The art of carpet weaving in Iran began during the reign of Cyrus the Great in 529 BC. According to researchers, the Iranians were the first ethnic group to weave carpets and became world leaders in this field. As the latest archaeological research proves. The oldest known carpet in the world is the Pazyryk rug, which was discovered in 1949 by a team of Russian archaeologists led by Professor Rodenko during excavations in the Altai region of southern Siberia in the Pazyryk Valley.
Persian carpet in the Safavid period :
Shah Tahmasb and Shah Abbas Safavid, focusing on the commercial dimension of this Iranian art and investing heavily in it, launched the carpet weaving industry, which was organized in the form of carpet weaving workshops. The design and quality of Persian carpets reached its peak during the Safavid period (1499-1722). At this time, royal workshops were established that hired designers and weavers to produce the finest types of carpets with intricate designs, which were woven with silk and embellished with gold and silver threads. The artists drew patterns that were produced in the best possible way by the best carpet weavers throughout the kingdom and with the support of the kings. The trade of Iranian carpets with European countries also began in this period, and by creating a change in economic exchanges, Iran reached its golden age. Most of the exquisite Persian carpets belong to this period, including two types woven in the Ardabil Mosque in 1539, one of which is now kept in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the other in the Museum of the County of Los Angeles.
The Safavid dynasty ended with the golden age of its carpet industry at the same time as the Afghan invasion in 1722. Nader Khan then became king of Iran in 1736 and used the people to fight against the Turks, Afghans and Russia. However, villagers and nomads prevented the fall of this Iranian art.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the carpet weaving industry and its trade returned to their heyday. While trading with Istanbul, Americans and Europeans became interested in Iranian carpets and began importing them to the West.
The design, the number of knots along with the materials and colors used in Iranian carpets, have distinguished them from other carpets. Carpet weaving is a form of traditional art, the plant dyes in Iranian carpets do not spread when washed and exposed to light, and are therefore more expensive. Hand-woven carpets are considered more valuable due to their superior quality and design.