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Carpets in Islamic Art & Muslim Culture

Carpets & rugs are significant to Islamic art & Muslim culture. Used for prayer, ornamentation & decoration, they are often collected as family heirlooms & passed down from generation to generation. A thread on the artistry & heritage of carpets in Muslim culture…



Carpets are among the most fundamental of Islamic arts. Portable, typically made of silk & wools, carpets were traded and sold as far as Europe & China. Those from Iran were highly prized. Carpets decorated the mosques, shrines & homes


Muslims regard the carpet with special esteem. In Arabia, Persia and Anatolia, the carpet was at the centre of life being used as a tent sheltering people from the sandstorms, as floor coverings, wall curtains protecting privacy & items such as blankets, bags, and saddles



The Muslim carpet has long been a luxury commodity sought by museums and collectors all over the world. The fame of the flying carpet of 'Al'a Al-Din (Aladdin) added intrigue, emotional mystery and popularity to its already exceptional beauty and tangible quality



In Islam, the carpet is a furniture of Paradise mentioned numerous times in the Qur‘an. For example in Chapter 88 (Q. 88:8-16) the carpet is counted as one of the riches the believer will be rewarded in the afterlife Image Jalal Sepehr, ‘Water and Persian Rugs’



The earliest surviving Muslim carpet, are fragments found in Al-Fustat (old Cairo). The oldest of these belonged to the 9th century (821 CE), while the remaining were dated to 13th, 14th & 15th centuries. Ikat Fragment mid-11th century, Al-Fustat Egyp



Carpets are woven works of art that were produced at every level of society in the Islamic world. Women have been weaving for centuries in villages and nomadic encampments all over the Middle East, Anatolia & Central Asia, each woman passing down her techniques and designs



The nomadic and village weaving developed its own traditions and characteristics which, apart from serving the needs of the communities, were vastly more complex than anything the commercial workshops & royal courts produced Bergama rug, Turkey, first half of 18th century


Nomadic carpets often show symbols of everyday life, this may be sheep, camels or even instruments. Humans can also be inserted into the designs. Nomadic carpets are still made today, each taking at least a year to complete Nomads at a carpet production centre, Shiraz, Iran