The town of Illam is found in the Iranian part of Khurdistan, about 180 km south-west of Kirmanshar. 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 were originally produced in the town of Qum, which moved its production here since knotting was less expensive. The first time I saw an Illam carpet myself, I thought it was a Qum carpet knotted on a silk warp, so this explanation makes sense. 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. The carpets are often beaten hard and thus come with a dense pile. The patterns can vary greatly, but common varieties consist of shah Abbas and Boteh without a medallion.
Read more about Qum:
Qum, Qoum, Ghoum, Kum, Ghom
After the town of Maschad, Qum is one of the most important Shiite pilgrimage towns. Reza VIII’s sister, Fatima, is buried here. She was called an angel for her renowned kindness, and shah Safi I built a grave mosque for this saint. Later, this sepulchral monument was rebuilt and enlarged. Shah Abbas I built the mausoleum ‘Hazzat-e-Masumeh’. He is buried there himself together with nine other kings. The dome of the Fatima shrine was gifted by Fath Ali Shah. Today, it is regarded as a fantastic construction with a golden dome and beautifully coloured ceramic mosaics.
The town of Qum is located about 150 km south of Tehran. When we drive there, we often pass the place where Imam Khomeini is buried. It is a large and very beautiful mosque, with golden minarets and a large golden dome. We also pass by the international airport, ‘Imam Khomeini Airport’, continue south and drive down a long stretch along the salt lake ‘Hoze Soltan Salt Lake’. When we drive to Qum, we always start early in the morning in Tehran, in part to avoid the traffic in the city, and in part because this flat stretch becomes very hot. The carpet exhibition in Qum is a newer event. The first carpet weavers came to the town in 1930. It was knotters and merchants from Keshan who started the carpet production in Qum. There was no old carpet tradition to draw from here, and therefore, they knotted patterns from other areas. Even if the Qum carpets have been in the shadow of the Keschan carpets for many years, Qum has established a good reputation due to the beautiful handicraft, the quality materials and their own style that developed over time. Qum is particularly famous for its silk carpets, which are among the finest in the world.
Read more about the Hamadan area:
(Most carpets from the Hamadan-province are good carpets - usually tough and wear resistant.)
The town of Hamadan, formerly called Ekbatana, is located by the Alvand mountains at an altitude of 1900 metres. The climate is pleasant in the summer, as it is cooler here than in many other Iranian cities, but in the winter, it is relatively cold. The city is the centre of one of Iran’s largest carpet districts. 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.
You are reading an extract from the book ‘Oriental Carpets, Knottet with Love’ by Martin Munkholm.
This extensive book about all that is carpets can be borrowed in Danish libraries or be bought following this link: http://www.belle-rugs.dk/dk/ekspertise/taeppebog/
The book is published by Muusmann Forlag.
For more info: muusmann-forlag.dk
You can find our selection of Illam carpets underneath.