Rarity thanks to Knotting Density and Knotter

Nowadays carpets are available in almost all designs for little money. Machines manage to knot a single carpet from dyed yarns within 60 minutes. However, this no longer has much to do with the centuries-old tradition of hand knotting, where knot by knot is crafted by hand for months. The result is an incomparably fine, unique piece with which a machine-knotted carpet has little in common.

Persian rug knotting has long been and still is one of the most challenging and at the same time of the highest quality. Not only is the Senneh knot extremely robust in direct comparison to other knot types, but the density is also almost unmatched. Persian rugs play a highly important role in the segment of over 500,000 knots per m2 and are virtually unrivaled concerning rugs with 1,000,000 knots per m2 or higher. Last but not least, it is mostly Persian rugs that, with a certain rarity, at least maintain or even increase their value over time.

The rarity and knot density of a rug is determined by one main factor, the knotter. While a knot density beyond 500,000 knots per m2 requires a lot of experience and skill from the knotter, a density around 1,000,000 knots and more is reserved for the most experienced. As a guideline, an experienced knotter will knot about 10,000 knots a day, which means he will need about 50 working days for a single square meter of a 500.000 knots / m2 rug. This means that very fine rugs can take up to a year to craft.

The knotting density is therefore an excellent indicator for the rarity and the effort, respectively the fineness of a rug. Since the knotting density depends solely on the skill of the knotter, this is a decisive factor which, for example, collectors include in their purchase decision and evaluation. Some well-known master knotters have their own studios in which they pass on their knowledge and skills and supervise the production of their works. Special rugs are therefore not only signed by the knotter's name, but can also bear the studio's name instead. Other rugs may be signed with the name of the customer.

Signatur of the master Shirfar

Signature of the master knotter Shirfar on a Tabriz silk rug

A rug is usually signed on the outer edge, visible on the surface. The corresponding name is knotted into the carpet by hand in Arabic. Thus the name of the master knotter, alongside the origin of the carpet, serves as some kind of brand name that allows conclusions to be drawn about the level of expertise and the rarity of a rug. Persian rugs made by particularly well-known and skilled master knotters have become hard-fought collector's items, such as those by Habibian.

Learn more about Persian Master Knotters

Classic Knotting Densities

In the following the classical knotting densities of oriental rugs are listed, categorized for an approximate orientation and estimation.

Qom silk carpet from Jamshidi

Qom silk rug with over 1.4 million knots / m2 by Jamshidi

Knots per square meter
Very coarse 40.000-80.000
Coarse 80.000-120.000
Average 120.000-240.000
Somewhat finer 240.000-360.000
Fine 360.000-500.000
Very fine 500.000-1.000.000
Exceptionally Fine 1.100.000 or higher

Knotting density in Raj

Raj is often used as a quality unit in Iran. The number of knots is counted on 7 cm in the direction of the warp yarn on the back of the rug. This number gives the Raj value.

Knots on 7cm
40 knots 40 Raj, equivalent to approximately 300,000 knots per m2
50 knots 50 Raj, equivalent to approximately 500,000 knots per m2
60 knots 60 Raj, equivalent to approximately 750,000 knots per m2
70 knots 70 Raj, equivalent to approximately 1,000,000 knots per m2
80 knots 80 Raj, equivalent to approximately 1,300,000 knots per m2

Examples of Persian rugs with Raj

These rugs come from the city of Tabriz. The rugs knotted there are usually measured in Raj.

Categories Persian Rugs

Robust Persian rugs, characterised by their hexagonal centre medallion.
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Robust Persian rugs that are ideal for everyday use and affordable at the same time.
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Knotted by former nomads with straight-line patterns, today very popular again.
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Garden motifs from Persian gardens, for which these rugs are known and appreciated.
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Rugs knotted in Kurdish style and known for their firm pile.
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Simple and elegant – probably the most famous nomad rugs from Iran.
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Typically knotted in reddish brown colours and on horizontal looms.
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Rugs that stand for luxury and are especially known for their natural silk.
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Different colours and patterns come from the Hamadan region.
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Large elaborate central medallions can be found on these rugs.
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Some of the finest rugs come from Isfahan. Also collectors find a highly valuable piece here.
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Floral patterns from one of the once most highly regarded rug regions.
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Rugs with an excellent reputation and a far-reaching tradition.
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Robust and strong, these carpets were knotted by Kurds in Iran.
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Different designs, which originate from the probably holiest place of Iran.
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Popular for the garden motifs or the well-known Herati pattern.
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Typically, these rugs are kept in red and blue.
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They belong to the finest rugs and are known for their striking design.
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Rugs with mostly geometric patterns from the provincial capital of Kurdistan.
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Typical nomadic carpets from the old Shiraz among the ancient ruins of Persepolis.
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Well-known rugs with central medallion in different levels of quality.
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