Designing Carpets

Designs and Images

Iran

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1.
Monument and architectural design

Since Achamenian Dynasty to Safavid era, beautiful tile-works, balcony plaster moldings and images for walls and ceilings have always inspired painters and carpet designers.

2.
Palmette Flower (Shah Abbasi) Design
This statement is generally used for designs and images related to Safavid era:
Simple and compound multi-petal flowers, twisting curves, Arabesque designs and images resembling Chinese clouds. Different kinds of Shah Abbasi designs are:
All-Over, Corner-Medallion, Tree, Animal, Sheykh Safi, Series of Turreted, Omitted (Shah Abbasi design with some changes), Turreted Paisley Medallion and Plain-weave Corner-Medallion design.
All-Over Palmette Flower design
The ground of this kind of carpet is fully covered by overlapping leaves, arabesque and Chinese flowers and curves and arch lines. In some designs we can see animals among leaves and branches. All these are surrounded by narrow or wide margins. Margins include roses, palm leaves or some geometrical images.
Palmette All-Over flower design lacks the central Medallion and four-corners of the ground. Despite the repeated All-Over flower design, the lower row designs are not repeated in upper rows and they just become symmetry form the midline of carpet.
Corner-Medallion (Shah Abbasi) design
It was used to decorate the leather book covers, before being used by carpet weavers. In this design, the central medallion, either circular or diamond shaped, is surrounded by four similar shapes named “Corner” (Lachak) in four corners of carpet. In many cases, corners are derived from medallion shapes.
Medallion includes Palmette, abstract leaves and other images. A background produced within the space between corners and central medallion, is elliptical and ends to the margins. Designs without corners are named “Shah Abbasi medallion” design.

Shah Abbasi “Animal” design
These carpets are commonly woven in Kerman and Qom. These designs are a variety of Artists tastes in combining the traditional images and animals. The carpet design is full of “Shah Abbasi” and “Chinese” flowers surrounded by corners and margins containing animals. In this design, stags, wolves, lions and gazelles are hopping in harmony with twisting branches.
Shah Abbasi “Turreted” design
The turreted all around the ground, is the characteristic of this design. Thus, corners are not a quarter of medallion, but go round the whole ground.
Shah Abbasi “Sheykh Safi” design
This design is an inspiration of Sheykh Safiedine Ardebili’s Tomb. Central Medallion, is surrounded by many flowers (called melon-shape flowers). These flowers are also used for corners (that each one has the size of a quarter of central medallion). Margin designs are a combination of Sheykh Safi carpet’s panels and inscriptive, that are arranged alternately. Flowers are among these patterns. Two lantern shapes are used instead of two ends of medallion.
Omitted Palmette Flower design (Shah Abbasi Tasarrofi)
The main factors are the same as Shah Abbasi images; but some changes made such as omitting corners and using half-medallions in ground of the main structure.
3.
Arabesque (Eslimi)
The origin of Arabesque designs is related to Sasanian dynasty. Some believe this name is derived from word “Eslami”, which could be possible relevant remaining from the beginning of Islam.
Some believe that Arabesque images have special meanings, while some others believe that Arabesque images were just decorative, and seeking for any symbolic purpose is useless. Another group consider it, as an altered shape of branches, vine leaves and trembling ivies.
In some cases, it is considered, these images derived from snake crawls and Chinese clouds. Even related it to dragons, waves, so they call it “Dragon’s Mouth”.

4.
All-Over Flower Design
The main idea of this pattern contains flowers, plants, branches and leaves, which all together reveal Iranian flower gardens. This pattern has no the medallion and those with corners include smaller ones, than usual.
All-Over flower designs, considering animal, flower and plant shapes are classified as follows:
Arabesque All-Over Flower, Chinese, Panel, broken, Pomegranate flower, twisted branch, Bouquet with animals, Medallion and Minakhani.
Minakhani design
The original patterns have been found in Kurdistan, Bijar and Savejbolagh and probably it originates from Kurdistan. Despite its being simple, any single weaving mistake will be apparent easily. This design is commonly used in Hamadan, Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari, Haris, Ghaen and other regions in Iran. It is also one of the common and formally used designs in Varamin.
Panel All-Over Flower (Repeated)
In this pattern, Arabesque, Chinese, flowers , … are repeated in horizontal rows.
Qashqai All-Over flowers
Flowers, plants, Arabesque branches, Semi-geometrical arrangements and dyeing, make this design distinguished form the others. Most of the Samples of this design are in form of “Nazim” flowers that is called “Gol Nazim” design.
5.
Derivative Pattern
These are the patterns, which have been brought to Iran from other countries, and used with some changes such as: Afghan, Anatolia (Turkey), Caucasus, Tapestry (France) and… derivative patterns.
Caucasian Derivative patterns
These designs are derived from traditional Caucasian images. These are among the imaginary tribe designs, which are woven by horizontal looms mostly in North Eastern part of Iran and in Turkmen Sahra. Parallelograms, lozenges, squares, polygons are the main constituents of these designs, which are the main constituents of these designs, cross shapes, snail and zigzag lines. These are in form of abstract, geometrical and symmetrical.
Derivative Tapestry
Using the patterns called “Gol Farang”, which are used in medallions and corners, make a design like the French Tapestry (Goblin).
6.Designing
Naming a design means repeating the same images all over the pattern. Different categories of designs are as follows:
Arabesque, Tendril, Broken, Inscriptive, Mostowfi, Multi-panel, Cedar, Bakhtiari, Feast, Bandarijani (Corner-Medallion), cluster of grapes, stag horn panel, Animal, Shiraz Inlaid and Bouquet.
A- Panel Arabesque
It is a common design in Kerman including various Shah Abbasi flowers with different colors, which repeat in a symmetrical style, while multiple Arabesque patterns surround them. Flowers are connected to each other by these Arabesque patterns.
B- Inscriptive Repetition
This is one of the designs, known as “Multi-Panel” design. The main image is repeated inscriptive and panel shapes. Inscriptive and panels include altered decorative images. Mostly, there are repeated decorative images between the inscriptive and panels. Margins are also in harmony with the ground design.
C- Multiple Lozenge (Multi-Panel) (Kheshti)
This design is more common in Southern tribes of Iran, and is a combination of connected lozenges, that each of them includes birds, flowers, leaves and geometrical images. These designs are alternately and intermittently spread over all the ground,  and smaller similar images are placed in margins.
D- Repeated Panels

It is the repetition of “Kheshti” images over all the ground
E- Armlet (Bazubandi) image
These images are derived from the shape of frames, armlets and belts, which were gained by victorious champions. The armlet image is made of diamond shape designs, which contain similar geometrical forms.
These images are mostly plain and fine lozenges with broken lines, which most probably are the continuation of cloth designs origined from Achamenian era. These carpets are woven on the horizontal looms. Armlet image is also known as “Shir-o-Shekari” (Milk and sugar design).
F- Stag Horn Panel with animal
This image is mainly based on twists and curves of a stag horn. So that designed flowers, leaves and buds, are limited by a twisted stag horn shape. Thus flowers are intermittently and symmetrically arranged. Delicately, small animals, like gazelle, deer and stag are seen, by the flowers.
G- Panel Bouquet image
These carpets are a combination of a series of palm leaves, Shah Abbasi flowers and abstract bouquets. One kind of Panel Bouquet images, includes a central medallion and four corners, at each corner of the carpet, and is called “Bouquet – Medallion”.
H- Medallion – water pool image
This design, which is one of the most ancient carpet designs, is also called “Frame” or  and “Multi – Panel”. Pazirik carpet is the oldest sample of this class. This design belongs to the tribes of Fars. Ground includes many multi-sided Medallions that are intermittently- with or without an intermediate-arranged next to each other. Medallion is filled by common patterns and images of region.
7- Paisley
This is one of the oldest carpet’s images. There are different theories, that what kind of image or abstract plant does this symbol refers to. It is a simile of hen, flower leaf, tree, fire flame, and is very similar to cedar that has an important role in miniature and Persian Literature. Paisley images have different names, such as: Stag horn paisley, Aigrette, Cashmere, Sarsabzi, Robe, Isfahan engraver, Kurdistanian, Borken Mir, Senneh Corner-Medallion, Afshari and Armlet.
A-Aigrette (Kerman Paisley)
The main image is the famous “Boteh-Jegheh”. Central Medallion is formed by one or more concentric medallions, that, also are decorated by tiny flowers, different olive leaves, half panels and Aigrette (Boteh-Jegheh). Non of the margins have any clear borders and there is no separating line between corners and margins. Corners spread all over the margins in the form of turreted.
B- Botteh Miri (Sarband)
In fact this is design of a pine tree, which its roots could be found in Sarband, one of the counties of Arak.
C- Octagon (Kurdistan Paisley)
This name is derived from the octagon paisley shapes, which are seen intermittently all over the ground. The empty space produced by octagon paisley shapes- symmetrically created in ground- is actually another modified eight-pointed star, which includes geometrical images.
8- Tree design
Plants and trees have always been a holly character in Iranian culture. Iranian weavers have attentively designed plant and tree images from ancient time. Usage of this design has originated from a village called “Ravar” near Kerman.
Carpet with tree design, are fully covered by leaves, flowers, cedar trees, animals and ponds. Arrangement of these elements, are either symmetrical and connected to each other, or unsymmetrical. Different tree designs are: Animal, Floral or Waterfront, Medallion, Cedar Tree, Vase, Overall and Corner-Medallion designs.
A-Tree design with Animal
This design, reminisces a thicket where domestic and wild animals are playing, jumping and resting. Wide margin, mostly include ground images in a smaller size, but slightly changed. Despite the other carpet designs, this one is not symmetrical at all, but a balance is observed in the combination of images.
B- Tree Floral design
This design is full of natural flowers especially sweetbrier and leaves, which are woven either with or without margin. Margins are woven relatively wide and are known as “Self-Margin”, “Broken Margin” or “Court Margin”. In a kind of Floral design, which is known as “Water-Front”, the central Medallion is made of a Water-Front full of a variety of colorful flowers.
9- Turkmen designs
“Shaneh” is one of the distinguished characteristics of Turkmen carpets, which is an additional weaving at two ends of the carpet. This design includes different samples, such as: “Ghab Yamut Shanei”, “Gozakhal gazelle”, Four Frame (Chahar ghab), “Silique” (khorjini) and spoon.
A-Turkmen Akhal (Bokharaian)
Ground is adorned by inscriptive and lozenge or spindle shape panels, which are sometimes connected to each others by interesting lines. Lozenges often include broken and geometrical images. Ground is mostly camel-colored or dark blue and main colors are red, white and black. Black lines create the design and white balances the red color of main images.
B- Spoon design (Yamut)
This name is derived from its similarity to Turkmen inlaid spoon handles. Spindle shape images, which are separated from each other with wide stripes, could be seen all over the ground. Red, black and white colors are mostly used.
10- Hunting image
Characteristic of this design is a combination of battle between animals like gazelles, deers, wolves, lions and also birds hidden among the trees and flowers, with curved Arabesque lines and Chinese flowers. These images have originated from the gorgeous hunting designs of Safavid era. Hunting patterns are classified as: Paneled tree with Medallion, Corner-Medallion and Overall.
11- Frame image
In this design, ground is divided in to multi-sided panels and inscriptive in an order. So that, each one has its own character, which could be similar to or different from the other panels. These images are classified in to Corner-Medallion, Overall, Arabesque and Kerman (Gab Qur’an) according to their usage and positions in the ground.
12- Gol Farang
The main factors in this design are variously colored multi-petaled flowers and western vases.
A. Corner-Medallion Gol Farang
In this design, the central medallion is surrounded by roses and Gol Farang vases. Corner’s image and color differs from the main design and ground. So that this distinction has produced an elliptical space containing Central Medallion. Wide margins reflect the main pattern’s colors.
B- Mostowfi design
In Iran, Secretaries, Accountants and Supervisors, were titled as “Mostowfi”. These designs are mostly common in Arak. Twisted branches Golforang and buds are the dominant design of Mostowfi carpets and regarding these Gol Farang flowers (Western flowers), also called “Gol Farang-e-Mostowfi”.
13- Vase design
Vase is the main image of this design. One or two vases are woven at the two sides of the carpet. Other elements are used in such a way that the vase could be placed among them.
Different classes are, Chinese vase image “Zel-i-Sultan” (flower and nightingale), Hajj Khanomi (Joshaghan), Overall, Pray-niche, Two sides, Repeated, Corner-medallion, one-sided and two-sided.
A-Overall Vase design
Vases are spread all over the ground. This design is repeated in wider margin, either exactly the same or with a little change.
14- Stripped design
In these images, colors are falling down the carpet in parallel and vertical lines. Stripped design is classified into Two –colors and Multi-colors (wide and narrow) classes. In two-color class, one of the colors is always white, and the other one is black, dark blue or jasper-green. Multi-color stripped design is divided into wide and narrow. Different classes of these design are  Overall ink pot, Tiny flower with monochromatic ground, Paisley with multi-color ground and Zigzag.
15- In and Out Fish design
The first samples of this design were found in Heart, thus, it is also called “Herati” design.
Designer presents a little fish in the form of little leaves. Some other types of fish designs are, “Senneh In and out Fish”, “Tiny Fish”, “Sturgeon”, “Farahan Fish” (Zanburi) and “Herati Fish”.
A-Tiny Fish
This name refers to very tiny In and Out Fishes design. These designs are not necessarily made of tiny fish images. In most of the cases very tiny flowers, which are called “Golcheh” or “Parehsib”, represent four sides of the lozenges that mostly include an eight – leaved flower. These lozenges are the main images that are spread one within the other all over the ground, corners and medallions.
16 – Prayer-Niche (Mihrab)
Mihrab is a place in Mosque, where “Imam Jama’at” (the head of Muslim prayers) prays, there. Regarding the holiness of Mihrab, this place is usually distinguished from the other spaces by embellishments, such as tile-works or arch. These images are called “Mihrab” in carpet designing. It is noticeable that, because of the holiness of these images, Hunting and Feast designs are not used in them; but trees and flowers representing heaven could be seen in these carpets. This design is classified in accordance with the decorative elements used in Mihrab design ground, such as columns, the hung lantern from the arch, trees and vases. 
Thus, the classification is:
Columned Mihrab, Tree (Anatolia), Vase and Scenery designs.
17 – Geometrical Patterns
The distinctive characteristics of this designs are the geometrical images, abstract flowers, an orderly and intermittently repetition of groups of 9 to 16 flowers, simple and decorative squares, triangles, lozenges, latticed ellipses and octagons with outstanding colors through the openings. Geometrical design is divided into “Joshaghani”, “Frame Panels”, “Stripped”, “Corner-Medallion” (Broken branch), “Shiraz Inlaid”, “Plain-weave” and “Chinese”.
18 – Tribal Patterns
These patterns are imaginary images of flowers, plants and production tools, that were first woven as Kilim and Jajim by Tribal women, but later on, carpet designers collected and saved these imaginary designs from vanishing.
These patterns are named according to their weaving regions: “Heybatloo”, “Qashqai”, “Afshari”, “Botteh”, “Ardebili”, “Sang Choobi” (wood-stone), “Zanjani”, “Bakhtiari”, “Lori”, “Kurd”, “Mazlaghani”, “Saveh”,…
19- Composite patterns
These images have no special patterns and are only a combination of different carpet designs. Some of them are:
“Twisted branch with Medallion”, “Overall with Medallion”, “Vase Corner-Medallion”, “Arabesque Panel”, “Multi-panel”, “Scenery”, “Bouquet Medallion”, “Floral Medallion”, “Plain-weaves Medallion”, “Plain-weave Corner- Medallion”, … .
A-Composite Multi-Panel
In this pattern, each panel has it’s own design. Some of multi-panel designs are a collection of images from different regions.
B- Composite Bouquet Corner-Medallion
In these patterns, corners and central medallion are full of multi-colored flowers and some twisted branches often full of buds, have surrounded the central medallion. Margins include Arabesque with Bouquet designs.
C- Composite Scenery
The main images are distinctive perspectives of buildings and palaces in the middle of medallion. The most famous this type, is “Sarough” (Arak) carpet.

 

Designs of Iranian Carpets

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