When thinking of oriental carpets, you will think primarily of high-quality Persian carpets that are knotted in today's Iran, where each carpet is unique. However, noble oriental carpets do not only originate from Persia or Iran. Other countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and India also have a long tradition of carpet-making, and Indian carpets are especially very popular.
Indian carpets have adapted colours, designs, materials and even knotting techniques from the traditional and original Persian carpet. Nevertheless, hand-knotted Indian carpets are easily distinguishable from a Persian carpet.
Indian carpets have been made in Persian style since the 16th century. Unlike in Persia, the Indian carpet culture did not develop simultaneously among different social classes. Indian carpets were established at the Indian imperial court, where the first Indian carpets were made by Persian carpet weavers for use on royal properties between 1556 and 1605, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
These Persian carpet weavers established production of Indian carpets based on the Persian model. Until the 18th century, these carpets were subsequently knotted at the imperial court. Fine virgin wool was the primary material used for Indian carpets. This choice of material is also based on Persian carpet models. Indian carpets are therefore traditionally of high quality and robust in the same manner as Persian carpets from Iran.
Today, carpets are produced in India exclusively for export. These carpets still show the designs and patterns of Persian carpets from various weaving regions. However, Indian carpets with Chinese patterns are now also wide-spread Indian carpets are very diverse in their designs. They exhibit traditional ornaments and other patterns as well as modern designs that are strongly influenced by the European market and European tastes.
How are Indian carpets divided?
Indian carpets are classified solely by various knotting settings. Indian carpets are additionally named according to their knot density based on own units of measurement that are comparable to local cubits.
Given that traditional Indian carpets are strongly influenced by Persian carpets, they are also named after the weaving centres of their Persian models, for example, Gabbeh, Bidjar or Tabriz. The term "Indo" is highlighted in the name of the respective carpet type In order to distinguish Indian carpets from Persian carpets. Indian carpets are therefore known as Indo Täbriz, Indo Bidjar, Indo Ghom or Indo Tabriz. In addition to rugs from India, which go by their Persian names, there are also Indian carpets that bear the names of Indian regions, such as Amritsar or Jaipur.
The Indian weaving tradition is still quite young compared to traditional oriental carpets. Although inspired by Persian models, modern Indian carpets are also strongly oriented toward western tastes and stand out from other oriental carpets. Classic oriental carpets have a rather distinctive and eye-catching design and stand out via their choice of colours. Indian carpets, on the other hand, have more discreet and tranquil colours which makes it easy to combine them with any decor.
In terms of quality, hand-knotted carpets from India differ from a Persian carpet from Iran especially in terms of the wool material. Although Indian carpets often have a slightly softer and higher pile, they are just as durable and easy to maintain. Imported wool from New Zealand and native Indian wool are mainly used for producing Indian carpets.