By Fereidoun Haghighi, Iran Rug Co., Mashad 23 November 2004
Jozan Magazine has asked Iran Rug Company to describe modern production of Iranian rugs. Fereidoun Haghighi from Iran Rug Co. has sent us this article about the founder Hajj Hussein Afzalzadeh Naini and the development of the company.
Iranian hand-made carpets have always, with its magnificent traditional designs and its vast range of natural vegetal colors, been one of the greatest factors in promoting Iranian cultural history throughout the world. The Iranian woven jewels are known as hand knotted wonders and with their millions of knots have been always used to decorate the rooms of Iranians and other households in the world as a piece of commodity or as a decorative artistic element.
For the past forty years carpet weaving turned out to be a very powerful and potential industry and its artistic value is not the only thing that is of importance today, the pull of the hand-made wonder made it to be an essential part of almost every household around the world, and as the result the demand for the carpet has changed tremendously over the years.
As the demand for the hand-knotted carpet has increased throughout the world, the need for a drastic change in production of carpets has also increased. Among those who took a revolutionary step to fulfil the consumers demand in 1975, was the deceased Hajj Hussein Afzalzadeh Naini ( 1923-1991).
In the process of changing the style of production, he, after had consulted with some of the major rug exporters in Tehran who had also expressed their concern regarding the inefficient carpet production by many rug producers whom turned a blind eye over the consumers demand specially Americans, decided to implement a new system of carpet production by considering all the traditional and spiritual values of the Iranian woven treasures in Khorasan (the largest Province of Iran) and at the same time, implemented the consumers preference in terms of style and size.
During the realization of the new project of mass production, there were some fierce resistance by the weavers and their head masters in the region. The application of the new system consisted of new and modern designs and since the new idea was contrary to what the locals were practicing generation after generation it generated a good deal of opposition among the producers.
In addition, another major obstacle to mass production was the lack of an adequate place for massive vegetal coloring of tones of thread wool in order to produce carpets with the same quality uniform color which was considered to be a colossal task for the first time in the history of carpet weaving in Khorasan.
According to the carpet exporters who were also experts in the field, Hajj Hussein Afzalzadeh Naini was the only one who could change the mind of local weavers and that ability came from his fame and reputation in the entire region.
In order to industrialize Carpet weaving in Iran, the need for accepting massive orders in advance had to put into consideration and practice; Therefore, Hajj Hussein Afzalzadeh Naini responded to the idea positively by setting up more than thousand looms across the province specially in the Kashmar region in order to produce famous carpets using some revolutionary new custom-made designs, the way Americans would prefer, with one hundred percent vegetal natural coloring and 96 KPSI to start the project.
Those distinguished rugs were deferent in terms of coloring and design even their dimensions differed from the traditional Iranian carpets. Traditional Iranian rugs are produces with the dimensions of (6 X 4 m) to (3 X 2 m); whereas, those carpets were produced in quadrangular form. The first series of the new carpets with their new design and dimensions came about as a hit and local people accepted the innovation with the open arms and admiration.
In no time, other producers in the region decided to implement the new concept and started to accept the orders based on consumers demand. Special characteristic of the new design that was very appealing to the end users was the style of weaving so called All-Over and Medallion with a touch of Traditional Iranian symbols.
The Turmoil Period
After the Iranian Islamic revolution in late 70s and the creation of political confrontation between Iran and American in that time, the orders from America and consequently the production of the new carpets came into a halt due to the embargo that was imposed by American government against Iran.
However, the new design and style was too good for American carpet enthusiasts to resist and very soon new measures were taken to pave the way for Iranian carpet exportation to be realized once more to the United States of America.
The ambition continued
Today, Afzalzadeh Naini’s family continue his path but this time with the help of sophisticated computer software which help them to create magnificent state of the art designs according to the needs of the consumers. Marketing of Iranian hand knotted treasure is also done according to the need of each country based on their cultural and historical background.
In every carpet that is produced by the Afzalzadeh’s family for carpet devotee and aficionado worldwide as well as custom-made ones, the family has always tried to keep the Persian style of weaving meticulously intact and maintained the frame work of Iranian culture just as the grandfather did. In order to give a clear picture to the readers, some of the produced rugs are shown in the family’s website under the name “Modern Carpets” at www.iranrugco.ir. However, there are many rugs that are impossible to be displayed at the Iran Rug Company website since they were ordered to be woven by major Carpet companies under their own brand name.
The accumulative experience of the past, made the family among very few in the world who are capable of producing massive numbers of hand knotted carpets all with natural fibers and dyes, with the exact same design, exact uniform colors and with exact same dimensions just as customers demand and also delivering to the clients in a reasonable short time frame, something that is done today with the help of machines for machine made carpets.
The Carpet Tableaus
On the course of innovation as well as yielding to the cliental desire, Pictorial Framed Carpets, Tableaus, is another style of hand knotted carpet weaving that carpet enthusiasts around the world showed special interest in it and the family also responded positively to the request by introducing modern computer software to weave every picture that was put forward by the parties involved. Some of the produced woven pictures are shown in the family’s website under the name “Tableau”.
By Fereidoun Haghighi, Iran Rug Co., Mashad 23 November 2004