Design, materials, dyeing, and weaving are all major factors in the Persian prayer rug and are what make each rug a part of history and the Islamic religion. These rugs are decorated with geometric and floral designs because idolization is not permitted in the Islamic religion.
In the center or the field of each rug there is a prayer niche derived from mosque architecture and is supported by two columns. The materials used to make the ornate carpets are wool, camel fur, goat’s hair, silk, and cotton.
Each fiber used in this craft is used for different reasons, for example, silk is fine and strong so it is likely to have a clear structural pattern. Before the material is used it must go through a washing stage and then it is hung to dry for six weeks.
The dyes used in the decoration process are extracted from plants such as the vibrant blue color extracted from indigo.
Traditional dyes such as this were passed down from generation to generation. Once the materials were gathered and the dyes were made the weaving process began. Skilled craftsmen produced these carpets on a structure called a loom. There are two major types of weaving, the weft weave and the weft- wrapped weave each having a different complex knot construction.
Each of these elements pieced together makes the Islamic prayer rug an intricacy part of the Islamic Religion
perhaps the best known Persian rug design is that of the prayer arch, which is used in all Persian prayer rugs.In its simplest form this is a rectangular design woven parallel to the edges.
The most common version is where one end of the rectangle has its corners angled off to form a pointed arch, a mihrab.
When a moslem kneels to pray, he rests his forehand within the mihrab, which represents the doorway of the revered Sacred Mosque in Mecca.
If the rug is made by nomads, the mihrab is sometimes further simplified so that two-thirds of the way up, the rectangle is narrowed abruptly to form a small square at one end of the carpet. Usually Persian prayer carpet will have only a single mihrab expect when the rug is intended to be used by the family simultaneously or is intended for the mosque.
Rugs with multiple mihrabs are produced occasionally in Persia(and in the Caucasus region of Russia), but they are more typical of Turkish rugs.
Persian prayer rugs made by nomadic tribes or in small Persian villages often have centers which are either plain and undecorated or are filled with small stylized flowers, stars or a stylized tree of life, symbolic of the garden of paradise
Tree of life represents eternal life. This design occurs mainly in Persian, especially in the towns of Isfahan, Qum and Tabriz where they produce remarkably lifelike trees.
Occasionally you may find a Persian prayer rug where two trees of life, their branches entwined, are growing within the same rug. These are called marriage-tree, most often found among the work of the weavers of Tabriz and Qum.