History of Tabriz Rugs
For over two decades now I have run a rug cleaning company that specializes in cleaning of fine woven art like Tabriz rugs. They take their name from the Iranian city of Tabriz. These rugs have been hand woven in Iran’s second oldest city for hundreds of years. Tabriz, Iran is the capital city of the province of East Azarbaijan, also known as Aturpatgan. It is located in a basin of the Sahand Mountains and is 4459 ft. above sea level. It is the second largest city in Iran and has long been the main rug exporting city in the country. Through the centuries both pile and flat weave rugs have been produced here and the quality of them can be all over the spectrum. Today Tabriz has many other industries and factories to go along with their rug weaving facilities such as manufacturers of tractors, ball bearings, machinery, and refineries.
Tabriz rugs come in all kinds of designs but some of the most popular come with a coral field and mahi design. These rugs are produced in all shapes, sizes, and quality because of the popularity of them. However a good quality Tabriz will command a high price. The higher quality Tabriz will have a high knot per square inch count (600 - 850), be large in size and normally have a cotton foundation with a fine, soft wool pile. Typically these rugs will have small amounts of silk in them and some will suggest that this is what commands the higher price. However, that is not the case with Tabriz rugs. The better gauge of value of Tabriz rugs will be those with a higher knot per square inch count.
The Mahi design (or “fish” in Farsi) is an easily recognizable pattern and may also be referred to as the “herati” pattern named for the city of Herat in what is now Afghanistan. This motif is one of the most common patterns found in handmade rugs. It is a repeating design of rosettes surrounded by lancet leaves. Some say this pattern represents fish swimming in a pond. The basic idea of this pattern is very simple but the repeating design allows the person weaving the rug to still be innovative they don’t have to make the same rug over and over again. So these types of rugs will vary in design and pattern. In fact there are other patterns and designs in Tabriz rugs. They can include different medallion styles, figures of different things, pictorial designs, forest, animals, and even 3-d shaped rugs.
Besides these rugs being made in Tabriz they may also be hand knotted in other places such as Hamadan, Bijar, Saroukh, just to name a few. Since almost every rug producing country has copied its style then quality, price, and design can vary greatly. If you are purchasing one of these fine floor coverings make sure to purchase from a reputable rug dealer so you know exactly what you are getting when buying.