The Legendary Kashan !

In the carpet world, Kashan is used to describe a hand knotted Rug that usually contains a diamond-shaped medallion on a Shah Abbas field.

Shah Abbas fields take their name from a Mogul ruler who significantly contributed to the rise of Persian textile art in the 16th and 17th centuries. Shah Abbas fields, which are used in a variety of Persian designs, contain a series of curvilinear floral forms, creating a garden like background. They are found either in an all over format or with a central medallion.

Like many other Persian designs, the Kashan Rug design takes its name from the city of its origin (found in modern-day Iran).


During the 16th century, the Moghul rulers of the Indian subcontinent brought master weavers and dyers, including those from Kashan, to cities like Lahore (in modern-day Pakistan) and Agra (in today’s India). The Craftsmen quickly setup workshops across the Indian Subcontinent and, in time, the Kashan Rugs produced in the subcontinent achieved a very high quality standard, matching and often surpassing the fine quality Rugs produced by their Perrsian counterparts.

Below a brief description is given of Kashan Rugs produced in modern-day Iran and Pakistan.

Persian Kashan:

Most Iranian Kashans follow a medallion-and-corner pattern, sometimes referred to as the “book-cover” or Qu’ran design.

The design, which arose during the 15th and 16th centuries, takes its inspiration Persian Kashan from the beautifully tooled leather covers that were used to bind the Koran. The covers themselves were based on the Classic Royal Persian Kashan intricate patterns found in the dome of mosques. The classic royal red Iranian Kashan design is depicted in the image on the left. The traditional colors used in Iranian Kashans are rich reds, blues, ivory, yellow, burnt orange and sometimes green.

This classic design, like all hand knotted rugs, comes in a variety of qualities. The carpet has a 100% wool pile on a cotton base. The pile is clipped relatively short to allow the clarity of the design to come through. The rug is dense and heavy in this case the 4’6″ x 7’4″, Kashan depicted on the left weighs about 12 Kg or about 26-27 pounds.

As mentioned earlier, the knotting and quality of wool varies from carpet to carpet. For instance, this classic design can be found in qualities of 100 knots per square inch (KPSI) to over 400 KPSI. The Kashan on the left has approximately 200 knots per square inch and uses local wool.

Iran makes several other variations of the Kashan design. Although they most commonly use a wool pile on a cotton base, such as the Kashans depicted in this section, they are sometimes made in other materials. For example, some rare and very beautiful Kashans are made in 100% silk. Some dealers refer to these as Qum Kashans. Qums refer to rugs made in Qum in Iran that have 100% silk piles on silk bases.

Indo-Pak Kashan:

As mentioned earlier, when the Mogul rulers spread their rule from Persia to the Indian Subcontinent, they brought with them Persian weavers to setup workshops. Lahore in Pakistan, Bhadohi in India became one of Classic Kashan, the main carpet weaving centers in the subcontinent and today produces the vast majority of Indo Pak Kashans.

Like Iranian Kashans, Indo Kashans (Mogul Kashan) use a predominantly wool pile on a cotton base and are made in a wide variety of qualities. The main factors affecting the quality of the rugs are the number of knots per square inch, the clarity of the design, and the quality of the wool.

Depicted on the right is a variation on the classic Iranian design, but produced in India. This piece is a super fine quality rug, using top quality New Zealand worsted wool and with 400 KPSI. This particular piece is of a higher quality than the Iranian Kashans above.

On the left another type of Indo Kashan is depicted. This particular variation is referred to as a Mogul Kashan, with its design roots in the Mogul rule of the sub continent, as opposed to more closely following a traditional Iranian Kashan. This piece also has a wool pile on a cotton base and is made using the Senneh knot. One of the main differences between Indo Pak and Iranian Kashans involves the color tones. IndoPak Kashans almost always use pastel shades, such as beige, fawn, champagne, rose, and pale blues. Richer shades are also used, but quite often they also have a pastel cast. Based on the Senneh knot (asymmetrical double knot), these Mogul Kashan rugs are dense and extremely durable.


About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media house. Twitter: @khantastix
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