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Over the last 50 years Abadeh carpets have emerged as a recognizable group in the marketplace. Abadeh, a market town halfway between Isfahan and Shiraz in Iran, is traditionally where the Qashqai in their north/south seasonal migration would cross the highway. Consequentially it was an important market town and one that most Qashqai were familiar with.
Through time Abadeh area women were able to weave using larger and better looms making larger and better rugs. The sides of the rugs became straighter, the Knot density went up, and they used a cotton foundation. The most common designs is a red geometric medallion which fills most of the field of the rug. Within this large design are found many small geometrical motifs(animals, floral, human figures, tree etc.). In the most common Abadeh’s there is one lozenge-shaped medallion in the center and 4 in every corner of the rug as can be seen in the picture. The main colors utilized are red, rust-red, blue, white. The wool used in most Abadeh’s is good quality, the pile trimmed short resulting in a crisp, clear motifs and overall appearance. Abadeh’s are usually woven in small sizes but infrequently they may be found in larger sizes. Abadeh’s are usually a mid-range priced rug. The quality of weave is usually 150.000-200.000 knots/m2. Examples of Abadeh rugs
The rise of the Persian carpet industry began in the late 1800s. This is important for particularly Abadeh rugs, because the city of Abadeh became an area for carpet production during this period of time. This information is given in Helfgott’s journal article, Carpet Collecting in Iran, 1873-1883: Robert Murdoch Smith and the Formation of the Modern Persian Carpet Industry. The London museum, South Kensington, hired an engineer and Persian telegrapher who was also an employee of the museum to buy Persian delicacies for a collection the museum was creating. This man was Robert Murdoch Smith, and because of his career with Iran, was able to network with people in ways other buyers and collectors not known in Iran could not. During his search for Iranian relics, carpets became main purchases he made for the museum. Through the story of Smith, the rise of the Persian carpet industry is displayed through how high the prices were for them, how kings were also buyers on the market, and the explanation as to why the west wanted these woven artifacts so much: Vienna’s World’s Fair exhibited Persian rugs.
A book more relevant to today’s times shows the change of taste in Abadeh rugs. In newspaper article from 1971, during the boom of the Persian rug industry, Persian rugs were being auctioned. To persuade the audience to join the event the writer referred to the luxury of the carpets and how they fit within any decor style of a home. In the first chapter of Pirouette though, it can be seen that Abadeh rugs no longer go with every style home. Yet, Abadeh rugs still are a sign of higher class. This is shown when the home of a character, Mrs. Petrovsky, explained in detail. The wealth gained through a divorce Mrs. Petrovsky went through was used to remodel the suite she lived in. The luxurious remodeling included fireplaces, a jacuzzi, a sauna, and many expensive rugs. One rug in particular that draped her floor was the Abadeh rug. The narrator goes on to mention that because of the rugs, it was someone from the Victorian times heaven, but a nightmare for the modern decor stylist. Here, it is seen that these rugs are no longer craved by the traditional decorist. Abadeh rugs no longer fit in with the traditional home as they did in 1971, but they still are seen as valuably luxurious.
In the News
A number of newspaper articles can be found which date back to the Persian Carpet industry rise. These articles announce news based on sales of Persian carpets. The importance to this is simply that all the articles display how popular Persian carpets were during the time. The Abadeh style itself is not mentioned, but since the Abadeh rug is one of the Persian family, the newspaper articles hold relevant. An article written in a 1972 Sarasota Harold-Tribune newspaper titled Persian Rug Shortage Caused by Rising Standard of Living gives a good example to show Persian rugs were newsworthy during this time. Jackson announces to his audience that there is a large problem in Iran, they are eating too much young lamb because of the rising standard of living. The reason this is dilemme is because there was then a lack of wool to make Persian rugs since lambs were not living as long as they did before the rise of living. The younger the lambs are used for food, the less wool they were able to produce for the carpet industry. To make up for the lack of Iranian wool, the carpet industry took to New Zealand for wool. This did not solve the problem though because the sheep from New Zealand differed in quality from Iranian wool. This was problematic when it came to dyeing the carpets, they could fade in certain areas and not other parts, displaying a patchy appearance. In conclusion, this meant Persian rugs were beginning to lose their value and authenticity.
In an article published in a 1971 Miami News newspaper titled You are Invited to Join Us in the 25th Century Celebration of the Persian Empire invites rug collectors and people of Miami, Florida to come to an auction not only to buy Persian rugs, but to also learn about them. The writer of the audience attempts to persuades the audience to participate in the event by describing the richness of Persian rugs. The hues of reds and oranges are similar to the season of fall which collide with any home decor, classic or modern. It is described that one of these rugs could take over a year to create, with young underprivileged children being the majority of who weave them. The information given about rugs in the article is only a sneak peek as to what would be taught at the exhibit. Yet again, there was not any mention of Abadeh style specifically, but this article too, is relevant because it discusses Persian rugs in general. This article displays the luxury of Persian rugs in 1971, that they could become family relics and that people were invited in an exclusive way to such an auction. This article has the sense of if someone owned such a rug, they were high class.
In a 1986 issue of the Journal of Milwaukee an article titled Iran is Back into the Persian Rug Business proclaims the news of the Persian rug industry coming back into business. During a political downfall, apparently the production of Persian rugs had declined. This gave way for India to take over the industry with their rugs. At this time though, Iran was taking back it’s spot in popular carpet production, the writer seems anxious and excited about such news. The news became greater when the prices of Persian rugs were mentioned, they were now cheaper than ever. This was due to the quality of wool not being what is used to be, whether fake wool was now being used entirely or mixed with real wool. This article shows the change in time from the other article published in 1972  when the use of low quality wool was considered a crisis. But, once the Iranian rug industry had declined over the years, it did not matter that they were being produced with bad quality.
In the book The Romance of Textiles  there is a chapter titled “The Fabrics and Patterns of Persia” which solely focuses on the designs of Persian cloths. The chapter does not specifically focus on Abadeh rugs or any carpets for that matter, but Persian rugs are considered textiles, so the information in this book hold relevant. Many fabrics produced by the Persian include animals paired together, typically birds gazelles or rabbits. Geometric shapes are included in the designs as well, called medallions, which are intricately created ovals or diamonds. Floral themes are common as well, but not only Persian flowers are displayed, but Asian ones too. Many Persian pieces resemble textiles of Asia because countries within Asia traded silk with areas of Persia. During this exchange, it seems that there was also a trade off of ideas, so now Persian and Asian pieces seem as if they are related to one another.
- Helfgott, Leonard. “JSTOR: Muqarnas, Vol. 7 (1990), Pp. 171-181.” Accessed September 10, 2014. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1523127.
- “Pirouette - E. J. Quigley - Google Books.” Accessed September 10, 2014. https://books.google.com/books?id=w0KS8SvBqqsC&dq=abadeh+rugs&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s.
- “Sarasota Herald-Tribune.” https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19720514&id=6bkqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kGYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5215,4668025.
- “The Miami News.” https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2206&dat=19711109&id=zsolAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HPMFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3724,3479410.
- “The Milwaukee Journal.” https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19860731&id=pWMaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=_ioEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2616,6360688.
- Lewis, Ethel. The Romance of Textiles: The Story of Design in Weaving, 1938.