Posted on: December 31, 2019

Antique Spotlight – Persian Mazlaghan Carpet

2020 marks the one hundredth birthday of this phenomenal Persian Mazlaghan carpet. Woven by a nomad moving through northern Iran, this antique still remains in great condition after all of this time.

This image shows an antique Mazlaghan carpet with a central medallion design surrounded by an intricate series of borders in yarns of red, dark blue, and cream.

Mazlaghan carpets originated from the nomadic tribes in the northwest region of Iran. Once the epicenter of Persian politics, this region shows the artistic influence of the different foreign invaders that came and went throughout history. As such, the construction and design of these traditional Persian carpets reflects the lifestyle of the women who created them.

This thick, soft, and durable Persian Mazlaghan antique carpet reflects a Persian garden design centered around a central pool of water filled with geometric flowers and fish. The garden is surrounded by a multi-banded border that is composed of butterflies and flowers.

The traditionally nomadic or semi-nomadic people of northwestern Iran moved between the mountains and the valleys of their landscape as the seasons change. Because of this harsh condition, carpets served an integral part of day-to-day life. These thick and soft Persian carpets are transportable and among the most durable, providing warmth, comfort, and status to their communities. They are composed of vegetable-dyed wool that is handspun and hand-knotted into an improvisational design from the mind of its skilled weaver. This particular Mazlaghan measures 4′ x 6’3 and is a testament to the previously mentioned quality and durability as it remains in great antique condition one hundred years later.

In terms of design, this Mazlaghan carpet exhibits a geometrically stylized Persian garden scene. Concentric diamonds create a central medallion that resembles a pool of water, an essential part of any Persian garden. Zig-zagged fish and flower motifs fill the pool. Fish and flowers are both emblematic of life. The unique diamond shape at the center of the carpet and its pool further emphasize the theme of life. This stylized diamond symbolizes man and woman, the creators of life. This drives home the underlying worldview behind all medallion carpets – from “one” grows all existence.

The thickest border band displays a colorful geometric butterfly motif. It is flanked on either side by thinner symmetrical bands lined with a repeating pattern of flowers and caterpillars. The quadrants around the central medallion are filled with rows and columns of flowers while the central medallion shows a red pool of water filled with fish and flowers, an integral part of any Persian garden.

Moving beyond the pool, symmetrical flowers fill the quadrants on each side of the medallion. A series of borders surround these triangular flowerbeds. The thickest border shows colorful, angular butterflies. Butterflies are a symbol transformation, and more specifically, spiritual realization. Taking a closer look, one notices clever tree-like motifs created by the void of the butterfly wings. This border is balanced by a thinner, mirrored band on either side. The outer bands create a pattern of alternating floral blooms and caterpillars. The relationship between the concentric forms and their outlines creates a well-balanced and tranquil portrayal of a Persian garden.

You can find this antique Persian Mazlaghan carpet on our 1stdibs page, or at the 1stdibs Gallery. Visit your local retailer to experience Orley Shabahang‘s world-renowned collection of antiques firsthand.