You may know Shiraz as a type of delicious wine, but did you know that it was named for the part of the world that it comes from? The Shiraz region of Persia, now known as Iran, is known widely for its beautiful wines, but it offers a lot more than just a tasty beverage.
Located in the southwest area of modern-day Iran, Shiraz is home to over one and a half million people. It is known as the city of poets, literature, wine (of course), and flowers, and it is a haven for artists and lovers of art alike. Its beauty is thanks to the pride its citizens take in maintaining decorative and fruit gardens that can be seen throughout the city. Craftsmen have gathered here for centuries to learn from masters in mosaic work, metalwork, woodwork, and textiles. Main industries also include cement production and sugar processing. As home to Iran’s first solar plant as well as wind turbines, it’s clear that Shiraz is not only reminiscent of the glory days of prehistoric artistry, but also a steppingstone to lead Iran into the future.
As Shiraz makes its mark on the world-known and continues to lead its country into the times yet to come, it is also home to another artisanal luxury: The Shiraz Persian Rug. The traditional Shiraz rug stands out among other types of rugs with its simplicity in form and creation.
As home to several famous nomadic tribes, like the Qashqai, Shiraz relishes in the traditional appearance of its homespun rugs. To begin with, the rugs are made primarily of sheep’s wool and goat hair. The sheep are of a hardy variety that graze high up in the mountains of the area. They are herded down to the shepherd’s pastureland to be shorn once a year in the summer after their thick wool has had time to grow in during the cooler winters. The wool is coarse, thick, and long – ideal for weaving into durable and attractive rugs that are proved to withstand the test of time and an abundance of use in the home.
Once the sheep are shorn, the wool is transferred over to the women of the tribe, who have the task of twisting the yarn with their fingers to create threads to be woven. The threads are wrapped together to create a type of roll, and then it is taken to be dyed before it can be woven. The proper Shiraz rug is all organic, using all-natural items for processing and coloring. Indigo, eucalyptus, turmeric, and even acorn shells are all used to create brilliant pigments. The wool is boiled in water heavy with these ingredients to create vibrant shades. The most common shades for the Shiraz rugs are reds, oranges, and browns. The newly dyed threads are then dried in the open air.
After the dyeing and drying process, the wool is ready to be woven. The weavers, usually women, sit on the floor with a fixed loom and work for hours on end, weaving the wool into distinct shapes. The fixed loom means that the rugs tend to be of a larger size than most other Persian rugs. Because of the size and intricacy of the designs, weaving one rug by hand can often take up to a year.
The design of the rugs from Shiraz are almost exclusively geometric. However, these are not your simple geometric designs touted on Pinterest. Instead, they are intricate and symmetrical, with patterns styled in tiny medallions or other small shapes scattered across a background. It is interesting to note, however, that the Shiraz rug is the only Persian style rug that depicts nightingales – small birds known for their beautiful song. The nightingale holds massive cultural importance in Iran and is its national bird. The city of Shiraz also hosts a large population of the birds, which clearly contributes to its mystical ambience.
Since every step of the process is rather labor-intensive and time-consuming the Shiraz rug is of the highest quality. Its designs are clear, its colors are vibrant and natural, and its weaving is coarse and thick, like the sheep’s wool it came from. It can withstand a lot of foot traffic, and with regular maintenance and a little bit of TLC, it will definitely be in your home, and family, for many years to come.
If you’re looking into finding the right Shiraz rug for you, there are several options and suggestions we would like to make.
First of all, because of the naturally dark pigments of the reds and oranges of the typical Shiraz rug, they lend themselves well to decorating natural wooden flooring. The warm tones help create an ambience of cozy hospitality. As such, these tribal rugs are ideal for placing in the foyer or entrance hall of a home. Pair it with natural wooden floorboards for a seamless step into your welcoming house.
A Shiraz rug that is heavy in dark crimson colors like this one (on the left) will allow you to draw out the deep shades through accessorizing the area. For example, a living room with lots of natural light and white or beige walls allow the dep red to be the primary focus of the room. Keep the rest of the larger items in the room neutral, in shades of beige, light brown, and cream. Then, accessorize with a similar dark red color for the occasional throw pillow on the sofa, and red-colored knickknacks scattered throughout. Because red can be such a heavy and demanding color, you’ll want to make sure not to overpower it with other colors that fight for attention. Stay away from greens, oranges, yellows, and any other bright color that may distract from the beauty of the rug.
As mentioned above, the Shiraz tribal rug is ideal for an entranceway, as it opens up the home in a warm embrace. This rug (on the right) with its more muted shades and rectangular shape is perfect for just that. Because the colors on this one are a bit more faded, you’ll have the perfect feel of ancient beauty as guests enter your home. To keep your home from feeling too old, like a museum, dress up the entranceway with some glitz. A houseplant in a silver pot will not only bring life to the hallway with the greens of the plant, but also add a bit of glamour to juxtapose with the toned-down shades of the rug itself. Finish off the hallway with matching silver sconces and scented candles. A metallic key-dish wouldn’t go awry on a side table next to the door. Don’t forget – complement the old style of the rug with the new of some silver and you’ll have a welcoming foyer for bringing guests into your home.
If your style is a little funkier, Shiraz rugs can also help you achieve that look in whatever room you choose. This rug (on the right) is ideal for those with an eclectic style that favors bright colors and fun shapes. With shades of pink, purple, yellow, and orange, this oriental rug is perfect for a bedroom that showcases your unique style. Because its pattern is quite busy and repetitive, stick to mostly solid colors around the room. A rosy pink or even fuchsia bedspread will draw out the pink hues in the rug, while lemon yellow drapes contrast artfully. Don’t be afraid to go with as many bright colors as your heart desires – this rug has no limits! Well, maybe one limit. For the under-rug flooring, try to stick to a mostly neutral color like cream, or even black. Avoid flooring with gradations or multiple colors, as this will remove the focus from the rug and add just a bit too much busy-ness.
For a truly unique piece, this small-sized rug (on the left) performs well as a doormat and conversation piece. With its gray background and vibrant reds and yellows, it will be the first thing you see when coming in the house. This particular rug features a person sitting on the ground in front of a small tree supporting 2 small birds, most likely the nightingale. The gray helps the colors of the birds and person to stand out brightly and will encourage a feeling of exotic interest to all who see it. To make this rug at home in your home, a natural light wood floor is best, since the gray of the background will separate the floor from the main design without disrupting it. Bright golden tones on the floor will help each intricate part of this design to show up even more vibrantly. When decorating with this as the focal point, go for lots of yellows in deeper shades like mustard or marigold. Feel free to add in other colors that appear in the rug as well – cornflower blue and deep forest green. These will be your secondary colors, so use them sparingly. If this rug is placed in the kitchen, your larger appliances, drapes, or tablecloths could be the main yellow color. Meanwhile, the blues and greens can take place in minor accessories like a clock, table wear, or pictures on the wall.
If your preference is for a bit of a darker look, this black and wine-red Shiraz rug (on the left) is just the right one for you. Its deep colors pair well with the cream-colored accents that appear in the geometrical design. The tribal design paired with the darker shades makes it a perfect option for a sultry living room. Paired with a now-trending polished cement floor will create a look that demands attention without being overbearing and will bring warmth to the room. Keep the room in muted dark shades of black and wine and use the cream color for accessories like a cozy throw or for indoor plants. Keep the walls a light shade and dress them up with dark paintings or photographs to maintain the mood of the room. Remember, keep the décor simple and classic so as not to take away from this fabulous Shiraz tribal rug.
Shiraz rugs, like the rest of their Persian counterparts, are an astounding sight to behold. The simple geometric designs and true colors belie the intense work that goes into making them. Don’t forget that when you’re purchasing a real, handmade Persian rug like the ones listed here, you’re paying for the finest quality cotton and wool and for the intense workmanship that goes into. The process, as we mentioned above, takes many hours and many hands. The result is a beautiful, durable, and frankly, superior work of art that can give personality and attractiveness to an otherwise bland room. You will find no defects in the quality of the materials or the craftsmanship of these gorgeous pieces. Surely, a Shiraz rug will bring some mighty character to your home.