Getting to Know Qom Silk Carpets
Let’s get to know the pattern and design of tree carpets more.
Nature’s Drama: Persian Rugs with Hunt Motifs
The culture of Iranians and ancient civilizations, with thousands of years of history, is a source of pride and glory for every Iranian, transcending borders to resonate with Iranians worldwide. This civilization, known for urbanization, poetry, literature, carpet weaving, and more, showcases the greatness of its predecessors, reminding us of a people who transformed their thoughts and spirits into magnificent works, allowing us to declare our Iranian identity proudly. Iranians, proud and steadfast in the heart of history, have understood the art and passed on the beauty of humanity through their extraordinary works, among which handwoven carpets and the design of hunting stand out as exceptional.
This art is not only a means of furnishing homes but also serves as a canvas to depict the ancient feelings of the people. A handwoven carpet is like a book, and flipping through its pages reveals the lifestyle of our ancestors. The patterns and designs seem alive, narrating history daily, event by event.
Handwoven carpets come in various patterns, from hunting scenes to Turkmen designs, Shah Abbasi patterns to Islamic practices, and garden motifs to tree designs. These patterns blend with colors, captivating everyone as if telling a story from the heart of history or transporting the viewer back to their past and authenticity.
In this article, we aim to describe one of the most charming and aesthetically pleasing Iranian carpet designs—the hunting (Shekargah) scene pattern.
Hunting Pattern: A Historical Narrative in Carpet Design
The discussion about various cultural patterns is never-ending. We can spend hours talking about pre-Islamic ancient designs and post-Islamic Islamic patterns. We can speak of Mihrab designs and forbidden patterns, exploring the techniques of various ethnic groups and cultures in Iran that have a rich historical background. However, we will focus on the hunting pattern, one of the delightful Iranian carpet designs.
The Hunting Scene Design
The discussion about cultural patterns is vast. We can talk for hours about pre-Islamic ancient designs and post-Islamic Islamic patterns. We can speak of Mihrab designs and forbidden patterns. Various ethnic groups and cultures in Iran have unique designs with a long history. For instance, we can discuss the Kurdish people’s carpet designs or the Baluch people’s handicrafts. We can speak of the hand-knotted carpets woven by Northern women knot by knot or the piled rugs of the warm-blooded people in the South.
Still, we are going to talk about the hunting pattern. The background of the hunting scene (Shekargah) carpet design is a forest or meadow, depicting images of deer, rabbits, and wild animals. It can show a hunter or a huntsman engaged in hunting or not. The general theme of the hunting pattern includes plants in the meadow and animals, portraying the image of human or animal hunting. The reason for weaving carpets in this style and context must be sought in the lives of our ancestors, which we will explore.
Historical Narrative of the Hunting Scene Pattern
According to historical evidence, gardens and plains were lush during the time of the Achaemenids, and various species of animals inhabited them. The belief of the Achaemenids at that time was that these gardens and pastures were sacred, and they held great respect for them. The Achaemenids designated their hunting grounds, and they would derive their livelihood from these. Perhaps this is why they considered it sacred. The interest of the Achaemenid kings and nobles in hunting in meadows and the people’s beliefs at that time led to the establishment of this tradition among carpet patterns, which has survived for centuries and has now reached us.
Patterns Used in the Hunting Design
Beliefs and existing realities led carpet artists to create their works based on them. The artist either brought the truth to his design or nurtured it based on his imagination and beliefs, giving it life and meaning.
Careful observation of the hunting carpet design reveals several points about humans. First, the hunter’s attire indicates that the aristocracy and kings usually hunted rather than ordinary people. In addition, tools and hunting equipment, such as spears or bows, are also depicted.
The density and types of plants in the image signify abundant rainfall in these meadows in ancient times, and the climate was suitable for the growth of plants.
Comparison of Ancient and Modern Hunting Designs
The hunting scene patterns of ancient and modern times can be compared, and their differences can be identified. For example, in Safavid-era hunting patterns, the figure of the hunter, who was the Safavid king, is depicted. The crown and specific ornaments of the Safavid kings attest to this claim. Moreover, in some patterns, the population of servants, attendants, and cooks accompanying the Safavid king is also evident, which is not seen in modern designs.
Modern designs of hunting patterns have been influenced by factors such as miniatures and have moved away from traditional styles. At the same time, the landscapes in these patterns have moved away from the meadow and turned mountainous.
In conclusion, the carpet design hunting pattern reflects the lifestyle of ancient people and serves as a testament to the sacredness of nature in Iranian history. With its rich historical narrative, this pattern continues to captivate us and bridge the gap between the past and present.
Types of Carpets with Hunting Patterns
Hunting patterns have blended with other carpet patterns, creating a harmonious and visually appealing combination. Among these, we can find the universal hunting pattern, the hunting with cypress pattern, the tree-themed hunting pattern, and more. These examples showcase a fusion of the hunting pattern with other carpet designs.
The hunting pattern exhibits differences, expressing a particular state or concept. For instance, kings’ hunting pattern differs from wild animal hunting and carries its symbolic meaning. The presence of multiple figures in the image, one more prominent and adorned in royal attire, represents the hunting scenes of different eras with kings and their courts.
Another type involves depicting the attack of wild animals on prey. One of the most prominent examples is the image of a lion attacking a bull, known as “Gereft o Giri,” or the lion and bull motif. This motif, also visible in the photos of Persepolis, signifies the presence of animals in ancient paradises. The authenticity of the Achaemenid hunting pattern is evident in this type of design. However, over time, the image of the lion has transformed into that of a tiger or leopard, losing some of its original authenticity.
Today, machine-made carpets with hunting patterns are produced. While lacking the authenticity of handwoven rugs, they offer acceptable quality and more affordable prices. The hunting pattern is a good choice for those who value Iranian civilization or seek a different way than routine market designs. The cost of these carpets varies based on factors such as density, pile, material, and dimensions, making them suitable for different financial capacities.