Categories produced: master-workshop, workshop, village and nomadic
Pahlavi rugs: Special mention must be made of these master-workshop and workshop items made in a handful of major weaving centres from the 1930s onwards, and generally considered to be among the most technically accomplished rugs ever made. When the late Shah’s father (Reza Shah Pahlavi) came to power in 1924 he began a programme of sponsorship aimed at elevating the Persian rug industry to levels of excellence that had not been seen since the Golden Age of the 16th and 17th centuries. This patronage was continued by the late Shah (Mohammed Reza Pahlavi) until he was deposed in 1979, and the items produced in the top workshops in Isfahan, Tabriz, Nain, Quoom and to lesser extend Kashan, Kerman and Meshed are known collectively as Pahlavi rugs. In reality, the terms should only be applied to items made under royal commission, but in practice it is used for any rug from weaving centres produced in the Pahlavi.
Price and resale value: Persian rugs have traditionally been considered the most expensive and easily re-saleable of all oriental rugs, and allowing for few notable exceptions (usually older and more collectable items from different parts of the world), this assumption has generally held true. However, from the mid-1980s this situation has begun to change. Persian rugs still possess an undoubted mystique, and generally more expensive than those from other countries, but price differentials have been steadily eroding, and they are now generally cheaper in comparison to rugs from other countries than they have been for decades. This is partly due to the relative costs of production and the public’s growing recognition that other countries can make good rugs; but perhaps the main reason is simply that the output of workshop has increased dramatically in recent years.