Persian Isfahan Rug
Shah Abbas the Great was an inspired King of the Safavid dynasty, and in consequence not only moved the capital of Persia to Isfahan from Qazvin but also started an artistic renaissance within the capital of his court. Under his vision and guidance carpet weaving in Isfahan flourished. However the Afghan invasion dealt a serious blow to this industry which it never recovered from until the beginning of the 20th century. Some early pieces created in the last century can be found which consist of 500.000 knots-1.000.000 knots/m2, however these are rare and few in number. World war I brought a change in “modern” Isfahan which was the center of weaving for the fashion industry of Iran. The change of fashion in the world also influenced Iran, causing Isfahan to lose its lucrative fabric industry. However, the shrewd businessman of Isfahan decided to utilize the fine quality wool in fabrics and Aba’s into high quality Persian rugs which again reestablished Isfahan as a base for one of the finest and most beautiful carpets of Iran.
Some Isfahani rugs became known in Western Europe as “Polish rugs”or “Polonese rugs”. This name refers to carpets woven with silk, golden and silver threads in Persia during the 16th-18th centuries and exported to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They were commissioned by wealthy Polish noblemen and decorated with their coats of arms. Some of them were later resold to West European buyers who were often convinced of their Polish origin, hence their name Antique/ semi-Antique rugs of Isfahan are more colorful and richer in tone than that of Nain, a nearby city renowned for its exceptional handmade rugs. Antique Isfahans are quite sought after since production had been almost completely been halted since 1722, during which the Afghan invasion occurred. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that it was firmly reestablished.