Hamadan is one off the oldest cities in the world. As Ekbatana, it was once the capital of the Medes. Here ruled Ahasueros, of the Book of Esther, whose queen Esther became. The city is some 70 miles south-west of Teheran, in one of the greatest carpet-producing areas in all Persia. The carpets actually made in the city comprise only a fraction of those sold in Hamadan’s bazaars. The rest come from the hundreds of villages scattered around Hamadan.
The carpets described as Hamadans differ widely in pattern, their common denominator being a special method of knotting. While the rest of Persia uses a double weft thread after each knotted row, this district has only one. The double weft threads loop around the warp and hide it from sight, while the single weft thread covers only half. On the back of a Hamadan, every thread can thus be seen as a broken line.
Another characteristic of these carpets is their heaviness. They have a great deal of wool in the pile, and a thick cotton warp. Their patterns seem simple by comparison with other Persian carpets, since the ornamentation is coarser. The variations are infinite. Difficult – to – interpret or distorted motifs and ornamental designs are mixed with ancient symbols whose meaning has been forgotten for generations. Imaginative medallions, tortoise and other patterns are mixed with pictures of people, rams, camels, cocks or birds, as primitively portrayed as in children’s drawings.
Extremely interesting examples are still to be found among the slightly older carpets. However, the most attractive finds are to be made among the Gallery carpets, which have best preserved their original oriental character. The carpets made in Hamadan itself are of high quality. They are strong, thick and heavy structure, like the Saruks. They are known either as Shahrbaff – knotted in the city – or Kazvin, after the weavers from Kazvin who have settled there. The number of knots is about 160 per sq in.
The formats most frequents in the Hamadan area are the dozar, c. 6ft 6in * 4ft 3in, zaronim, c. 5ft * 3ft 3in, zarcharak, c. 4ft * 2ft 8in, and poshti in sizes of about 2ft 8in * 2ft, plus Gallery (runner) carpets. Large carpets are rare. One also sees in the trade a very cheap carpet, some 6ft 6in * 3ft 3in in size, that is sometimes sold under the name of Hamadan, Tachtekabi, Canape, Mossul or Barik. This is a sub – standard product made entirely to attract customers. Its wool is dry and dead, its dyes poor, and the number of knots far too small, c. 40 knots per sq in. It can become worn in places after only a year or so.
The warp and weft threads of Hamadans are of cotton. Turkish knots.
No. of knots per inch.
lenght breadth No. of knots per sq in
A 8 10 80
B 7 9 63
C 6 8 48