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Iranian Carpet

It is believed that the initial establishment of Persian carpets as an Iranian art began at the time of the Persian king Cyrus in 500BC, one of the greatest rulers in Persian history. However, it is believed that the Persian nomad tribes of modern day Iran had been weaving Nomad Rugs using sheep’s wool and hand knots which they used for lining the floors of their tents even before the time of Cyrus the Persian king!

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According to evidence such as the 2500-year-old Pazyryk carpet, dating back to the Achaemenid period, is hand-woven and was found in the Pazyryk valley in a tumulus dating back to the fifth century BC. This unique piece of art was partly damaged by age and oxidation, but it was preserved in a thick sheet of ice which had protected it for 25 centuries.

Late in 1929, a Russian ethnographic mission led by Rudenko and Griaznov began the excavation of five tumuli dating from the Scllhian period. The tumuli had been discovered in the Pazyryk valley, in the Altai mountains, 5400 feet above sea level, and some 6 miles from the border of Outer Mongolia.

In 1949 during the excavation of the fifth tumulus, a magnificent carpet came to light which today represents the most important piece of evidence in the history of Oriental Carpets. This is the only rug from the Achaemenid period known and preserved up to the present day.

Although it was found in a Scjythian burial-mound, most experts attribute it to Persia. Its design is in the same style as the sculptures of Perspolis, The outer of the two principal border bands is decorated with a line of horsemen: seven on each side, 28 in number — a figure which corresponds to the number of males who carried the throne of Xerxes to Perspolis. Some are mounted, while others walk beside their horses.

In the inner principal band there is a line of 6 elks on each side. The two external guards are decorated, with a succession of small squares containing imaginary creatures, probably griffins. The original colours used for this carpet are not known as they have almost faded away. The Pazyryk carpet is of rare beauty and was woven with great technical skill. The Pazyryk carpet compares favourably with that of the best, work from modern sources. There are about 49 knots per square cm in this carpet and it measures 2.00 cm X 1.83 cm .

The discovery of the Pazyryk carpet leads us therefore, to the belief that in a much more remote epoch than the 16 century Imperial period, carpet-making had gone through an earlier, brilliant phase, in which a very high level of technique and decorative values had been reached.

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