The Art of Tabriz Rugs: A Masterpiece of Persian Weaving

Los Angeles Home of Rugs on Jul 2nd 2024

The Tabriz rug is one of the most renowned types of Persian rugs, celebrated globally for its intricate designs, exceptional craftsmanship, and historical significance. As a vital center for carpet weaving in Iran, Tabriz has been designated as the "World City of Carpet Weaving" by the World Crafts Council.

Tabriz rugs represent a blend of tradition and innovation, rooted in centuries of craftsmanship while embracing modern techniques and materials. Their intricate designs, superior quality, and rich history make them a symbol of Persian cultural heritage, admired by collectors and connoisseurs worldwide.

Historical Background

Tabriz rugs are a key category of Persian carpets, originating from one of the most important weaving centers in Iran. The craft of carpet weaving in Tabriz dates back to before the Safavid era, making it one of the oldest and most esteemed producers of handmade carpets worldwide. Initially, Tabriz rugs featured rural designs with a knot density of 24, but over time, this density increased to 110, reflecting the craft's evolution and refinement.

Materials and Techniques

The primary materials used in Tabriz rugs are wool and silk, which contribute to the high quality and luxury of these carpets. The finest and most intricately woven rugs in Iran are produced in Tabriz, employing a symmetrical (Turkish) knot technique and a double-weft structure, characteristic of Turkish-speaking regions.

Durability and Quality

The warp of Tabriz rugs is typically cotton, known for its strength and durability, while the weft and pile are made of wool. However, silk rugs, including all-silk or silk-warped varieties, are also prominent. The silk used predominantly comes from Khorasan and Tehran. The wool, mainly sourced from the Maku region in northwestern Iran, is robust yet slightly coarser, giving Tabriz rugs a unique texture.

Design and Motifs

Tabriz rugs are celebrated for their diverse designs and motifs, which range from traditional to modern patterns. Common designs include intricate floral patterns, medallions, and elaborate borders. The so-called "Kerman design," featuring patterns originally from the Kerman region, is also popular in Tabriz. One distinguishing feature is the "samovar border" or "tusbaghi," which includes dual spirals forming a samovar-like shape.

Characteristics of Tabriz Rugs

  • 1- Expert Design: Created by master designers, ensuring high standards and precision.
  • 2- High Knot Density: Typically, Tabriz rugs are finely knotted, leading to detailed and delicate patterns.
  • 3- Color Variety: A broad spectrum of colors is used, contributing to the vibrancy and depth of the designs.
  • 4- Short Pile: The rugs often have a short pile, meticulously trimmed by skilled artisans.
  • 5- Premium Materials: High-quality wool and silk are used, ensuring durability and elegance.
  • 6- Shading Techniques: The use of light and dark shades creates depth and dimension.
  • 7- Innovative Filling: Spaces are filled creatively, often without repeating patterns.

Dyeing Techniques

Tabriz has been a pioneer in adopting Western dyeing materials, transitioning from traditional plant-based dyes to more modern synthetic options. This shift has allowed for greater colorfastness and variety, enhancing the appeal of Tabriz rugs. Historically, during the Safavid dynasty, Tabriz was a major center for both carpet weaving and dyeing, utilizing natural dyes. The introduction of synthetic dyes, while faster and cheaper, has complemented the rich tradition of Tabriz rug making.


Tabriz rugs are made in a wide range of sizes, from small mats to large room-sized carpets. Pictorial rugs, often smaller in size, and larger silk carpets are particularly valued for their craftsmanship and artistic value.