Iran in 2018
During my trip through Iran, I was surprised by the many beautiful aspects that the country has to offer. In the cities I admired the architecture, palaces and bazaars. In the countryside I was surprised by the diversity of natural places. Green, lush mountains, deep forests, vast empty deserts and beautiful beaches. But wherever I went in Iran, there was always a carpet nearby.

The city of Ardabil
In Ardabil, I stayed at Benjamin’s place. I met him on the streets in Ardabil. Upon entering his home, the bright colors and the smell of wool welcomed me. After a long day in the sun, I was finally in the right place. As is often the case in Iran, the ground floor of the house has no furniture. What I did find there was a loom, amid all kinds of carpets hanging on the wall or scattered on the floor. Amid all those bright colors, Benjamin’s mother is busy crafting a carpet.

Cultural heritage
The scene of how the mother of the family was busy tying piles of carpets still lives with me until this day. The family has been producing and selling carpets for generations. All that knowledge, hard work and specialization form the old cultural heritage. I quickly realized that there is much more to learn about carpets.

Understand a carpet
To understand carpets, one must understand the changes in Iranian culture over time. Since Iran’s culture is based on so many metaphors, the significance of carpets can historically be seen in this context. The social and cultural representations can be seen in the designs and the people who made the carpets. It is a way of representing itself and creating artistic meaning. The motifs and metaphors throughout Iran, the architecture and poems are part of that.

Photo by Puria Berenji on Unsplash

Felix van den Belt

Felix van den Belt

Give Felix an assignment about carpets and he will go for it. He listens and asks questions. What is the history and what makes certain rugs unique? What can be said about social life around the carpets? Felix's passion for carpets prompts him to discover these questions like no other.