The CAPITAL of Azerbaijan lies in north – western Persia, some miles from the Russian and Turkish frontiers. Until the end of the caravan age, it was Persia’s most important centre of trade and carpet-weaving. From Tabriz, the Western World was furnished with the Persian and Caucasian works of craftsmanship it so desired. The businessman organized studios which made the finest-quality copies of old carpets. Many new patterns were also created. No other town can show anything like its all -round production. In the composition of medallion carpets, the main source of inspiration was the old hand-decorated book covers. The medallions were then divided into four, and placed in the four corners of the field. They are never so dominant as in, say, the Kermans, but are subordinated to the overall impression.
The thoroughly patterned surface, on which the pattern is repeated with mathematical symmetry, can bear not only palmettes, cypresses, weeping willows and arabesques, but purely Caucasian, geometrical ornamentation. With rhomb medallions, the “Herati” motif is also common.
The pictorial carpets of Tabriz are famous. The “four seasons” is an allegory of the life of the Azerbaijanian peasant. Other popular motifs include famous ruins of mosques and palaces, with which the district abounds, and the magnificent vases and bowls found by archeologists. And pleasant pastoral scenes. Most frequently portrayed, however, are the four great poets from the 11th to 13th centuries: Firdausi, Hafiz, Saadi and Omar al Khayyam. Countless other motifs are borrowed from reliefs in the ruins of Persepolis, such as the king’s battle with the winged lions or the Old Persian King Djamshid sitting bolt upright on his royal throne, fanned with a palm-leaf by his slave. The carpets of no other towns can rival the beauty and imagination of the borders on these Tabriz carpets, whether composed of garlands, trumpet-blowing angels, geometrical figures, or cartouches with inscriptions. These inscriptions are quotations not from the Koran, but from one of the immortal works of the poets. It is worth finding out the correct translation, and enjoying the beauty of their centuries – old verse. There is no limit as regards size.
The warp and weft are of cotton. Turkish knots. Several of the town’s studios still sign their carpets, i.e. knot their names into them. A signature, however, is no guarantee of quality, since it is no longer only the best carpets that are signed. Carpets from before World War I are rare in the trade, and attract much higher prices than later products.
The quality grading’s are as follow :
No. of knots per inch
length breadth No. knots per sq in
A 18 20 360
B 15 17 255
C 14 14 196
D 12 13 156
E 10 9 90
F 7 8 56