Ardabil rugs originate from city of Ardabil located in the province of Ardabil in northwestern Iran. Ardabil has a long and illustrious history of Persian Rug weaving.
The reign of the Safavid Dynasty in the 16th and 17th centuries represented the peak of Persian rug and carpet making in the region. The name Ardabil comes from the Avesta (The sacred book of a Zoroastrians) and has the literal meaning of a tall holy place. The weavers in Ardabil ply their craft using Azerbaijani knots. Two of the most famous carpets in existence today are a pair of Persian Rug from Ardabil. One of the carpets, measuring 34' x 17', is on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London England.
Oriental Ardabil rugs feature motifs that are very similar to Caucasian rugs, but with more motifs and objects woven into the borders. The classic Ardebil rug colors are also lighter. The patterns are predominantly geometric and the most common layouts on Persian Ardabil rugs are medallions, multiple connected diamond-shaped medallions, and all-over octagonal shapes. The most recognized design found on Ardabil rugs is the famous Mahi (Herati) design - a diamond medallion and small fish throughout. Some modern weavers have begun to favor bold geometric patterns over the traditional Mahi design, and have added colors such as turquoise and purple to the more traditional red, pink, ivory, green, and blue.
The warp on Ardabil rugs is mostly cotton, while the weft is either cotton or wool, although silk is also used as weft on fine Ardabil rugs. The weavers may also incorporate silk into the woolen pile in order to accentuate highlights in the pattern. Ardabil rugs include some widely known carpets: Ardabil Rugs, Sheikh Safi Rugs, Sarabi Rugs, Shah Abbasi Rugs and Mir Rugs.
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