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Today, in the age of mass consumption, how many goods are completed after many years just by handiwork without any use of machine. There is a mystery of Persian carpet which is said to become better with attachment after long use. Please look at the reverse side. You can see something like square. Those each square is the color thread which was tied up to the warp. It's uncountable with the naked eye. As there are one million or two millions squares, it's physically impossible.


However, this means the craftsman's hand repeated the tie-up activity for so many times, no less than the numbers of the square.
How many hours are necessary to tie up for one million times? What is there in the shadow of the brightness of the strong and gorgeous Persian carpet.   Well, shall we introduce the quite long process until the completion of a Persian carpet which might have us come near fainting.


Mr.Mohammad Husayn Benam

First of all, in the making process of Persian carpet, a design picture as the origin is prepared. The design picture is described on the section paper. The reason why the section paper is used is as the following. During the weaving, craftsman immediately select to tie-up the color thread of the same color as painted on the section paper, which is one part of the design picture and the craftsman put at close quarters.

The design of Persian carpet is evolving as time passes while succeeding the tradition. This is a phenomenon which is not seen at other making places except Iran, and various designs come from it could be said one of characteristics of Persian carpet. Against such background, a lot of people are active in Iran as the carpet special designer. There are various types from designers belonging to studios, to those who are selling their own original design for leading life. As an recent famous designer, we can introduce Mr.Mohammad Husayn Benam who stood in high favor and become most popular among Europe.


After the design completed, the necessary color and quantity of the thread is calculated. At this stage the carpet maker have to prepare the necessary color thread. In the old days most of the ateliers performed dyeing by themselves, but recently many studios are said to buy and use the color thread which is sold as a product.
Although the nomadic people cut hair of their own sheeps, and then make and dye the thread, the persons who engage in carpet making in the city do not have their own sheeps. So, at least, they should buy the materials before dyeing, but rarely there is a few ateliers who have contract with the manufacturer to make effort from the beginning of raising sheeps and silkworms in order to obtain the ideal materials.


The thread mainly used for Persian carpet is the three kinds, silk, wool, and cotton. As for silk, the surroundings of the Caspian sea is well-known as an excellent manufacturing place since the old days. The carpet makers in Qum and Kashan and so on often use the silk thread made in the surroundings of the Caspian sea. As for wool, the hair of Persian sheep is often used, which is raised under the severe environment with a wide range of temperature. The hair of this sheep is retentive of heat and humidity, and said to be the best material for carpet. Especially, the wool called "Cork Wool" made with only the soft down of lamb is a high quality material which is excellent in flexibility and napping. The cotton gathered at oasis has a high quality, and used as the warp and weft of carpet.


Persian carpet, compare with the other hand-made carpet in the countries of the world have a specialty with an overwhelmingly vivid colors. When we see the weaving techniques with our own eyes, we are very surprised, but the dyeing techniques, succeeded as a traditional techniques, is also making a great contribution for the making of beautiful carpet as jewels. In the recent excellent carpet, the cases are often found with a quite lot of color thread. Even if we had an excellent design, to produce a new carpet, innumerable color thread and excellent weaving techniques are required.


In the age when the chemical dye had not developed yet, the dyeing was performed in 100% by vegetation dyeing. Even after the chemical dye appeared, in the early stage, it was not used so much, because of poor quality and techniques and high cost which caused various troubles, for example color-fading. But later with the improvement of chemical technology the better quality and cheaper price was realized and obtainable, many dyers left apart from the vegetation dyeing. The vegetation dyeing is risky because of its instability depending on the dyer's delicacy, and further it becomes very hard to obtain the materials, also the cost increasing. Of course, even now, there are a few makers or ateliers who still sticks vegetation dyeing. For example at the Mohammad Jamshidi atelier, which is called "the king of silk carpet", they perform vegetation dyeing in 100% by themselves. Though the vegetation dyeing of silk thread is said to be much more difficult compare with that of wool, they have plenty of stock of color thread now as the result of 40 years continuous study with try and error. The atelier master Mr.Jamshidi Pool himself is performing dyeing process and the dyeing method is "Top Secret" and never come out.


For your reference, the current chemical dye is developed and improved specially for the carpet making, and it's very excellent for fastness and coloring, so nearly no trouble will happen.


Among the carpet making process, this weaving takes the longest time. The method itself of tying-up is not so difficult, but if the craftsman cannot finish the series of action from the immediate selection of the color thread with the squares of section paper, until tangling and cutting quickly, the person will not able to completed even after many years. And also, the physical and mental strength is necessary to continue the hard job for several years to sit in front of weaving machine and to repeat simple action.


It is said that the limit for tying, even the case of skilful craftsman, should be 5,000 times/day maximum. For examples by 1,000,000 knots (1,000,000 knots in 1m2), to make the carpet of 2m x 3m for weaving 1m2, it is supposed to take 200 days (1,000,0005,000) so, 6 times of it = 1,200 days. The above is simple calculation. Even we don't consider the holidays, more than three years are surely necessary. For your reference, the weaving by 1,000,000 knot is for high quality, but the level is not special.



1
To set the warp on the weaving machine.
2
To cross the weft on each warp one after the other, and to try flat-weaving for a few lines.
3
According to the detail design picture, which is described on a section paper, to tie the pile knots at the warps one by one.
4
To complete one line of knots while cutting the tied pile thread by knife.
5
After the completion of tying one line, to cross the two wefts on warps. To hit the piles downwards by an iron comb in order to close the knots up.
Weaving, according to the design which is described on a section paper.

There are two ways of making knots for Persian carpet.
The above (green thread) is "Persian knot" (unequal knotting).
Tangling the color thread by fingers. In most of the areas except Azerbaijan area, the carpets are produced by this way of knotting.


The below (red thread) is "Turkish knot" (equal knotting).
In Iran, the carpets weaved in Tabriz have this way of knotting. Tangling the color thread by crochet-hook.


Washing: With a massive water, scraping off the dirt and useless hair of the carpet by a tool like a hoe.
Drying: Hanging out the carpet for drying with the sunlight. In case some carpets have distortion, out of square, those half-dried carpets are fixed on the wooden floor by nails for remedy.
Broiling: The finish for the reverse side of carpet: In case of wool carpet, just the part of useless hair on its reverse side is burned by a burner.
Shirring: Whittling and flattening the surface of carpet by a special knife called "Tigu" for the carpet shirring. The carpet, after completion of shirring, shows a vivid patterns.
Brushing: Last, brushing carpet to eliminate the useless hair by a brush. And also, revising partially, when some small damage is found.

Finally, ironing the carpet and all completed.

Through the various processes, by the hands of a lot of craftsman, at last, one carpet is completed. No, from the present moment, this Persian carpet, which is brightened up with a commanding fresh shine while wafting young aroma, might start its own steps toward the completion.


All of the persons engaged in production should do nothing but pray that the carpet will be cherished by a gentle owner.