Origin & Quality of the Nain Oriental Carpet
The Nain carpet is one of the most popular Persian rugs that has become internationally famous due to its (mostly) two-color complexion. The city of Nain is located not far from Persia’s cultural center, Isfahan, in today’s Iran. Isfahan’s influences have strongly molded the ornamentation of Nain carpets. Nain (at the then-time Isfahan Persian Gates) is the birthplace of the same-named carpets from Persia.
Nain carpets are considered Persian carpets with a very noble appearance, in the same way as carpets from Isfahan. The knotted patterns, of filigree design, are created by weaving masters, and many a master has his signature immortalized on his carpet. These filigree-patterned carpets have an unmistakable pattern style, primarily with bright or dark blue or red as the base color and blue or white ornamentation. The pattern contours of finer grade Nain carpets are highlighted with silk, and there are also different grades of quality among these (Nain) silk carpets. It is therefore a unique practice that the Nain oriental carpet is always accurately labelled with its quality classification (6la, 9la). This kind of stringent classification does not exist for any other Persian patterns and carpets. All Persian carpets from Nain have been traditionally produced there since the 16th century.
Color, pile height and contours of Nain carpets
The unique two-color appearance is a composition of various nuances of bright and blue hues, sometimes bright, with blue or red as the base color. Rare green Nain carpets are occasionally knotted. The pile of the fine Nain 6la is cut very short. By contrast, the middle-fine 9la carpets have a regular pile height. Contours of silk enrich the ornamentations in an exceptionally delicate manner. Influences from Isfahan are unmistakable; however, the countenance of Nain carpets does not appear frivolous and especially not dominant due to the resolute color spectrum and homogeneous pattern style. Nain carpets are magnificently dignified Persian rugs, and the patterns from Isfahan make them appear even finer.
Nain carpet classifications
9la und 6la are the most important classifications among Nain rugs. “La” approximately means “layer”, and the respective number indicates the number of individual threads that form a warp. The thinner the warp threads, the higher the knot density of Persian carpets. 4la classification carpets are rarities that are hardly knotted anymore today. However, renowned Persian carpet masters did occasionally knot them in painstaking and tedious work a few decades ago.
Nain oriental carpets - knot numbers
As with all other Persian carpets, a fixed number of knots is not specified. Oriental Nain carpets are also traditionally hand-knotted in homes. As an orientation, Nain 6la carpets have knot densities of approx. 700,000 to 1 million knots per square meter. Nain 9la carpets are knotted with densities of approx. 250,000 to 400,000 knots per square meter. Meanwhile, coarser Nain carpets are also knotted in northwest Persia that usually have knot densities ranging from 120,000 to 200,000 knots per square meter. The aforementioned Nain 4la carpets have a knot density of 1 million or more knots per square meter and are therefore somewhat more exclusive and finer than normal Persian carpets and oriental rugs.
The illustrated oriental rug belongs to the Nain 6la carpet category. This means that six threads form a warp thread, with a knot tied around the warp thread. The low number of threads in the warp thread increases knot density and thereby determines how fine the carpet will be.