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How Hand Knotted Persian Rugs Are Made Today

Serving as a protection for the nomad and tribesman against harsh elements, Persian rugs have humble beginnings. From being a simple woven rug, this has undergone a literary expression evolution as well as frequent usage in certain events. Soon, it has become a wealth and artistic values symbol for noblemen and king.

Way back 2,500 years, one of the first ancient civilizations to create fine and decorative rugs were Persians with unwavering artistry and dedication being put. This is for the reason of having the reputation to be the greatest the contemporary world has to offer since there are many kinds of high-quality rugs being exported by a number of countries such as Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Nepal, China, and Iran. From these, the main classifications include those rugs which are made in China are called Oriental while Persian is for those that are crafted in Iran.

Varying from region to region, rug designs feature a common elements and symbols which is nature and something sacred to the tribe that they belong to Architecture and religious artifacts-inspired designs are evident in these delicately created rugs.

Rug making highly encouraged during the Safavid Dynasty from 1502-1736 even when other livelihoods such as fish hunting and planting were given importance by the tribes. From this period comes most rugs which are displayed in museums today. Designs in a wide variety are distinct to their respected region where they are woven.

Now let us discover how Persian rugs are produced in the present.

Whether made in city or tribal surroundings of the weaver, Persian rugs are hand knotted. Using silk or wool material, the weaver ties it using numerous diverse knots around the warps of the foundation. After completing the knots which are individually tied to be able to form patterns, between the newly accomplished row, is tightened with a weft strand. Meanwhile, the new one is kept in place firmly. It takes months or even years to complete just one rug to ensure that the consumer can gain a work of art that is unique, beautiful, practical and durable.

In weaving Persian rugs, the foundation, materials, tools, dyes, knots used are described below in detail:


A rug’s foundation is its structure underneath having the pile knotted onto which is made up of the Wefts and Warps. While the wefts are placed between the warps to keep the knots in place, the former is passed through the latter and is combed and beaten down to compact the row of knots that creates the tight structure with the fringe of a rug being tied to loose ends of its warp. The latter is the vertical strands that are running up and down a rug which are important to the rug structure since the knots are tied to them.


Wool, silk, and cotton are mainly used in producing Persian rugs. For tribal weavers, it is wool made from either camel or goat. For the materials of both warp and weft, cotton is used. Wool is for the foundation in some tribal rugs and silk for the foundation and pile of intricate silk rugs.

Treating And Dyeing

Before the rug knotting process, the silk or wool gets treated and dyed. Depending on the look you are trying to get, there is an argument whether to use natural (vegetable) or chemical dyes should be used. Having different advantages, chemical dyes have been traditionally used and can achieve a number of brighter and more vivid shades and designs produced. With natural dyes, a more muted and the natural palette is the result.


Being pile-woven, the knots are tied by hand up to the warp strings considering the two important factors which are knot density and knot type. The former refers to and is measured through the number of knots per square inch (KPSI) while the latter is developed by the people belonging to different groups and tribes as time progressed namely Asymmetrical, Symmetrical, and Jufti knot.


When done with the rug knotting, the pile should be carefully clipped and shave to be able to correct the height to show the design in turn and desired texture be achieved. This must be done since the pile is too long and uneven and the pattern is barely from the rug’s front side. Then the rug must be washed to make sure that there will be no color run later in life and to remove excess debris and dye.


As the last step to ensure that there was no shrinkage during the wash, the rug is placed on a ‘blocking’ device. After quality control, the rug will be packaged and is now ready for shipping.

The tools needed in creating hand-knotted Persian rugs are comb, hook, spindle, scissors, knife, design plate, horizontal looms, vertical looms, fixed loom, Tabriz loom, and roller beam loom have the following functions:

The comb’s purpose is for sliding and beating down the weft between rows of knots.
The hook is either used for the separation of the warp strands while tying a knot then pulling out the yarn through the warp strands or for cutting the yarn after tying each not.
The spindle is for spinning fiber into yarn.
The scissors are for cutting the long or uneven pile while the carpet is being woven.
The knife is used along with the hook with a similar purpose.
The design plate is for showing what colors to use as a reference when creating the rug.
The horizontal looms are mostly used by nomads as they are easily dismantled in time for migration.
The vertical looms are specifically used to both village and workshop rugs and are more complicated than the horizontal loom.
On the fixed loom is where the weaver is sitting on an adjustable seat facing the front of the loom with the seat being raised as the rows of knots are added.
On the Tabriz loom is where the warp strands are being wrapped around and behind both top and bottom bars.
On the roller beam loom is where the rug’s woven part is being rolled around the lower beam.

In this day and age, the idealized model in creating Persian rugs is no longer being practiced. Much has been written in hand knotting rugs according to the books—the traditional and the modern method.

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