Nain Rugs

The city of Nain in Isfahan province is located in central Iran on a desert plateau and known for its older distinctive clay buildings. Large scale rug production began in this city only in the 20th century: prior to that Nain was known for its woolen cloth production.

Initially, Nain rugs resembled those of neighboring city of Isfahan, but these rugs soon began to develop a somewhat different and distinctive style. It often features the Shah Abbas design with arabesques (a design motif of intertwined flowing lines that represent vines, branches, or tendrils that includes flower buds, blossoms and leaves), palmettes (a motif of a stylized lotus flower with radiating petals, which has many variations on its design); a central medallion with very refined, intricate curvilinear floral patterns that are brown or gray on a cream or ivory field, or red and blue are used for patterns or the field. White silk is often used to highlight details, and some Nain rugs are even entirely woven of silk. Reliance on white wool is characteristic of these rugs and a limit may be placed on the number of colors used so the the rugs make a calm and relaxed impression. Twentieth century Iranian weavers and designers of this region’s handmade rugs are Habiban and Mofidi.

Nain rugs are based on the Safavid design, which is named after the Safavid dynasty (1502-1722). Safavid rulers established rug workshops and factories, as well as schools, and this allowed the handmade Persian rug  to attain its peak of sophisticated and complex, intricate design which achieved renown as an export to Europe, India and Turkey.

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