Nain rugs and carpets
by Ehsan Afzalzadeh Naini, Iran Rug Company
21 June 2005
History books don’t say anything about Naein rugs although the city itself, is more than 3000 years old. Till 60 years ago Naein was famous for it’s ‘ABA’ (mantle). As the Iranians’ taste of clothes changed, the demand for mantles slowed down and the people of Naein put all their effort on carpet weaving.
Naien design undoubtedly, is not a native local design. People took the design from Isfahan but used their own colors affected by the desert. Light colors used in Naein carpets are signs of sun and sand. These are the colors of the life beneath the surface of the desert. Color of kindness, serenity, and clarity. In that way, product of the most damaged villages of the world becomes the most famous, and attracts the eyes of all beauty lovers. Carpet is a gift from heaven for Naein people. It’s one of the few –if not the only source of income for these people, but unfortunately, in some neighboring provinces, they weave Naein like carpets sell it as Naein rugs.
Naein City is a district of Isfahan Province, in central parts of Iran. It has 13 rural districts and 830 villages. 150000 people live in more than 53000 square kilometers. Its all desert. The job of almost all people is rug weaving, except the government employees and some merchants.
The central mosque of Naein is one of the four remaining mosques of the old style. It is believed to be made 1400 years ago. The style has influenced all the architecture of the next generations.
During Safawid era a lot of masterpiece building were made. Great masters of tile-works left everlasting artworks all around the city. The city was ruined and the people were massacred by the Afghans who attacked Iran (Persia) and put an end to the Safawid Dynasty. The city was rebuilt 200 years later. Old parts of Naein are very amazing. Each part was protected by a wall and had a separate mosque, market, and other needed buildings.
Being on a desert, water shortage and drought have always been the greatest threat to Naein people and many water stores –deep and wide pools with a roof were built around the city. The oldest water store is the Musalla water store. The product of Naein in old days was mantles which were famous in all Islamic countries.
Rug weaving in Naein
There is no evidence to prove an old carpet weaving in Naein. Possibly the glorious mantle weaving left no room for other crafts like rug weaving. As the industrial weaving grew, the mantle weavers had no other choice than changing their crafts. Rug weaving started exactly 84 years ago when late Mr. Pirzad founded a school where children could learn rug weaving after primary education. He employed two Naeini masters who had worked in Isfahan for many years to teach the children. Naein people, who were masters of fine weaving, soon became famous for their rugs. In 1942 there were 250 looms in Naein according to Cecil Edwards.
Among the weavers are the names of Habibian brothers whom their name is still a sign of proud for Naein rugs.
KHUR and BIABANAK and JANDAQH
As districts of Naein, there are very few villages between these small towns. Jalal Abad, Chah malek, Ordit, Mehrejan and Garmeh are villages built in ever-dry desert. Hot summers and cold winters of this land seem to be intolerable. But people still stay and fight the nature.
Naein style is woven in many areas like Tabas, nishabour, Bojnord, and Bardaskan. Unfortunately these rugs only seem to be like Naein, but with no quality of real Naein rugs. We here talk about Naein rugs woven in Naein and it’s rural areas and districts.
Features of Naein Rugs
MATERIAL: the wool used in Naein rugs is usually finer than the standard Persian wool. It’s called KORK and is soft and fine as hair. The warps used are similar to those used in Isfahan. Wool and cotton is more common than silk in Naein.
DESIGN and PATTERN: The most common used are Shah-Abbasi, Medallion and triangle, and Islimies, which all are among the most Old Persian patterns. Amazing order of traditional motifs and brilliant colors brought world fame and glory to Naein rugs. Gonbadi, Haj khanomi, Mihrabi, All-over, and All-over Medallion are other common patterns of Naein rugs. Recently, production of round and octagonal rugs brought a new identity to Naein design. Fine work of master designers guarantees this identity.
DYEING: Naein rugs have much of their fame because of special dyes and colors used in them. The rugs produced in other areas in the name of Naein rugs, don’t have this quality; they use chemical dyes sometimes. There are 11 main colors and 4 secondary colors. Crème, light Khaki, deep Khaki, brown, crimson, indigo, deep blue, light blur, dark red, and mousy are the main colors and jasper green, moss green, green and pink are secondary colors.
Natural elements used to prepare these dyes are pomegranate peel, walnut peel, runas, esparak, vine leaf, and kermez.
WEAVING: Naein rugs have Persian knots and double warps. Weaving standard is high and the rugs are made precise. Looms are wooden. Mainly women do the weaving. They say that although we can not have a little garden in our yards, we weave heavenly gardens on our rugs.
Ehsan Afzalzadeh Naini, Iran Rug Company, 21 June 2005