Introduction to Antique Tabriz Rugs
Tabriz, the capital of the northwestern province of Azerbaijan, has for centuries enjoyed a great reputation as a center of Persian culture. Under the benign patronage of Shah Abbas the Great (1587-1629), artists and artisans designed illuminated manuscripts, embroidered silks, painted miniatures and fabricated metal work in the Safavid style. In this fertile atmosphere, the Court weavers of Tabriz were inspired to reach their artistic zenith and created exceptional oriental rugs and carpets.
The early eighteenth century saw the end of the Safavid Empire and the decline of the town of Tabriz with its legendary craftsmanship falling into decay. Under the Qajar Dynasty (1786-1925) the workshops of Tabriz were gradually revived; by the 1880s another golden age was underway and Tabriz again began to re-establish its position as the center for the exporting of Persian rugs to the West. Designs of antique Persian Tabriz carpets feature medallions, hunting scenes, flowers, and gardens; along with prayer and pictorial rugs interpreted in a curvilinear manner.
A refined palette reliant on copper tones, terracotta and ivory, with shades of blue and subtle touches of gold, green and salmon are prevalent in antique Persian Tabriz rugs. Some extremely luxurious antique Tabriz rugs and carpets were woven in silk. Haji Jalili, master weaver of the Qajar era is renowned for producing some of the most superlative of oriental rugs. Within the span of nineteenth century decorative arts, it is still generally acknowledged that the finest antique Tabriz carpets and rugs are unsurpassed for both quality and beauty.