz-area weavings have a wool foundation and a wool pile. A mixture of wool and goat hair is sometimes used for the foundation. The Persian (asymmetric) knot is predominant. Some rare nineteenth-century Shiraz weavings were made with a silk weft, and these are of interest to collectors in the antique market.
The Vakily bazaar has rugs ranging in qualities of low to high in grade. Some high-grade examples are the Kashkuli Qashqai rugs and fine silk weft Shiraz rugs. The rugs of low grade quality are generally made in sizes that vary from room dimensions to oversizes suitable for lower-budget customers domestically and for foreign export.
The Shiraz rug field color is generally deep red and occasionally a shade of blue or ivory. In addition, different shades of brown, red, green, and yellow are used for the borders, medallion, corners, design elements, and in some instances, for the background. Dark brown or black outlines the designs.
Shiraz formats range from small tribal bags to carpets approximately eighteen feet by twelve feet, but many are in small room sizes varying from close to ten feet by seven feet to eleven feet by eight feet.
- Moheban, 2015, 530-531
- Abraham Levi Moheban. 2015. The Encyclopedia of Antique Carpets: Twenty-Five Centuries of Weaving. NewYork: Princeton Architectural Press.