Antique Spotlight – Farahan

This week’s Antique Spotlight features an exceptional Antique Farahan carpet from Orley Shabahang’s Antique Collection. We invite you to enjoy its inspirational beauty as we dive right into this Farahan’s origin, design, and symbolism of this special piece of history.

Antique Farahan Carpet - overall photo

Located in western Iran, the region known as Farahan, or Feraghan, encompasses several prominent carpet-weaving cities, including Qum, Kashan, and Arak (previously known as Sultanabad). Many distinct carpet styles have originated from this region, yet only the finest pieces are designated as Farahan carpets. Crafted with the finest raw materials, these carpets are historically renowned for their romantic designs, exquisitely fine construction, and unique coloration. Identifying characteristics for Farahan carpets include the Herati medallion and boteh motifs decorating the interior field, in addition to their exceptional craftsmanship.

Measuring 4’6” x 6’5”, this Farahan carpet boasts a vibrant and unique color palette, further enhancing its romantic flower garden design. Most notably, the interior medallion, detailed by rich red flower petals and the iconic Herati motif, showcases a warm pink background that beautifully contrasts the interior’s red, taupe, and indigo detailing. A smaller yet intricate central medallion rests atop a soft cream background, subtly yet effectively anchoring the design. Just beyond the center, four red boteh, or paisley, motifs represent decorative flower petals. Stamens are detailed by familiar hues of red, pink, taupe, and indigo wool. Abstract caterpillars surround the central field, creatively forming a border against the contrasting cream of the carpet’s field. Outstretching flower garlands lead to a three-tiered border, with butterfly and blooming floral motifs interconnected by vines, encapsulating the lively garden theme. The rich background tones provide the perfect contrast for each motif while still achieving a subdued, vintage appearance.

Antique Farahan Carpet - interior detail photo 2

Further adding to the significance of this antique Farahan is the cultural symbolism woven into its soft woolen pile. Evoking happiness and tranquility, the scene of the flower garden provides an ideal backdrop to many of these symbolic elements. As previously mentioned, the Herati motif showcases pairs of caterpillars surrounding petit flowers. This juxtaposition highlights their symbiotic relationship, as each needs the other to survive. This theme is an homage to nature and the circle of life, and that within the natural environment one must be in harmony and balance to survive. The boteh motif also conveys historical meanings, oftentimes representing love in the form of a flame, a flower bulb, or a pear. Whether embodying the fruit we receive from nature or the flower that bears it, the boteh represents the essence of life, that is, love. These traditional design elements are intended to convey a sense of peace and happiness through love and a connection between oneself and the natural world.

Symbolism abounds among Persian textiles and nearly all traditional and contemporary Persian carpets. If you enjoyed this Farahan example and want to see additional options and sizes, check out Orley Shabahang’s antique and vintage collection by clicking HERE. Also, visit our digital showroom on too, for additional antique and vintage carpets from the Orley Shabahang Collection.