Posted on: April 24, 2017

Village Versus City Carpets

There are a lot of beautiful similarities between antique city and village carpets. They’re both technically and visually impressive works of art that have stood the test of time, however it’s their differences that make them so interesting. Here’s a closer look at what makes each of these types of carpets so incredible.

bibibaft haji-detail

Village Carpets

Village or tribal carpets always have a more intimate story because each carpet was created for personal use. These carpets were created with a more improvisational feeling and truly came from the heart of the weaver because they were created for a specific use or event. These carpets could be woven for a variety of events, including weddings or births, or could be created for almost any kind of everyday use. Some were used for sleeping as pillows, while others were used as saddlebags for their donkeys.

These people took the time to make carpets for their everyday use beautiful, which lends an extra dimension to the importance of this functional art form. The people making these carpets traveled a great distances and brought their looms and carpets with them wherever they went showing a lot about their dedication to this art form and to beauty itself.


City Carpets

City carpets were made in workshops to be sold. A lot of thought went into these carpets before they were woven, and for this reason there was less improvisation in these styles. They had very intentional designs and colors and were meticulously planned out. While made for commercial use, the carpets were still made technically and with great care and were made to wear well and retain their beauty. Additonally, though most were made to be area rugs, they could also be used as wall hangings and were often sold to tourists. These carpets tend to be much larger than village carpets because they weren’t intended to be traveled with.

Master weavers like Haji Jalili would run workshops and employ some of the best weavers in the world working to create their designs. There’s still an incredible amount of diversity within city carpets because designs and styles would change based on the workshop, the city, the patron that commissioned the piece, and even the weaver. The creativity and variety that exists within one area really speaks to the culture and the artists. So many of these carpets still exist today because of their popularity in Europe until WWII.


Village Carpet Design

Tribal carpets could be much more geometric. You can tell that they were often more improvised because you can see more irregularities in their design and much more of the personal touch of the weaver, especially since they were being made by the weaver for a personal use. Designs could be either symmetrical or asymmetrical.

A variety of motifs were used in different carpets and often came from the life around them. Flora and fauna from everyday life are seen and are usually a little more abstract. The colors in tribal carpets are often much more polarized using a combination of totally undyed wool and very bold colors. While some of these carpets can look similar, these carpets were all usually only made once, which is what makes them so special.


City Carpet Design

Many city carpets take on a very floral and formal design. While there is still a lot of symbolism in what’s depicted, much like tribal carpets, the designs are much more curvilinear and ornate. Aspects were not as abstract in the same way as tribal carpets, and there is a broader range of color in city carpets. Lots of neutrals and subtle tones were used as well as bold colors. There was much more of a mix and intentional use of color. All of these carpets are very much one of a kind, however designs could be repeated very much like how we make our carpets today!