The city of Ardebil is on the border with the Caucasus and Turkey, on the north-western side of Iran, where different cultures and customs have always existed.
History of Ardebil Carpets
The production of the Ardebil carpets, is linked to a very specific historical moment, at the time of Turkish domination and the arrival in power of the Safavid monarchy that chose the city as the base of its Empire. Ardebil became a center of attraction for the monarchs, an artistically and culturally lively place. It was the era of craftsmanship, manufacturing handmade products, the silk trade and the manufacture of carpets which, still today, represents an important item among Iranian exports. It cannot escape the admirers of the product that the name Ardebil is linked to one of the most important carpets in the world, preserved at the Albert Museum in London, an eternal masterpiece of extraordinary beauty for its manufacturing, design and refined colors. And it is precisely the choice of colors that still characterizes this type of carpet that has undergone, throughout history, influences of heterogeneous cultures.
Features of Ardebil Carpets
The Ardebil Persian Carpets, due to their patterns and their colors, are in great demand by the European market. This intense commercialization, although it increases its fame, exposes the Ardebil carpets to the threat of frequent imitations. As a result, the manufacture is not always distinguished by being high quality and there is the consequent risk for the buyer of spending an unsuitable amount to the real value of the product.
Not infrequently, it happens, that the Ardebils are exchanged for Shirvan carpets, given their similarity. Elements that cannot make a mistake in recognizing an Ardebil, are the colors that see the predominance of beige for the background and pea green and red in the decorations, the edge and the most worked frames, the wool that has bigger threads and the highest pile compared to the Shirvan.
Colors and Patterns of Ardebil Carpets
A curiosity that characterizes the habit of knotting is given by the use of a hooked knife, similar to what happens in the processing of Tabriz carpets. The specimens of the past, typical of the Azerbaijani tradition, have a wool structure, while, other specimens knotted by the shahsavan women, present the typical techniques of nomad tribes. The silk ones are rare and precious.
The characteristics of the Ardebil carpetss are given by a cotton or silk warp, few specimens have an extra-fine knotting but more commonly, we find fine knotting and, in other cases, coarse knotting. In old-fashioned specimens, the edge is flat, otherwise, it is round. The decoration includes a wide border and central frame and, in a few cases, presents floral motifs, being rugs with predominantly geometric patterns. The recurrent symbolism shows an iconography given by stars with eight or sixteen points, from the number four, from the tree of life, from the horns of ram and talismanic animals.
Most of the production of Ardebil carpets is aimed at the commercialization of weavers which makes these carpets particularly suitable for entrances and corridors.