Provinces

Abadeh Rugs

Out in the middle of a desert-like landscape, right between Isfahan and Shiraz, is the town of Abadeh. You can find some fantastic carpets here. They are sturdy and can withstand many years of use without showing it. The knot density is 160,000-360,000 per m2. Senneh knots are generally used, and the wool is almost always of good quality.

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Afghan Tæpper

Afghanistan has old, proud traditions when it comes to hand-knotted carpets. Nomadic people live across most of the country, and they have a long history of knotting carpets. Afghan carpets have never quite achieved the same status as the Persian, Caucasian or Turkmen, but the older Afghan carpets in particular can be beautiful works of art.

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Afshar

If you drive south-east from Yazd towards the town of Kirman, you will arrive at the town of Shar-Babak. The carpets made here are denser than other Afshar carpets, and the dyes are better matched. The patterns often have large, stylised medallions filled with, e.g. Miribota or stylised flower, animal or bird motifs. The knotter may also have knotted his/her name and the year into the carpet or perhaps a line from a verse. The carpets are made on cotton with Senneh knots and with knot densities of 150,000-360,000 knots per m2. One of their characteristics is that they usually have an edge stitching made of cotton instead of wool, as with most other carpets. These carpets are only rarely seen on the market today, and they are significantly better and more valuable than the other Afhsar carpets.

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Ardebil

In the town of Ardebil, the patterns on some of the carpets made today greatly resemble the patterns from the Caucasus. There are large, geometric medallions and stylised animals and flowers, predominantly in golden and light pastel colours. Many carpets with Herati patterns in rust colours are also knotted here. Workshop carpets exist, and the wool quality varies greatly. The warp and weft threads are cotton, and Ghiordes knots are used. Dyes are usually synthetic. These are carpets that are usually quite affordable.

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Ardekan

Carpet names such as Natans, Aron and Adakan often appear on the market. Their patterns are dead ringers for Keshan carpets, but there are big differences since the materials and the knotting are of far poorer quality. These carpets are also on the cheap side. The knot density is usually 100,000 - 250,000 knots per m2. It is the carpet merchant’s responsibility to be honest and knowledgeable concerning his products, ensuring that the carpet is named correctly on the price tag with names like Natans-Keshan, Aron-Keshan and Ardakan-Keshan. Carpets with Keshan patterns are also knotted in Nadjafabad and even in Mashad.

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Azadabad-Hamedan

Zageh and Azadabad are found north-west of Hamadan. The pattern is often an oblong, stylised medallion with the Herti pattern, framed by a Serabend border. Or, they can be smaller carpets or carpet runners with zigzag patterns. From a quality perspective, these are average to good, compared to carpets in the area.

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Babaheidar

In this area, you also find the small town of Babaheydar. Here, carpets are knotted that are closely related to the Bakhtiar carpets. The shape is a bit more geometric and they can sometimes be knotted rather coarsely. 80,000-160,000 knots per m2 is very common. On the other hand, they are knotted from incredibly good quality wool, which is almost always coloured with natural dyes. These are very charming carpets that are durable when used.

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Baktiar

Bakhtiar, The town of the Kurds. Many of the Bakhtiar carpets are knotted in and around the town of Shahrecord by a population that previously lived a nomadic life, but which today has settled down. In this area, they use Senneh knots and the patterns are inspired by the medallions and flower vines of the Isfahan carpets. However, they are not nearly as finely knotted. Here too, the knot density is usually 100,000-250,000 per m2.

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Belouch

Belouch, Balouch, Baluch, Beluch Belouch carpets are knotted in the eastern part of Khorassan and all the way along the Iranian border to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are mostly made by Belouch nomads, but also in the towns of Turbat-i-Jan, Turbat-i-Haidari and Firdaus. Common to the Belouch carpets is the red-brown ground colour. They are usually very modest carpets with many borders. All the carpets are knotted with Senneh knots (Persian knots). The quality of the Belouch carpets can fluctuate more than any other, and it is difficult to specify a knot density – it can vary anywhere from 7,400 to 69,000 per ft2.

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Bidjar

The carpets from the towns of Bidjar and Tekab, as well as from the nearby villages, are famous for their special knotting technique and the high quality. They are among the sturdiest carpets you can buy. The genuine Bidjar carpets are some of the heaviest and, relative to the thickness of the yarn, some of the most densely knotted carpets available on the market. (Generally very tough and durable carpets)

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Birdjand-Moud

The Birdjand carpet patterns are a Herati pattern framed in a large, stylised medallion, often with light beige, blue, gold and orange colours. The warp and weft are made of cotton, with a medium pile made of good quality wool. The carpets are knotted with Senneh knots (Persian knots). The knot density is 18,500-37,000 per ft2.

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Bitkoneh

Bidgoneh carpets originate from the same area as Goltug carpets. They are in many ways comparable, but the Bidgoneh carpets are more finely knotted and you do not see as many on the market. (Generally very tough and durable carpets)

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Bochara

The carpets are knotted by nomads, semi-nomadic people and villagers. Bochara is a common carpet name, but it does not always mean that the carpets were knotted in that town. The patterns are often a tarantula pattern or one or more rows of octagons, also called roses (Güll). The contrast colours to the red ground colour consist of black, indigo or beige. The carpets are knotted on a horizontal loom, with good quality wool and a density of 15,000-46,000 knots per ft2.

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Burdjerd-Hamedan

Burudjerd is in the southernmost part of the Hamadan area. The carpets are similar in quality to the carpets from Tusserghan. The pattern is often a Boteh-mønster (flame pattern), Herati pattern or consists of large, stylised flower motifs on an indigo/dark blue or coconut-coloured base.

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Chinese Carpets

The patterns on the Chinese carpets can often be taken from old silk materials that were produced a long time ago. They may also be inspired by ceramics, lacquer and other forms of handicraft. Chinese patterns are usually designed with a strict geometric foundation.

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Dardjazin-Hamedan

The Dardjasin carpets are usually more flowery than most other carpets from the Hamadan area. However, they still have a rustic look and can be found with either beige, red or blue ground colours. The knot density is usually 11,000 - 23,000 knots per ft2.

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Djozan

Djozan is also located close to the border with the Arak area. Both in terms of quality and pattern, carpets from here are comparable with carpets from Saroug. However, they rarely come with strong shades of red and blue or indigo/dark blue, instead the colours are more subdued. They often have medallions on an indigo-coloured base with the Herati pattern. The Djozan carpets can be a little more rustic in their expression and often have an easily recognisable pearl chain pattern in the main border.

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Doroksh-Moud

In the town of Doroksh, carpets are made with the same patterns as Moud carpets. They are often signed by the carpet knotter or with the name of the workshop. Silk is usually used and the quality is slightly better than for the Moud carpets. They are also a bit cheaper to buy.

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Edelgrund

Edelgrund kelim and carpets. New kelim concept Some of my friends from Hamburg, the Borhani and Mohammadzadeh families, who are Iranian carpet merchants, are behind the new kelim carpet concept called Edelgrund. Together with a couple of Iranian carpet designers, they started production of modern kelim carpets in the Mazandaran province in northern Iran. Their concept is rooted in old traditions, even though the expression is entirely modern. They use the best raw materials on the market, for both wool and dyes. These kelim are woven in narrow strips, just like the nomads have been doing for centuries. Then, they are sewed together, which allows them to make any conceivable size carpet. This involves modern design. The patterns and the traditions are old. What is new is the way they are composed and the colour scheme. They are very decorative and fall on the pricey end of the scale for newly produced kelim carpets, but it is worth it.

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Farahan

Ferahan, Farahan, Feraghan. Here, you find proud traditions within the art of carpets making, but these carpets are rarely found on the market these days. These are very beautiful quality carpets with dense knotting. The local wool quality is good and lustrous. Many of the carpets that are knotted in Ibrahimabad today are being knotted according to old traditions, and they are the only ones that can rightfully call themselves Ferahan. The pattern is often a Herati pattern (also called a Ferahan pattern), which covers the entire carpet, framed by a Herati border and several small guard borders. The warp and weft threads are cotton, the Ghiordes knot is used and the knot density is between 18,500-46,000 knots per ft2.

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Gabbeh

Gabbeh carpets are rough and very rustic nomadic carpets, which are generally knotted by Kashgai nomads in the Fars-province of southern Iran. Gabbeh carpets have very simple patterns. Some of them consist almost entirely of one colour and are made of untreated yarn, the way wool is when it has been sheared. Others are striped or come with a few, primitive patterns or motifs with people and animals, which are framed by a main border. Even if Gabbeh carpets are coarsely knotted, they are still very robust due to the quality raw materials. You could be led to believe that the Gabbeh carpets are an attempt to pay homage to modern furniture design, but the Kashgai nomads have been knotting the Gabbeh carpets this way for a very long time. The only thing that has changed is the use of additional colours. Today, you can find Gabbeh carpets in almost any conceivable colour. They are also in such high demand that they are now being produced commercially outside the Fars province. They are knotted with a density of 5,500–11,000 knots per ft2.

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Garadje

Garadje, Karadja, Karaja. (Generally tough and durable carpets) Garadje carpets are knotted near Heriz. They are usually found in small sizes and as long, narrow carpet runners with geometric medallions. The quality is usually average or just below average. They are typically durable and fairly inexpensive carpets. However, there are collectors who are on the lookout for the slightly older and better-quality specimens. The warp and weft threads are cotton, the Ghiordes knot is used and the knot density is between 7,500-14,000 knots per ft2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes. The Baradjid carpets are rarely found on the market today.

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Ghazwin

Gazwin, Ghazvin, Qazvin, Kazvin, Kazwin. Gazwin is located about 300 km south of Tehran. The town’s production of carpets more or less ceased during the 1930s. They are usually good quality carpets with 37,000-65,000 knots per ft2. They can be very reminiscent of carpets from Keshan, but they seem a little more rustic in appearance. Few are available on the market, making them sought after collectors’ items.

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Giassabad

Ghiassabad, Giassabad. The carpets that today are called Ghiassabad are virtually identical to Saroug carpets. The difference is that Ghiassabad carpets are usually of even better quality, and the patterns often consist of small flower bouquets on a unicoloured beige, red, gold or blue ground colour. The knot density can easily reach 46,000 - 65,000 knots per ft2. (Most carpets from the Arak area are made for daily use - they are usually durable and made from high quality wool.)

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Goltug

(Generally durable and tough carpets.) North-east of Bidjar is the town of Goltug. The carpets are knotted by resident Kurds. In the 1970s, these carpets did not have a great reputation and the quality level was too low. Luckily, this has changed, and you can now find some lovely, rustic and durable carpets on the market. The carpets are in the mid-price range, where you get a lot of quality for the money. The patterns consist of hexagons and the Herati pattern as well as small stylised animals and flowers. The warp and weft threads are cotton, the Ghiordes knot is used and the knot density is between 14,000-18,000 knots per ft2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes., In the 1990s, there were many Goltug carpets on the market. This is no longer the case.

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Hamedan

(Most carpets from the Hamadan-province are good carpets - usually tough and wear resistant.) The Hamadan area is a large area with many hundreds of villages, all of which are known for their own patterns and qualities. The carpets from this area have their own names, all depending on their origin, but since the city of Hamadan is the gathering point for the area, these carpets are simply called Hamadan carpets, even if they were not knotted here.

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Hereke

Hereke, Anatolien. Turkish carpets. Turkish carpets are just as authentic and original as Persian. The fine, antique and old carpets are in demand and valuable. However, the wages in Turkey have become too high to sustain quality carpet production at reasonable prices. Compared to Persian carpets, the Turkish carpets are rather expensive and they are being produced in far smaller quantities these days. Turkey has become a favourite travel destination, so some carpets are being made specifically for the tourist market. There are some beautiful and original Turkish carpets on the market, but they are hard to find and you need to inspect them thoroughly and be very critical if you are considering buying one.

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Heriz

Heriz, Heris. (generally durable and tough carpets) The Heriz carpets are knotted on an upright loom, and these carpets are hard proof that knotting density is not the sole determinant of the durability of a carpet. Here, they use good, flexible wool, that despite rather coarse knotting has proven to produce a particularly wear-resistant carpet. The Heriz carpets are often found in large sizes, so it is possible to find a large carpet at particularly favourable prices. However, the old and well-preserved carpets can be quite costly. The pattern is usually a geometrically drawn medallion with large leaf motifs in the middle and corners. The colours are often golden, red-brown and blue as well as light beige. The warp and weft are of cotton, and it is made with Ghiordes knots. The knot density is 8,000 - 16,000 knots per ft2.

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Hossinabad

Hosseinabad, Hussainabad. Hosseinabad is a small town south of Hamadan. It is a great example of the large fluctuations in quality that exist on the market. This town can produce magnificent little gems, but also carpets that are very simple. The patterns often consist of rhombus-shaped medallions and the Harati pattern on a red ground colour.

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Illam

Ilam, Illam. The carpets from here are often finely knotted and of good quality. The Illam carpets are different, and they differentiate themselves from other carpets in this area due to their great quality. They are usually knotted on a silk warp with a density of 46,000 - 74,000 knots per ft2. The wool is good quality as are the dyes, which consist of a blend of natural and synthetic.

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Ingelas-Hamedan

Engelas, Ingelas, Injalas. The town of Engelas is found south-east of Hamadan. Carpets produced here are among the better-quality carpets in the area. There are, however, some exceptions. The pattern is often a Herati pattern on a red or creamy ground colour, framed by a Serabend border. (Most carpets from the Hamadan-province are good carpets - usually tough and wear resistant.)

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Isfahan

Isfahan, Esfahan, Ispahan, Espahan. For centuries, Isfahan carpets have been admired, and it was probably these Persian carpets that the Europeans first learned to appreciate. Many of these carpets were gifted to kings, emperors and princes, and this made the art of carpet making known and desired worldwide. Today, many carpets from Isfahan are being knotted on a silk warp with Senneh knots and a knot density ranging from 56,000 to some 93,000 knots per ft2.

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Karabach

Some amazing carpets have been knotted in the Caucasus over the years. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. Political unrest as well as Russian involvement in the carpet production has long since ended the golden age of Caucasian carpets, and only very limited production of hand-knotted carpets is taking place today.

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Kashgai

There are many nomadic tribes in the area. Most people just refer to them as Kashgai nomads, but behind this common name hides a wealth of individual tribes. For example, the Kashkuli, Bulli, Turki, Darashuri, Shisbuluki, Farsimadan, Safi Khani, Gallanzans, Rahimi and Qarachihi tribes are some of the most important in the area. The women from these tribes still knot beautiful carpets. You might think that they use Turkish knots because of their Turkish heritage. But this is not the case at all. In particular, the very tightly-knotted carpets are usually made using Persian knots (the Senneh knot).

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Kashkuli

There are many nomadic tribes in the area. Most people just refer to them as Kashgai nomads, but behind this common name hides a wealth of individual tribes. For example, the Kashkuli, Bulli, Turki, Darashuri, Shisbuluki, Farsimadan, Safi Khani, Gallanzans, Rahimi and Qarachihi tribes are some of the most important in the area. The women from these tribes still knot beautiful carpets. You might think that they use Turkish knots because of their Turkish heritage. But this is not the case at all. In particular, the very tightly-knotted carpets are usually made using Persian knots (the Senneh knot).

more about Kashkuli

Kashmar

The town of Kashmar is found south-west of Mashad and it has no old carpet tradition to draw from. The patterns consist of medallions, flowers and vase motifs. The Herati pattern is very rarely seen. Most often, they use light and pastel colours. The warp and weft are made of cotton, with a tall pile made of varying wool quality. The knot density is 9,000-23,000 per ft2. The carpets are knotted with Senneh knots.

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Kashmir

The production of hand-knotted carpets began in India in the 16th century. They got some skilled Persian knotters to move to India, and they learnt the art of carpet making from them. Much like in Pakistan, the Indians mainly produce Persian patterns. The quality of the Indian carpets fluctuates, like in the other carpet production nations. Many carpets were exported that did nothing to benefit the reputation of Indian carpets, and this practice continues today. However, in recent years, I have been positively surprised on several occasions by some of the handicraft originating from Indian looms.

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Kaukasus

Some amazing carpets have been knotted in the Caucasus over the years. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. Political unrest as well as Russian involvement in the carpet production has long since ended the golden age of Caucasian carpets, and only very limited production of hand-knotted carpets is taking place today.

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Kazak

Some amazing carpets have been knotted in the Caucasus over the years. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. Political unrest as well as Russian involvement in the carpet production has long since ended the golden age of Caucasian carpets, and only very limited production of hand-knotted carpets is taking place today.

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Keisery

Some amazing carpets have been knotted in the Caucasus over the years. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. Political unrest as well as Russian involvement in the carpet production has long since ended the golden age of Caucasian carpets, and only very limited production of hand-knotted carpets is taking place today.

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Kelardasth

Kelardasht is a small area located at the foot of the Kelar mountains, between Tehran and the Caspian Sea. The patterns here are large and unicoloured, framed by a big, stylised medallion or hexagon with a few stylised animals or birds. A Kelardasht carpet can be very interesting for those looking for a simple and modest pattern design. They are incredibly charming carpets in the favourable end of the price range, but the quality can also vary significantly. These are carpets that were regularly available on the market in the 1990s. The older ones are typically of better quality. The warp and weft are cotton, and the wool quality is good. The Ghiordes knot (the Turkish knot) is used, and the knot density is usually between 11,000-23,000 knots per ft2.

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Kelim

The kelim carpet is plainly woven and thus has no pile. The pattern is created by the weft threads, that are fully covered by the warp threads. This technique is related to the tapestry technique. The weft threads are introduced by colour in the desired part of the breadth of the weave. The open gaps or slits that are often found in kelim appear between the colour fields. They can be kept open, or they can be sewed shut. In some variants of the kelim technique, the different coloured adjacent threads are woven together. This prevents gaps. The thread ends can be hidden in the weave, which looks identical on either side, but they can also hang as loose threads on the backside of the carpet.

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Kelim Puder

Kilim pillows are manufactured according to two different principles. Some of them are made of old authentic kilim and then there are those that are brand new produced. Most Kilim pillows are made when larger kilims are cut down in size, often because they are too long. The excess piece is then cut into appropriate sizes and backs are sewn on. In this way they become cushion covers. It can also be because a kilim has become very old and worn. Then the "healthy" part of the kilim is cut into suitable pieces and made it into pillows. In the same way, bags, purses and puffs as well as patchwork rugs etc. are also made. In some cases, new kilim pieces are woven for the purpose. However, they do not have the patina that often makes the kilim cushions so charming. Most of the kilim cushions we see on the market come from Turkey. However, they are also seen manufactured in Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

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Keshan

The most common Keshan pattern is a central medallion on a blue, red or beige ground colour and with corner motifs. The base is usually full of leaf vines and flowers. Many are signed by the knotter or the pattern designer, or you might see the name of the workshop in the signature. Full motifs may also be knotted in pure silk, for example all the flowers. Keshan carpets in pure silk are still being made, but they are rarely on the market. Beautiful carpets are still being made in Keshan today, and they have retained their traditional old patterns through hard work and incredible precision. The carpets are knotted with Senneh knots on a cotton warp, and the pile consists of good quality wool. The knot density is 23,000-74,000 per ft2.

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Kirman

Kirman is known for fine carpets with motifs of people and animals as well as striped carpets, carpets with large unicoloured fields and medallions, as well as carpets with many nice flower motifs. Some of the most expensive carpets ever to appear on the market were knotted in this province. The wool and dyes are absolutely amazing, particularly on the old carpets. The knot density can vary greatly and is between 23,000 and 69,000 per ft2. The antique carpets have a knot density of 46,000 - 74,000 knots per ft2.

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Kolyai

Kolyai carpets are being made in Kurdistan. They are durable and charming carpets, which are often made in sizes not tailored to Western demand. These are carpets you buy with your heart and not because the size matches the coffee table. The wool quality is good and the colours consist of red, blue, green, white and black. The warp and weft are of cotton and you can often find fringes just on one side of the carpet. Ghiordes knots are used. The knot density is about 11,500-18,500 per ft2. (Genereally tough and durable carpets)

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Kurdi

(Generally tough and durable carpets) These are carpets you buy with your heart and not because the size matches the coffee table. The wool quality is good and the colours consist of red, blue, green, white and black. The warp and weft are of cotton and you can often find fringes just on one side of the carpet. Ghiordes knots are used. The knot density is about 11,500-18,500 per ft2.

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Lambaran

(Generally tough and durable carpets) The Lambaran carpets are knotted north-west of Heriz. They are wear-resistant and durable, almost always found as carpet runners and they come in lively red, blue and beige colours. The patterns are geometric medallions. These are good quality carpets at particularly favourable prices. The warp and weft threads are cotton, and they use Ghiordes knots with good wool quality. The knot density is 7,000 - 18,500 knots per m2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes.

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Lavar-Kirman

Kirman is known for fine carpets with motifs of people and animals as well as striped carpets, carpets with large unicoloured fields and medallions, as well as carpets with many nice flower motifs. Some of the most expensive carpets ever to appear on the market were knotted in this province. The wool and dyes are absolutely amazing, particularly on the old carpets. The knot density can vary greatly and is between 23,000 and 69,000 per ft2. The antique carpets have a knot density of 46,000 - 74,000 knots per ft2.

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Lilian

These carpets are similar to good carpets from the Hamadan area. The pattern is easily recognisable, with large flower motifs on a red, blue or beige ground colour. Both Senneh and Ghiordes knots are used. The warp and weft are made of cotton. The knot density is 100,000-250,000 per m2. Some of the older carpets from this area were knotted with extremely fine wool and have lustrous silk-like surfaces. Such carpets are in-demand with collectors. (Most carpets from the Hamadan-province are good carpets - usually tough and wear resistant)

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Loribaft

Gabbeh carpets are rough and very rustic nomadic carpets, which are generally knotted by Kashgai nomads in the Fars-province of southern Iran. Gabbeh carpets have very simple patterns. Some of them consist almost entirely of one colour and are made of untreated yarn, the way wool is when it has been sheared. Others are striped or come with a few, primitive patterns or motifs with people and animals, which are framed by a main border. Even if Gabbeh carpets are coarsely knotted, they are still very robust due to the quality raw materials.

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Luri

Luri-Fars, Luri-Abadeh, Luri-Bahtiari, Luri-Varamin, Luri-Kirman, and so on. For a professional, it can sometimes be very easy to see that the carpet was knotted by Luris, but the design might, for example, resemble an Abadeh carpet. This would make the carpet a Luri-Abadeh. Most Luri carpets have their own specific characteristics. Generally, they are rather coarsely knotted, with 80.000120.000 knots per m2. They are typically made from good quality wool, dyed naturally, and sometimes the entire surface can be lustrous like silk.

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Malayer

The town of Malayer is located in the eastern part of the Hamadan area, close to the border to Arak. In terms of quality and pattern, malayer carpets are comparable to carpets from Saroug and Djozan. They can also slightly resemble carpets from Ferahan as they are knotted with a different technique and seem a bit thinner. However, do not mistake the quality, which can be amazing particularly in the older carpets. Here too you will find subdued red and blue colours as well as indigo/dark blue. Some carpets from Malayer also come with a pearl chain pattern on the main border. The knot density is usually 14,000-28,000 per ft2.

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Maschad

Today, Mashad is a very important carpet town, and it is also a gathering point for the carpets that are made by the numerous nomads in the area. The town is famous for its good quality wool. Good, durable carpets are knotted in the actual town of Mashad. The pattern is cultivated and tasteful, with a central medallion, and the ground colour is usually red. It is an easily recognisable shade of violet-red. This colour is obtained from the cochineal red dye used here, which is different from the madder red used in most other places. The Senneh knot (Persian knot) is used, and the knot density is usually between 18,500-46,000 knots per ft2.

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Maslagan-Hamedan

Mazlaghan carpets originate from the area north-east of Hamadan. They are easily recognisable due to their patterns. They often have an oblong, stylised medallion with a yellow zigzag stripe around it, reminiscent of lightning. The colour compositions are usually quite strong.

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Mehravan

Many of the carpets being sold today were knotted in the 1980s and 1990s. These are carpets with great value for money. The patterns are often large octagons or stylised medallions with flowers and animals. In the actual town of Tabriz, many different patterns are knotted, including patterns that were originally knotted in completely different parts of Iran. (Generally tough and durable carpets)

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Meschajechi

They are commercially produced and resemble carpets from Ardebil, Moud or Tabriz Marhi. They are typically rust coloured and can sometimes be of very good quality. The original Sarab carpets usually use a mix of natural and synthetic dyes., The knot density is 120,000 - 180,000 knots per m2. The Mashayekhi carpets have a knot density of 33,000 - 69,000 knots per ft2.

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Meschkin

Meshgin is found north-east of Ardebil. Here you can generally find sensible and charming carpets at very good prices. The carpets knotted here are mostly carpet runners with stylised, somewhat stretched medallions. The dyes are often synthetic, camel hair coloured, blue, beige and a bit of red. The warp and weft are made of cotton, and Ghiordes knots are used. The knot density is about 7,500-23,000 per ft2.

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Mey-meh

The carpets from the Djoseghan area are lovely carpets. They are not available in large quantities, but they are easy to recognise from their distinctive patterns. The interesting thing is that this pattern has not changed in several centuries. The dyes used can be either natural or chemical. The wool is of relatively good quality. The carpets come from four towns in the area, located close to one another.

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Mianeh

Miyaneh is found south of Ardebil. Good, durable and wear resistant carpets are knotted here – mostly long carpet runners. The patterns often consist of geometrical medallions with stylised floral motifs. The knot density is 7,000 - 18,500 knots per ft2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes.

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Moud

The patterns of the Moud carpets are round medallions, with a Herati pattern as a fill pattern, and round corner motifs with flower vines. The colour scheme is light beige, blue and gold. You rarely see red colours on a Moud carpet. The quality is good and silk is often used to highlight the patterns. The Senneh knot is used, and the pile medium height and of good quality. The knot density is about 23,000-46,000 per ft2. When you write about carpets from Moud, the Armini family deserves to be mentioned as they have been responsible for the production of some of the best carpets in the area in recent times.

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Nahavand

The town of Nahavand is found further south from Tusserghan. The carpets from here are reminiscent in quality of the carpets from Tusserghan, but their patterns are often more floral. Similarly, these are carpets that can offer great quality for money, but again you must be careful since quality fluctuates drastically. In particular, the dye and wool quality in the newer carpets can be very disappointing.

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Nain

The original carpets from Nain are among the finest and best carpets knotted in Iran. The patterns are beautiful and harmonic, often involving birds and flower vines or ‘mehrab’, prayer alcoves with mosaic patterns. The most used is the shah Abbas medallion pattern. The colours are mostly limited to light cream, blue, light blue and golden. However, you often see patterns accentuated by a fine silk border around each one, which is called a highlight. The warp and weft are usually made of cotton. The carpets are knotted with Senneh knots. The knot density is 300,000 - 1,000,000 knots per m2.

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Namaslyk

Compared to Persian carpets, the Turkish carpets are rather expensive and they are being produced in far smaller quantities these days. Turkey has become a favourite travel destination, so some carpets are being made specifically for the tourist market. There are some beautiful and original Turkish carpets on the market, but they are hard to find and you need to inspect them thoroughly and be very critical if you are considering buying one.

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Nanaj

Nanaj is located about 70 km south of Hamadan. Carpets from this region are often an ‘all over-design’, or in other words, without a medallion. You often find wide carpet runners or large carpets with red or indigo ground colours decorated with large, rustic floral motifs. The wool is usually of quite good quality and natural dyes are often used. As with most other carpets from this area, they are sturdy and wear resistant. The knot density is 11,000-18,500 per ft2.

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Nasrabad

The Naidrabad carpets also originate from this area just south of Isfahan. They are often beaten hard and knotted at a density of 11,000-30,000 knots per ft2. They usually have large, unicoloured surfaces in red, blue or beige, with stylistic animal motifs and an anchor medallion. Like most other carpets from this area, they are made of good quality wool dyed with natural dyes. Both Ghiordes and Senneh knots are used. Among the true Bakhtiar carpets, the most well-known are the Tschalschotor, Bibibaft, Armanibaft, Zamann and Shahrecord.

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Nimbaft

In some cases, you see a combination of knotting and weaving in the same carpet. These are called Nim-baft carpets. ‘Nim’ means half and ‘baft’ means knotted. There are thus areas of the carpet's surface that are plainly woven, made with kelim or the soumak technique, and knotted areas with a pile. They have a special relief effect and can sometimes be very decorative and artistic. Most Nimbaft crafted originates from the area around Sirdjan to the south.

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Poutau

The most important carpet producing centres in China were Beijing, Shanghai and Tientsin. Until recently, production of hand-knotted carpets took place in factories, which at times could employ over a thousand employees. The wool in the pile is generally good and with long fibres. The yarn is machine spun and dyed with synthetic dyes. The patterns on the Chinese carpets can often be taken from old silk materials that were produced a long time ago. They may also be inspired by ceramics, lacquer and other forms of handicraft. Chinese patterns are usually designed with a strict geometric foundation.

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Quchan

Gouchan carpets, Kurdi-Belouch and Ghombad-Ghabuz are knotted in the area west, north-west of Mashad by nomads and local farmers. The patterns are simple, with motifs such as ram horns, scorpions, octagons and large stylised medallions. Some of the motifs are often knotted in silk. Overall, they are very inspired by the patterns from the Azerbaijan area (the north-western part of Iran and the border area towards Turkey and Russia). The colours consist of warm red, golden, orange and black. The wool is dyed with natural dyes and the Senneh knot is used. The warp and weft can be made from either wool, cotton or silk. They can have up to 750,000 knots per m2.

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Qum, silke

Qum is particularly famous for its silk carpets, which are among the finest in the world. Mr Rashti Zadeh is not only famous in Qum, but all over the world, as a knotter and designer. Carpets with his signature are very sought after collectors’ items. the durability of a silk carpet is far greater than people think. It is a natural material and can certainly be placed on the floor. Silk carpets are not the only kinds of carpets made in Qum. Many of the carpets are knotted with wool on cotton warp. For these, you can often find silk highlights, as they are called. The silk is often used to bring out a pattern or for a motif, like birds or flowers.

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Qum, uld

Silk carpets are not the only kinds of carpets made in Qum. Many of the carpets are knotted with wool on cotton warp. For these, you can often find silk highlights, as they are called. The silk is often used to bring out a pattern or for a motif, like birds or flowers. Qum carpets where wool has been exclusively used in the pile are usually made of finely spun quality wool. They are often called Qum-kurk. However, very few carpets are knotted of genuine kurk wool as it is a delicate and precious material only available in limited quantities. Among the town's recognised masters, you can findJamshidi, Mirmehdi, Ahmadi, Erami, Kazemi, Mohammadi, Kashizadeh, Djeddi and so on. The carpets in Qum often have patterns with birds and flowers, garden patterns (Khristi), shah Abbas’ patterns and Miribota as common motifs. Similarly, you often see the mosque’s mosaic patterns beautifully recreated in the carpets – also called the ‘mehrap pattern’.

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Rizbaft

The Rizbaft carpets are also a type of Gabbeh carpet. They are just more finely knotted. Riz means fine and baft means knotted, so Rizbaft-Gabbeh means finely knotted Gabbeh. The design and origin are the same as for the Gabbeh carpets. Luribaft-Gabbeh are typically of good quality, just like the Rizbaft carpets. As the name implies, they are knotted by the Luri nomads rather than the Kashgai nomads. Like the Gabbeh carpets, Rizbaft-Gabbeh come in many different colours and patterns. Quite a few of these carpets are being knotted today by village residents. They are knotted with a density of 15.000-33.000 per ft2.

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Rudbar

The town of Rudbar is found north-west of Hamadan, towards the Caspian Sea, and been hit by earthquakes on several occasions. Carpets produced in this town are among the better-quality carpets in the area. We do not see many of them on the market any more. The carpets have their own special patterns with stylised bird and floral motifs, often on a light, creamy ground colour, or a Herati pattern without a medallion. The knot density is about 15,000 - 33,000 knots per ft2.

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Samarkand

Pakistan does not have an old tradition to rely on when it comes to carpet production. The wool is one of the easiest ways to tell Pakistani carpets apart. It seems softer than other types of wool used for carpet production, and it can also feel a bit greasy. This is because glycerine is often added to make it shinier. In the past, you would most often find carpets with classic patterns, such as the bochara pattern. Today, every imaginable pattern is being knotted in Pakistan, both classic and modern. They fluctuate greatly in quality and can at times be fairly good.

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Sarab

The Sarab carpets often have a somewhat stretched hexagon, and the colours tend to be dominated by the camel hair coloured wool. You can also find newer, different carpets from this region, which are called Sarab Mashayekhi (Mashayakhi). They are commercially produced and resemble carpets from Ardebil, Moud or Tabriz Marhi. They are typically rust coloured and can sometimes be of very good quality. The original Sarab carpets usually use a mix of natural and synthetic dyes., The knot density is 11,000 - 16,000 knots per ft2. The Mashayekhi carpets have a knot density of 33,000 - 65,000 knots per ft2.

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Saroug

The carpets are among the most durable in Iran, but here too you can find carpets with dyes and wool qualities that do not even come close to the standards of old. The colours are beautifully matched, with warm, subdued nuances, but you can also find wonderful compositions of strong reds and blues. The warp and weft are cotton and the Ghiodres knot is mostly used, though you can sometimes find carpets with the Senneh knot. The knot density fluctuates greatly and can be 14,000-55,000 per ft2.

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Saroug-Mir

Saroug-Mir carpets are reminiscent in structure of the Saroug carpets. They are knotted in several places in the Arak region, though in particular in and around the town of Mirabad. They are also good, durable carpets. Typical of the Saroug-Mir carpets is the Mir pattern (Mir-i-Boteh). which spans the entire carpet on a unicoloured blue, red or beige ground colour, framed by a Serabend border consisting of a main border and several guard borders. These carpets are rarely finely knotted, and they typically have 7,000-18,500 knots per ft2, but since quality wool is generally used, they are still a good, durable carpet that can usually be purchased at affordable prices.

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Saveh-Hamedan

Saveh carpets are usually brightly coloured, often with dark red and strong blue nuances, and they have geometric patterns. The wool is often of high quality and the carpets are quire durable in relation to their knot density. The knot density is usually about 11,000-17,000 per ft2. Carpets from here are usually durable and made from high quality wool.

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Senneh

Senneh carpets are knotted in and around the town of Senneh (Sanandaj). This is the carpet area in Kurdistan where the finest carpets are knotted, which means that they are made from yarn that has been finely spun, thus allowing denser knotting. The patterns are often Herati, framed in a large rhombus-shaped zigzag medallion, or three hexagons on a unicoloured red or blue ground colour with Herati patterns as fill. The Senneh knot gets its name from the town of Senneh. However today, both Senneh and Ghiordes knots are used. The warp and weft threads are cotton, and the knot density is between 23,000-46,000 knots per ft2. (Carpets from here are generally durable and made from high quality wool.)

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Serabend

South-west of Hamadan is the town of Serabend. Here they have retained their original carpet pattern for centuries. It is easy to recognise through the Serabend border (Schekiri border), which frames the Mir pattern. The carpets are dead ringers for the carpets from Saroug, in the neighbouring area of Arak, called ‘Saroug Mir’. However, both the quality and price are usually lower.

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Shahsavand

The carpets made here are denser than other Afshar carpets, and the dyes are better matched. The patterns often have large, stylised medallions filled with, e.g. Miribota or stylised flower, animal or bird motifs. The knotter may also have knotted his/her name and the year into the carpet or perhaps a line from a verse. The carpets are made on cotton with Senneh knots and with knot densities of 14,000-28,000 knots per ft2. One of their characteristics is that they usually have an edge stitching made of cotton instead of wool, as with most other carpets. These carpets are only rarely seen on the market today, and they are significantly better and more valuable than the other Afhsar carpets.

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Shiraz

The carpets called Shiraz on the market today are knotted rather loosely, with 90,000-150,000 knots per m2. The wool is often flexible and lustrous. The carpets can be extremely charming and fall in the lower end of the price range. However, the good quality products can be quite expensive. They are often called Kashgai carpets or Kashkuli. In this area, natural dyes are often used, but synthetic dyes are not unheard of. The patterns usually consist of hexagons and stylised animals and flower motifs. Typical to these nomadic carpets is that many of them have a two-coloured edge stitching.

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Shirvan

Some amazing carpets have been knotted in the Caucasus over the years. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. Political unrest as well as Russian involvement in the carpet production has long since ended the golden age of Caucasian carpets, and only very limited production of hand-knotted carpets is taking place today.

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Sirdjan

Sirdjan-Afshar carpets are also knotted by resident Afshars in and around the town of Sirdjan. Here too they use Senneh knots on a cotton warp, and the dyes are blue, red and cream. The quality in this area varies greatly, and the carpets fall on the cheap end of the scale. The knot density can be as low as 7,000 per ft2. During my apprenticeship in Hamburg, I sold hundreds of these kinds of carpets, in particular to Scandinavian carpet merchants. However, they are no longer available in such large quantities as back then.

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Soumack

The Soumak carpets are in the same family as kelim. However, they are made according to a different weaving technique, of which there are several variations. Most soumak carpets from Iran are made near Ardebil, in the north-west, or nearby Sirdjan, in the south-east. The kelim carpet is plainly woven and thus has no pile. The pattern is created by the weft threads, that are fully covered by the warp threads. This technique is related to the tapestry technique. The weft threads are introduced by colour in the desired part of the breadth of the weave. Kelim woven carpets and textiles are also known from ancient Egypt and from several other parts of the world, such as Peru and Poland. However, Oriental kelim is the most famous. For example, the Safavid kelim carpets from 1500-1700 Iran, with silk gold and silver threads, the Persian kelim from Sanandaj (Senneh) and the Caucasian and Anatolian (Turkish) kelim.

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Tabaz

These days, virtually all carpets made in Tabas are replicas of Nain carpets. Originally, Tabas had its own pattern, colours and traditions within the carpet industry. They were also decorated with flowers and leaves, but more in style with some of the other carpets in the Khorasan province. Today, you have to be an expert to see the difference between an average carpet from Nain and a Tabas carpet. They have 15,000-26,000 knots per ft2 and are knotted from relatively poor wool. The dyes are synthetic.

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Tabriz

In Tabriz, traditional production has been based on export, and the quality varies from some of the worst, using poor quality wool, to some of the finest and most luxurious, with silk in the piles and using the best wool. When you disregard the worst quality and focus on the nice, quality carpets, you could say that Tabriz carpets are among the best of Persia. Tabriz is also known for its tapestries, which refer to carpets knotted into landscapes, portraits and the like. Tabriz does not really have its own easily recognisable patterns.

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Tafresh

The town of Tafrish is located north-east of Arak, towards Tehran. Carpets from here are often comparable in quality with a good carpet from the Hamadan area. They are however more finely knotted and the pattern is easy to recognise on the rather special, scalloped medallion. The colours are nicely matched and provide a rich contrast. The wool is usually good, but can vary somewhat in quality. The warp and weft threads are cotton, the Ghiordes knot (the Turkish knot) is used and the knot density is between 14,000-28,000 knots per ft2. Most carpets from the Arak area are made for daily use - they are usually durable and made from high quality wool.

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Tajabad-Hamedan

The village of Tajabad lies in the Markazi province, just North of Arak in Iran. The carpets made here has many similarities with carpets from Tafrish, Malayer and other local carpets from the Markazi province.

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Tudeskh

The original carpets from Nain are among the finest and best carpets knotted in Iran. The patterns are beautiful and harmonic, often involving birds and flower vines or ‘mehrab’, prayer alcoves with mosaic patterns. The most used is the shah Abbas medallion pattern. The colours are mostly limited to light cream, blue, light blue and golden. However, you often see patterns accentuated by a fine silk border around each one, which is called a highlight. The warp and weft are usually made of cotton. The carpets are knotted with Senneh knots. The knot density is 28,000 - 93,000 knots per ft2.

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Turkoman

The history and fate of Turkmen carpets is reminiscent of the Caucasian. The old and antique carpets from this area are very much in demand among collectors, and some of them are very valuable. However, in Turkmenistan you can still find extensive production of carpets, even though the prices are increasing here as well. They are typically good, durable carpets in red colours and at reasonable prices.

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Tusserghan-Hamedan

In the town of Tusserghan south of Hamadan, you can still find beautiful and charming carpets of great quality. The patterns are stylised, often with a medallion and animals and flowers. These are carpets that offer good value for money, but like other places in the Hamadan area, you have to be careful since quality fluctuates drastically. In particular, the dye and wool quality in the newer carpets can be very disappointing.

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Veramin

The town of Veramin is located about 45 km south-east of Tehran. It is known for the production of carpets with the Mina Khani pattern. Previously, the pattern was also used in carpets from other areas, but today it is largely found only on Veramin carpets. Overall, these are beautiful and durable carpets with excellent wool quality, and the ground colour is often beige or a gorgeous medium blue/dark blue. The warp and weft are of cotton, and they are made with Senneh knots. The knot density is 23,000-46,000 per ft2.

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Verni

The Soumak carpets are in the same family as kelim. However, they are made according to a different weaving technique, of which there are several variations. Most soumak carpets from Iran are made near Ardebil, in the north-west, or nearby Sirdjan, in the south-east. Kelim carpets of good quality can tolerate a lot more wear and tear than most people realise. There are few such antique carpets on the market, and if they are in perfect condition or carefully restored, they can be very valuable. On the other hand, new carpets of lesser quality can sometimes be bought so cheap that you would think they made a mistake calculating the price. As with pile carpets, it can pay to spend a bit more and get a lot more quality.

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Yahalli

Turkish carpets are just as authentic and original as Persian. The fine, antique and old carpets are in demand and valuable. However, the wages in Turkey have become too high to sustain quality carpet production at reasonable prices. Compared to Persian carpets, the Turkish carpets are rather expensive and they are being produced in far smaller quantities these days. Turkey has become a favourite travel destination, so some carpets are being made specifically for the tourist market. There are some beautiful and original Turkish carpets on the market, but they are hard to find and you need to inspect them thoroughly and be very critical if you are considering buying one.

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Yalameh

The Yalameh carpets are light, golden and cream coloured, with contrasts in indigo, black and light blueish and greenish colours. The wool is generally of good quality and they use natural dyes. They are knotted on a wool warp with 17,000-33,000 knots per ft2, and both Ghiordes and Senneh knots are used. The Yalameh carpets surprise many by being more durable than they might have thought. They can seem a little loose when you touch them, but this is because they are knotted on wool warp. The best ones are made in the villages of Talkhooncheh og Aliabad. They are referred to among carpet merchants as Yalameh-Aliabad.

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Yomud

Yomud and Bokhara carpets are knotted in the large area north of Iran, east of the Caspian Sea and towards Afghanistan to the east. Common to them all is the dominant red colour, which appears in many nuances. Bochara is a common carpet name, but it does not always mean that the carpets were knotted in that town. It is an important gathering point for the area, and the carpets are therefore called Bochara carpets. The patterns are often a tarantula pattern or one or more rows of octagons, also called roses (Güll). The contrast colours to the red ground colour consist of black, indigo or beige. The carpets are knotted on a horizontal loom, with good quality wool and a density of 15,000-46,000 knots per ft2.

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Yoruk

Turkish carpets are just as authentic and original as Persian. The fine, antique and old carpets are in demand and valuable. However, the wages in Turkey have become too high to sustain quality carpet production at reasonable prices. Compared to Persian carpets, the Turkish carpets are rather expensive and they are being produced in far smaller quantities these days. Turkey has become a favourite travel destination, so some carpets are being made specifically for the tourist market. There are some beautiful and original Turkish carpets on the market, but they are hard to find and you need to inspect them thoroughly and be very critical if you are considering buying one.

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Zagheh

Zageh and Azadabad are found north-west of Hamadan. The pattern is often an oblong, stylised medallion with the Herti pattern, framed by a Serabend border. Or, they can be smaller carpets or carpet runners with zigzag patterns. From a quality perspective, these are average to good, compared to carpets in the area. Most carpets from the Hamadan-province are good carpets - usually tough and wear resistant.

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Zanjan

Many carpets are being produced a bit east of Goltug, in several small Kurdish towns near the town of Zandjan. Unfortunately, however, they are of lesser quality. In the past, it was possible to find charming, decent quality carpets here, in the lower end of the price range. Many of them were sold as cheap Hamedan carpets. However, today it has become harder to find good, original Zandjan carpets. Instead, many so-called Zandjan-Bidjar carpets are being made. The original Zandjan carpets have between 7,000 - 18,500 knots per ft2. The colours are usually a mix of natural and synthetic dyes., The wool quality is good, and the carpets are durable.

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