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Persian Nain Rugs

Posted on 02 January 2014

Nain is a small village in central Iran, only 150 miles away from Isfahan and near the western edge of the Dasht-e Kavir desert. It has a hot and dry desert climate, like much of the Iranian plateau around it, with a population of approximately 25,000 people. Nain rugs are some of the most expensive and sought after rugs in the world, they are often grandiose and elaborate, and can be over 25ft long. They are well known for their use of silk and ornate designs.

The town of Nain is fairly new to the carpet-weaving industry, especially compared to some nearby cities that have been weaving for centuries. Residents of Nain originally produced Isfahan carpets, and it was only in the 1930s that Nain began to produce rugs of its own style. The pile is characteristically high quality wool which is clipped short, often with silk used to highlight the details in the design, however these rugs can also be made entirely of silk. Nain rugs almost always use silk for at least a small part of the design, and most commonly have a cotton foundation. A prominent feature of Nain rugs is the central medallion; with a blue or ivory background, the details in the design can be breathtaking. It can feature floral motifs and sometimes animals, usually birds. These rugs are mostly muted colours or beige and navy, but can also feature light blue, burgundy and green. The intricate and high quality designs of the Nain rugs are what make them so desirable.

The quality of a Nain rug can be determined using the measurement of La, which is a Farsi term meaning 'layers'. La is the number of threads forming each fringe at the end of the rug. A La of 9 is considered to be good quality, 6 to be high quality and 4 the best. Only a Persian knot is used to weave Nain rugs; the average knot per square inch of a Nain rug is 300, although it can be anything up to 700. A low La and a high knot density are the perfect combination for a very high quality rug. This often means that a high quality Nain rug can have over a million knots per square metre. They can take months, or even years of weaving and usually involve a small team of people working on it at once.

Fathollah Habibian was the most influential Nain master weaver, and his carpets are among the finest in the world in both quality and design. Rugs produced in his workshop are all signed and come with full details about the rug including La and knot density. Although Habibian died in 1995, his family and students continue to produce Persian rugs in his name today.

Comments (1)

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