29 May 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: The Carpet Museum in Tehran

Almost everyone I know have heard of the Persian rug, or the Persian carpet. It is safe to say that the excellence and high-quality of the Persian carpet is well-known worldwide. So if one visits Iran, a carpet is definitely a good souvenir. It is, however, rather expensive. In fact, a good carpet seller in Iran would have a foreign bank account, enabling buyers to use their credit cards. Iran is otherwise a cash economy, so visitors would otherwise have to bring in cash into the country (which I did myself), but if you want to buy a carpet, your cash might not be enough. Anyway, I didn't intend to buy a carpet, but I did want to visit the Carpet Museum.

This museum is showing its age, as it was designed in the 1970s, and hasn't been refurbished ever since, or so it seems. That being said, the interior and the contents of this museum is a treasure trove. Iran has several styles of carpets, and if you are a specialist, then you could tell based on the designs. I am ignorant when it comes to carpets, so I will basically just dump the photos I have taken for you to see.

Each carpet had an accompanying map showing where in Iran it was made. Some carpets were showing its age, and the museum keeps everything in a dark room so that light damage is minimized. Oh, one thing that I noticed was that plenty of carpets depicted human faces. Islam typically does not like depictions of humans, hence when I was in Morocco, the arts developed differently, favoring geometric patterns. But here in Iran that is apparently not a problem, and you see plenty of carpets showing people.

I find it really unfortunate that my knowledge does not extend beyond what I saw, and I cannot really expand on something I do not know. If the museum were to improve, it would be nice if there was some section explaining details about carpet styles and carpet making. But at this point all the visitor can do is gaze at amazing carpets.

Then again I could have done a guided tour, and probably learned more about it.


  1. I agree, pretty amazing. It's also interesting to realize how much we associate these carpets with an era and some places of power, like palaces, etc. (or at least, I do!) I'm picturing those at the Élysée, for instance.

    1. Zhu,

      I know what you mean. Carpets after all, are expensive items, and it's the same in SE Asia too: houses that have carpets must be houses that are occupied by rich people, since that means they also have air conditioning, because otherwise carpets are hot! In Iran, on the other hand, carpets are everyday items, and pretty much every house has it, draping over divans and tables and other areas where people lounge around.