Persian Rug Categories
Although infinitely varied and often shifting, Persian rugs are traditionally categorized into three main groupings:
1) Farsh or Qálii, which is anything that is larger than six by four feet
2) Qálicheh, which means literally rug, which is anything smaller than that, and
3) Gelim, nomadic carpets, which tend to be rougher and differ in style.
From there, further breakdowns can be made by geography, style, and technique. Further subdivisions can be made by patterns, images, and colors used, and what purpose a rug is meant to fulfill, and what material was used to produce it. (these materials range from the softest silk to the roughest woolen materials.)
The major places where these rugs have been produced over the course of history are scattered throughout Iran, where 3/4ths of the world’s rugs are made. Major classical places of carpet creation in ancient Persia were in Kashan, Tabriz, and Heart, and Kerman. Tabriz rugs are known for their quartered corner medallions, which are usually reated over a field of scrolling vines, and sometimes interspersed with animals, or animals fighting. Kashan is known for its creation of silken products, and generally ones featuring animal hunts. Heart rugs are the most numerous in more Western collections, with a lot of red background and more scrolling vines, with lots of palm patterns in green or blue.
Modern-day carpet production, while often machine-drivne, is still inspired by the ancient patterns and traditions first laid out in the Persian empire. Persian rugs tend to use a single looping knot, repeated over and over, which is different from how many other places weave carpets.
More sensitive categories of Persian rugs, over forty of them, have been defined based on locality, weave, colors, designs, and period. It is an incredibly complex system, but rich with culture and the history of technology.