Historically, Isfahan was a weaving and cultural center of great importance with its culmination as the capital of Shah Abbas, the great patron of the arts in the 16th century, “The Golden Age of Persian Weaving”. Except for the period of the Afghan domination of the early 1700’s, Isfahan has long produced antique carpets of great technical skill and sophisticated aesthetics.
Isfahan weavers of the 16th century were influenced by other important art forms including calligraphy, bookbinding, and mosaicwork. During this era, the royal city’s Persian carpet designers introduced distinctively curvilinear, delicate floral forms and the refined classical antique carpet designs such as the arabesque, scroll, vine interlacement, vase, and hunting motifs.
The high knot density antique carpets in which Isfahan excelled continued to be woven in the late 19th and 20th centuries, maintaining the original inspiration and attention to refinement and detail. The finest materials were procured and utilized including silk, lamb’s wool (called kerke), and jewel-toned natural dyes to create collectible, investment-level antique Isfahan rugs.
These Isfahan rugs are also excellent for decorative purposes, employing soft pastel tones, abundant ivory backgrounds, and elegant, delicate design motifs. The final close pile cutting in conjunction with a tightly knotted foundation yield a thin yet strong construction and highly resolute, clear carpet patterns.
The finest Isfahan rugs are rarely surpassed in the realm of intricate, innovative, gentle swirling embellishments and stained glass-like, luminous dyework.