Guide to Tabriz Rugs & Carpets

History / Background 
Tabriz is the dominant city of Northwest Iran/Persia and is the second largest city in Iran. Tabriz has been a center of the Persian carpet trade for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. Tabriz carpets are symmetrically knotted. Quality spans all grades from Bazaar quality all the way up to some of the best rugs woven in Iran.


Historically Iran or Persia is divided into four major regions. For most of the last 2500 years the dominant region has been either Tabriz or Khorasan. Tabriz is both a major city and the major city of Persian Azerbaijan. When I say Azerbaijan I must note that Azerbaijan extended up into the southern part of Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan. While Tabriz is the center of a much reduced area it is still the second city of modern Iran.

Tabriz is probably the most prolific carpet-producing center in the world, and certainly one of the oldest. This enchanted city was established more than a thousand years ago.

After many invasions, occupations and wars, Tabriz took the ancient techniques of the past and created a huge rug-exporting industry. The finest era of Persian rug weaving was the Safavid Dynasty (1499 - 1722), when the Safavids overthrew the Turks who had occupied Tabriz. They gave the city one of the first Royal workshops, making it the artistic center of Persian culture. In spite of all the later conquests and political restructurings, Tabriz managed to keep these ancient traditions alive.

Today, many rugs produced in Tabriz emulate the artististic heritage of the Persian Safavid carpet, and when a designer in any part of the world wants to commission a certain pattern to be hand-woven, Tabriz is the city that he visits.

Attesting to their pride in producing fine carpets, the master-weavers of Tabriz often weave their signature into a part of the carpet's border. These signatures can, of course, be found on extremely fine rugs made in other cities, but a signature on the 'ceremonial' border of a Tabriz Naqsheh is the ultimate in formality and sophistication.

The material used for the pile of these rugs are wool, silk, or a combination of the two. A beautiful blend of fine Kurk wool and silk is the most common in a fine Tabriz, with wool only used in those of average quality. In the very finest carpets, the foundation of the rug is pure silk instead of cotton, and some even have 18 or 24 karat gold threads woven into the foundation, with 300 to 800 KPSI not being uncommon. The only rugs that can be compared with a fine Tabriz are Isfahans, Kashans, Kermans, Qums, and Nains. Most spectacular are the Nagsheh (some of the many hundreds of beautiful patterns are still owned by private families), the intricate, restrained Mahi (the Decorator's carpet), or the magnificent Dome, depicting the internal architecture of a mosque.


A shop in Tabriz Carpet Market
A shop in Tabriz Carpet Market

Rug Composition

Size: All sizes made up to 15 by 30

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 100 to 400 knots per square inch.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: White cotton

Weft: 2 shots cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends:

Selvages: 1 cord plain wool.

Handle: Light - medium.

Further Notes: The best rugs of Tabriz stack up well against the best rugs of any rug made in Iran. The worst rugs of Tabriz are as bad as any. The part to watch is the back. On the low end Tabriz rugs the weavers can make a substantial rug with comparatively little wool.  On less expensive Tabriz Carpets it is important to make sure that there is substantial pile and that the foundation does not make up the whole rug.

Examples:


Ardabil Carpet Pattern

Ardabil Carpet Pattern




8 Lobe Medallion Carpet

8 Lobe Medallion Carpet







Tabriz rug of 'Lotto' design Circa 1920 
Tabriz rug of 'Lotto' design Circa 1920
MEASUREMENTS

173 by 136cm., 5ft. 5in. by 4ft. 6in.





Tabriz Persian carpet c. 1880 


Tabriz Persian carpet c. 1880

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 9ft. 1in. by 6ft. 5in. (2.77 by 1.96m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1880 silk highlights, partial end guard stripes, small repaired slit in medallion.





Tabriz Persian Prayer Rug c. 1890 
Tabriz Persian Prayer Rug c. 1890

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 6ft. 1in. by 4ft. 6in. (1.85 by 1.37m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1890. The copper mihrab with a flowering vase, fish-filled fountain and birds beneath a dragon-formed column supported arch within an ivory rosette and palmette border, remnants of original end finishes, moth damage, holes, losses to selvage.






16th Century Safavid Tabriz Carpet Fragment


16th Century Safavid Tabriz Carpet Fragment

Northwest Persia, first half 16th century missing main borders, guard borders rewoven at each end, small reweaves, 3 inch split, overcast on all four sides, approximately 10ft. 6in. by 5ft. 5in. (3.20 by 1.65m.)







A Tabriz Carpet, circa 1910 


A Tabriz Carpet, circa 1910

Northwest Persia, circa 1910, overcast sides, minor repiling, approximately 15ft. 8in. by 11ft. (4.77 by 3.35m.)



Antique Tabriz Persian Carpet signed Hadad


Antique Tabriz Persian Carpet signed Hadad

Rare antique wool carpet Signed: master weaver Hadad

Origin: Persia, Tabriz

Dimension: 3.65m x 2.75m

12' x 9'




Tabriz Carpet c. 1890


Tabriz Carpet c. 1890

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 20ft. 8in. by 14ft. 5in. (6.30 by 4.39m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1890 original end finishes one end, overcast sides.




Antique Tabriz Rugs: Formal Mahi Pattern Carpet


Antique Tabriz Rugs: Formal Mahi Pattern Carpet

Size (ft.): 8'1 x 11'8

Size (cm.): 246 x 356

Colors: Royal Blue Dark Salmon

Woven: Hand knotted

Foundation: Cotton

Pile: Wool

Style: Mahi

Category: City

Origin: Tabriz Persian Rug

Age: Aged 20-30 years

Condition: Excellent





Antique Tabriz Rugs: Haj Baba Ganjei Tabriz Carpet 19th C


Antique Tabriz Rugs: Haj Baba Ganjei Tabriz Carpet 19th C

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 12ft. 2in. by 9ft. 4in. (3.71 by 2.84m.)

DESCRIPTION

Last quarter 19th century

Inscription cartouche reading "the work of Haj Baba Ganjei"










Hooked Lobe Tabriz Carpet

Hooked Lobe Tabriz Carpet

Size (ft.): 7'11 x 11'4

Size (cm.): 241 x 346

Colors: Pistachio, Dark Beige

Woven: Hand knotted

Foundation: Cotton

Pile: Wool

Style: Tabriz

Category: City

Origin: Tabriz Persian Rug

Age: Aged 20-30 years

Condition: Excellent Historically Revived Vintage Enhanced.





Ivory Ground Tabriz Carpet


Ivory Ground Tabriz Carpet

Size (ft.): 6'4 x 9'6

Size (cm.): 193 x 290

Colors: Beige, Blue-Navy

Woven: Hand knotted

Foundation: Cotton

Pile: Wool

Style: Tabriz

Category: City

Origin: Tabriz Persian Rug

Age: 0-10 years

Condition: Excellent



Room Size Tabriz Carpet


Room Size Tabriz Carpet

Tabriz Carpet, Iran, 20th century.

Size: 6 foot 8 inch by 9 foot 9 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 8 knots per vertical inch. 56 per square inch (868 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 1 ply white cotton.

Weft: 2 shot gray cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Post-hitch wharf knot with 2 inch braided warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 cord blue wool.

Handle: Soft, heavy, durable.

Further Notes: Excellent condition.






Safavid Palmettes Tabriz Rug


Safavid Palmettes Tabriz Rug

Size (ft.): 3'5 x 5'1

Size (cm.): 103 x 155

Colors: Beige, Red

Woven: Hand knotted

Foundation: Cotton

Pile: Wool/Silk

Style: Tabriz

Category: City

Origin: Tabriz Persian Rug

Age: 0-10 years

Condition: Excellent




Shah Abbas Tabriz carpet C. 1930


Shah Abbas Tabriz carpet C. 1930

Tabriz Persian carpet, north west Persia about 1930.

10ft.8in. x 8ft.1in. 3.25m. x 2.46m. Slight even wear.



Tabatabaei Tabriz Carpet


Tabatabaei Tabriz Carpet




Tabriz Carpet by Haddad c. 1920 

Tabriz Carpet by Haddad c. 1920

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 13ft. 2in. by 9ft. 10in. (4.01 by 3.00m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1925 inscription cartouche to one end, original end finishes one end.





Tabriz Carpet c 1890


Tabriz Carpet c 1890

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 15ft. 10in. by 10ft. 2in. (4.83 by 3.10m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1890

Condition Note: minor losses to ends, overcast sides











Tabriz Carpet c 1920 


Tabriz Carpet c 1920

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 14ft. by 10ft. 2in. (4.27 by 3.10m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1920

Condition Note:

Overcast sides




Tabriz Carpet c. 1910


Tabriz Carpet c. 1910

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 14ft. 11in. by 11ft. 1in. (4.55 by 3.38m.)

DESCRIPTION

Circa 1910 some oxidized light browns and khakis, overcast sides, glue residue to reverse, tinting.

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