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A Brief History of Persian Rugs: The Pazyryk Carpet

Persian rugs have been around for hundreds of years. One of the oldest on record, the Pazyryk Carpet of Iran, is roughly 2500 years old, dating back to 500 B.C. Archaeologists are rarely able to garner any useful information from pieces of Persian rugs they’ve found, as over time the fibers (usually wool, silk and cotton) decay, rendering them void of any real news. The Pazyryk Carpet is considered the oldest and one of the best-preserved Persian rugs found, and, as you can see below, even it is in withering condition.

Persian Rugs

The Pazyryk Carpet was discovered in 1949 in the Siberian Altai Mountains, specifically in the grave of a Scythian prince. Extensive research on the rug suggests that by the time it was made the rug-making process had already undergone a long and elegant evolution. There is some debate about which time period the rug actually belongs to; some believe it is not a nomadic product as first assumed, but one of the Achaemenid period. Its timeline matches that of Cyrus the Great at Pasargade, whose court is said to have been decorated with luxurious rugs and carpeting. It’s plausible that citizens of an opposing country could have stolen the rugs from the court, in effect scattering them across the continent.

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