Like many other cities of Iran, Isfahan has a long history of carpets and its crafts. Seljuk dynasty is the period when carpets flourished in Isfahan. Shah Abbas of Safavid emphasized any form of arts and crafts that were of economic importance or considered valuable by the people such as carpets. After the capital was moved from Tabriz to Isfahan, the latter received and adapted the Tabriz style of making carpets, and later the Isfahan style was developed.
Numerous carpet workshops were opened, more of which were located in this city. From then Isfahan played a great part in the crafts of carpet. Some of its masterpieces, which are now kept in museums, not only demonstrate the unique and creative designs, but also contain some of the fundamental patterns of this important heritage of Iran. “Lahestani” or Polish carpets are one of products that were woven in Isfahan and now adorn some of American museums and collections.
Generally, Isfahan carpets can be categorized into eight styles: 1. carpets with “Toranj” or paisley motifs 2. wool carpets 3. silk carpets 4. “Goldar” or carpets with motifs of flowers 5. silk carpets known as “Lahestani” or Polish 6. carpets with motifs of vase 7. carpets with motifs of trees and gardens 8. curtain like carpets. Fall of Safavid dynasty after WWI and WWII damaged the carpets industry greatly.
Today Isfahan carpets that are produced in urban workshops have various sizes, whereas village products are usually small. They are bright in color, and beige and saturated blue are used more than other colors. Sometimes as much as fifteen colors are used which adds to the contrast of the palettes. The wraps and wefts are from cotton or wool yarn, but the silk carpets are from silk yarns. They are woven on vertical looms.
One specific of Isfahan looms is a wood called “Pich” that is attached to the bottom of the loom by metal wires and passes through the lower wraps. When the carpets is reaching the end and the wraps are too short to be attached to top of the loom, the “Pich” wood is moved to the top. This process helps the weaver to continue without changing his position.