Carpets - The Royal Court of Nader Shah-e Afshar

Size: 220x137 cm
Origin and time: Kerman, late 19th century
Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran
No. of Raj: 50

Kerman province is located in the south of Iran in the desert border, built by the Sassanians, and it is a very important weaving centre, where carpet-weaving was practiced along with shawl-weaving during the Safavid period. Most of the inhabitants of this province are involved in carpet weaving. All high-quality carpets of Kerman are woven in Ravar, 140 kilometres south of Kerman. As foreign companies had a big influence in the first half of the nineteenth century, instead of shawl and termeh the production of carpets and rugs increased.

The designs of Kerman carpets woven during the early 19th century were primarily adapted from Kerman shawls, but bit by bit the designs became more variable and incomparable to other carpet-weaving centres. As designers had to consider the western buyers’ taste, traditional Persian floral patterns such as Botteh (paisley) or Gol-o-Bolbol (flower and nightingale), pictorial designs and adaptations of well-known western paintings such as Venetian Festival were used in Kerman carpets. The combination of colours and repeated medallion and cartouche motifs result from a long tradition in Iran. One of the common designs in Kerman carpets is the repeated-vase design known as Zell-ol-Soltan, also applied by Indian designers during the Mogul period. Gol Farang and arabesques are used a lot in Kerman hand-weavings as well. One characteristic is the harmony of colours, often with dark and light blue, camel-brown, red, khaki and cochineal-red. About 15 to 30 colours in different shades are usually in a Kerman carpet, and unlike other regions, the wool is dyed before spinning. Another characteristic are the traditionally asymmetrical knots. Today, Kerman carpets are mainly double woven. Some of them are woven by the Afshar nomadic weavers.

The picture on the carpet shows the royal court of Nader Shah-e Afshar, who ruled as Shah of Iran. He was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty and a member of the Turkic Afshar tribe of northern Persia. Some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander.