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5 things you didn't know about the Ardabil carpet

23 April 2015

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 April 23, 2015
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1. The carpet takes its name from the town in which it was created in north-west Iran

Ardabil lies in north-west Iran in close proximity to the Caspian sea and the nation of Azerbaijan and has tremendous political and economic importance for Iran. The city once used to be one of the largest cities in Iran until the Mongol invasion.

2. Upon completion of the carpet, one end was inscribed with this two-line poem:

“Except for thy threshold, there is no refuge for me in all the world. Except for this door there is no resting place for my head.”

A further two lines include a signature and most interestingly the year 946 which taking into account that this would have been according to the Muslim calendar, is equivalent to AD 1539 – 1540

3. In order to preserve its colour, the Ardabil carpet is only lit for 10 minutes, twice an hour.

Lighting can have a deteriorating effect on the dyes used in rugs and so in an effort to ensure the carpet’s colours remain as vivid and defined as possible, the V&A museum deem it important to minimise exposure.

4. The carpet changed hands on one occasion in 1893 for £2000.

Adjusting this figure for inflation, it would be equivalent to just under £180,000 in 2015.

5. There are 350 knots per square inch

The intricacy of the piece adds much value and emphasises how much time, effort, labour and resource went into the creation of the rug. In the space not much larger than a 50 pence piece, there are 350 knots which were individually hand-woven.

6. There are a total of 10 colours used throughout the entire carpet.

The size of the piece also allows us to see patterns in the workmanship where different batches of fabrics were used. The slight differences in colours create certain effects as you run your eyes across the piece.

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