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CARPETS x. Afsharid and Zand Periods

part 3

afshar-carpet

There thus seems to be enough evidence to establish continuity of rug production throughout the Afsharid and Zand periods; indeed, there is insufficient evidence for claiming the contrary. There is, however, a clear need for much more careful correlation between historical evidence and the dating and attribution of extant rugs to the 12th/18th century. Attention should also be focused on the scale of production and types of design, as well as on attributions to specific weaving centers. It is probable that many “classical” designs of the 11th/17th century (e.g., those on garden, lattice-and-vase, and floral-directional carpets; see iv and ix, above) were continued into the later period and that some new ones were also introduced (e.g., millefiori, Plate CXIII; repeat bota, Figure 71 above in iv; and minaḵani designs, Edwards, pp. 42-43, fig. 25). It may in fact be suggested that the “movement” of Safavid lattice, floral, and garden designs into northwestern Persia and the Caucasus in the 12th/18th century resulted, not from undocumented migrations of weavers, but from the “inspiration of great and colorful designs themselves” (Beattie, p. 70), like those on the carpets ordered by Nader Shah to be sent to Erevan.

The decline in luxury rug production was as much a reflection of the overall decline of the Persian economy as of the depredations of the Afghans and Nader Shah’s military campaigns; it seems to have been brought about by growing European control of the maritime trade (Hambly, p. 77), a shrinking European market for Oriental rugs in the late 11-12th/17-18th centuries (Housego, p. 40), and a drop in the production of raw silk in Persia.

Rugs with traditional Persian designs but woven in local techniques continued to be produced in border areas that were no longer directly under Persian political control. They included the floral and hunting rugs of the Caucasus, rugs with interwoven Armenian inscriptions and Armenian calendar dates of the 12th/18th-century, and the rugs of Herat, which was by then part of Afghanistan. Examples of the last group were even included in the list of imports from Afghanistan to Persia in the early 13th/19th century (Hambly, p. 79).

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


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