A Persian carpet (Persian: فرش ايرانى farsh, meaning “to spread”) or Persian rug (Persian: قالی ايرانى qālī-ye īranī), also known as Iranian carpet, is a heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purposes, produced in Iran (historically known as Persia), for home use, local sale, and export. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and Iranian art. Within the group of Oriental rugsproduced by the countries of the so-called “rug belt”, the Persian carpet stands out by the variety and elaborateness of its manifold designs.
Persian carpets and rugs of various types were woven in parallel by nomadic tribes, in village and town workshops, and by royal court manufactories alike. As such, they represent different, simultaneous lines of tradition, and reflect the history of Iran and its various peoples. The carpets woven in the Safavid court manufactories of Isfahan during the sixteenth century are famous for their elaborate colours and artistical design, and are treasured in museums and private collections all over the world today. Their patterns and designs have set an artistic tradition for court manufactories which was kept alive during the entire duration of the Persian Empire up to the last royal dynasty of Iran.
Kashan is the oldest carpet-producing city in Central Iran. Famous for its production of silk carpets, carpet weaving was revived in the late 19th century. The earliest carpets woven in Kashan at the turn of the nineteenth century show some imbalances in their designs, which was overcome, and carpets were produced mainly with a red or ivory field and elaborate ogival central medallions.