Kashan is an ancient town 160 miles from Tehran with a long history of weaving. The famous ‘Ardebil’ carpet, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum was made here. Carpet production actually stopped in the eighteenth century. It was started again in the late nineteenth century by merchants who had the idea of using imported Merino wool for weaving. The practice spread rapidly throughout Persia, though Kashan itself now uses locally produced wool as well. Rugs woven from Merino wool are called Kurk Kashans, and attract higher prices.
Kashan weavers favor classical elongated medallion designs with corner decorations, prayer arches with hanging lamps over monochrome fields and rugs covered with vase motifs, or birds and flowers. Borders are always beautifully patterned and, if inscribed, usually increase the value of a rug. Dyes are of a high quality, and warm reds and indigo predominate.
Kashan is also famous for its silk brocades, and so it is not surprising to learn that fine silk rugs are woven here too. Whether silk or wool, all Kashans are delicately patterned with a lustrous silky pile.
Wool Kashans have cotton warp and weft threads, though silk pile rugs are often woven onto silk. Rugs are woven with the Persian knot.