TEHRAN – Tourists and art lovers cannot visit the Carpet Museum of Iran for eight days as its main building has undergone partial restoration.
The museum will be closed from June 19 to 26, ISNA reported on Sunday.
The renovation works are taking place on the orders of Ezzatollah Zarghami, the Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, according to the report.
“My house is near the carpet museum and I take a long walk around the carpet museum, I saw that the entrance to the museum is very dirty, cats are climbing and working children are gathering there,” said said the minister.
“I asked them (museum authorities) to clean the entrance to the museum and ordered to establish a special section for a permanent handicraft market…”
Covering an area of 3,400 square meters, the museum houses a treasure trove of some 2,000 Persian rugs dating back to the Safavid era. It also exhibits a rich patchwork of rare and centuries-old rugs, kilims and picture rugs.
Located northwest of Laleh Park in the heart of Tehran, the Carpet Museum of Iran was inscribed on the National Heritage List in November 2017.
Persian rugs are sought after the world over, with the medallion pattern being arguably the most defining feature of all. The weavers spend several months in front of a loom threading and knotting thousands of threads. Some practice established patterns, others invent their own.
Each Persian rug is a scene that seems ageless, a process that can take up to a year, these efforts have long placed Iranian rugs among the most intricate and exacting handicrafts in the world. When the weaving is finally finished, the rug is cut, washed and placed in the sun to dry.
Throughout history, invaders, politicians and even enemies have left their mark on Iranian carpets. As mentioned by Britannica Encyclopedia, little is known about Persian rug making before the 15th century, when the art was already approaching its peak.
For example, the Mongol invasion of the 13th century had depressed the artistic life of Persia, partially restored by the renaissance under the Mongol Il-Khan dynasty (1256-1353). Although the conquests of Timur (died 1405) were in many ways disastrous for Persia, he favored craftsmen and spared them to work on his great palaces in Samarkand.
Later in the 17th century there was a growing demand for the production of so many gold and silver thread carpets that were eventually exported to Europe. Some were made in Kashan, but many of the best came from Isfahan. With their fresh colors and opulence, they have affinities with the European idioms of the Renaissance and the Baroque.
At the end of the 17th century, nomads and townspeople were still making carpets using dyes developed over the centuries, each group maintaining an authentic tradition. Not made for an impatient western market, these more humble “low school” rugs are often beautifully designed and are of good materials and techniques.