Kerman Province , S. E. Persia
Kerman city centers a large , productive rug weaving area including Ravar and
Yazd . Kerman has the longest continuous carpet industry in Iran.Weaving began
In the late 16th century and it has always been commercial,working for domestic
And export markets unlike Isfahan or Tabriz which have been royal capitals .
In the 17th century Kermans were sold to India and Turkey, countries with their
own important export – oriented industries . It has been only a provincial seat
insulated by distance from the geopolitical vagaries of central and northern
Iran,and was of little interest to foreign invaders. Business ventures and artistic
endeavours have been carried on in relative peace and obscurity .
The earliest surviving Kermans are the “ Vase “ carpets in which vases appear
in overall multi planar lattice patterns .These carpets have a particular
structure ,and 17th and 18th century pieces of this facture are called by extension
“ Vase “ carpets .
As a luxury commercial product, Kermans have always followed taste , if
not making it .In this artistic centre , vocations and trades run in families.
Long lineages of carpet designers developed, thus it is likely that some 20th
century artists have roots in the 17th century .Besides strong design dynasties,
huge accumulations of pattern sketches and scale paper cartoons have been
preserved by carpet merchants and the local carpet design school .This artistic
tradition imbues the Kerman carpet with a look like no other in Persia .
While 19th century carpets from other centres are closely similar , Kermans
are distinctly different with unique overall patterns or ingenious medallions .
Kermans may look like each other ,especially the 1950’s American market
pieces with quasi-French medallion layouts .These were not the Kermans
of yore ,and recently things have returned to a more colourfull and complex
Kerman wool , locally sourced , is of high quality , and dyed before spinning,
gives a rich and luxurious pile .Natural dyes in the hands of proficient
dye – masters give a wide variety of colours in a single rug .Red is always
imported cochineal .Foundations are all cotton and the Persian ( asymmetric )
knots used .Density varies between 120 to 250 knots per square inch , but
small pieces may count 1,000 .Early pieces are closely clipped , but mid 20th
century carpets are thicker , especially those destined for the U.S. . Persian
or European market carpets are finer knotted .
Production , mostly from factories is substantial – annually several thousand
pieces _ ranging from small scatters to giant palace sizes .The roller loom is exclusively used , thus pieces of any length can be executed .Although quality
varies , there are no low quality kermans or down market variants . The
surrounding villages work to urban standards .
In the Revival period , Ravar ( mis- pronounced Lavar ) , a local village ,
may have begun weaving before the city itself, and fine , older pieces, especially
in striking medallions or complex allover patterns are often ascribed to
Ravar .Even in the early 20th century ,Ravar was known for distinctly high
quality carpets in the kerman style .
Yazd , a town about 200 miles n.w. , has a distinguished textile history with
fine velvets woven in the 16th century .Rug weaving is a late 19th century affair,
and blue wefts , bright colours are the hallmarks .Less subtle than Kermans,
they are still stylistically complex and of good facture .