Considered as accessories to homes and offices, rugs have a long standing role in our lives as merely the woven pieces of heavy fabric that come in different shapes, sizes and colors. However, what are only seen as aesthetic elements to match your couch actually hold an interesting history that weaves culture and art into itself along with a sense of nationalistic identity that established trade and business between countries.
Iran started it all
Persian rugs are geographically linked to Iranian history, society and culture more than 2,500 years ago, according to this article. Created in villages for personal use, the rugs utilized designs and weaving that identified with the specific village or tribe from which it came from. By using threads in silver or gold, weavers and designers were able to create intricate designs that led to the creation of the best carpets.
Cyrus the Rug Maker?
It is believed that Cyrus the Great originated carpet weaving during his reign of the Persian Empire in 529 B.C. In the year 1499-1722, the Safavid Dynasty saw a peak in interest for Persian rugs, which brought forth the creation of a weaving industry. A trade industry began to bloom with Europe with Persian rugs as one of the items that spurred economic change and catapulted Persia into its golden age.
Imminent death of the rug trade
When the Safavid Dynasty ended with the Afghan invasion in 1722, there was a decrease in the design and quality of carpets. Though rug weaving was able to sustain itself among craftsmen and nomads, no high valued carpets were made after the Safavid Dynasty.
Resurgence in modern times
Despite the seemingly bleak future, the craft of rug weaving flourished toward the end of the 19th century. Trading businesses via Istanbul emerged while Western countries and Europeans took an interest in the craft.
Today, rug weaving is widespread in most Western countries, specifically, the United States and Europe.
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