The city of Tabriz is situated in North Western Iran, in the Azerbaijani province. Known for being one of the oldest rug weaving centers and producing some of the finest quality Persian rugs with a symmetrical knot instead of an asymmetrical knot like the rest of Persia. It is believed that Tabriz rugs reached their zenith between the 12th & 16th Century during the golden era of Persian Rugs.
Typical Designs of Tabriz Rugs
Tabriz produces a number of different designs that have influenced many other carpet weaving regions over time. One such design is the Herati Leaf/Mahi (Goldfish) design. This is show below;
This design splits a leaf in half with a silk thread woven in between two wool layers, usually different colours. This will make the leaf shimmer as you walk around the rug and the light refracts off it, almost mimicking a goldfish shining in water. This design dates back to the 9th century.
Tabriz is also famous for producing figural, pictoral and floral rugs. The floral rugs produced in Tabriz follow the same pattern as floral Isfahan rugs, using the Shah Abassi design as the predominate flower.
Influence of Poets on Tabriz Rugs
There have been many great poets in Persia that have influenced rug weaving, one of the areas that was most influenced by poets was Tabriz. Poets such as Hafez, Rumi, Ferdosi, Saadi, Fizuli & Omar Khayam all have heavily influenced the designs of Tabriz rugs. Their poems would often be depicted in carpets or their poetry would be woven into the borders of rugs.
Some of the common themes of the carpets are depictions of Khosrau, Shirin, Iskander & Layla and Majnun, these characters created by the poets were so strongly loved and valued that it greatly affected the artistry of Tabriz, not just in carpets but also paintings and miniatures.
How to Measure the Quality of a Tabriz Carpet
As Tabriz rugs are woven using the symmetrical knot; the quality of carpet is measured by Raj, rather than Kheft. The difference between these two measuring methods is the distance in which knots are counted. More details on this can be found here.
Materials Used to Weave a Tabriz Rug
Typically Tabriz rugs are woven using a mix of wool & silk. The silk will be used to accent and highlight certain areas of the rug, for example in the Mahi design it is used to make the leaves shimmer.
However there are also Tabriz carpets that are woven using only wool or using only silk. With the woolen variant being more readily available than it’s silk counterpart.
Master Weavers of Tabriz
There are a number of Master Weavers from the Tabriz region all famed for different reasons, some being, Haj Jalili, Abbas Alabaf , Tabatabaee & Jabari.
Typical designs include;
Pictoral (depictions of poems)
They’re usually a mix of silk & wool
You measure the quality of a Tabriz carpet by Raj