Ardebils are hand knotted on a vertical loom with a warp and weft usually in cotton but sometimes in wool. The quality of wool used for the pile of Ardebil carpets is rather thick. The woolen pile is of medium depth and the weave is a Turkish knot with a density varying from 60 to 120 knots per square inch. The most commonly found dimensions are approximately 4’6” x 7’0” and 5’0” x 7’6”.
The name Ardebil is associated with the magnificent sixteenth century specimens such as the one exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. These were the first of the floral-type carpets made to the order of the Safavid court during the reign of Shah Tahmasp. Recent Ardebils have nothing in common with these antique specimens. They are carpets with geometric motifs clearly inspired by Caucasian designs. The most popular compositions are based around central medallions, pole medallions and repeating octagonal forms. The rest of the field is completely covered with very varied Caucasian motifs: rosettes, stars, animals and humans and geometric shapes. The borders are usually elaborate and are often made up of a central band framed by a series of guards. The guards are decorated with rosettes and octagonal stars as well as a series of other geometric shapes. The field is usually ivory and the dyes used for the motifs are very vivid, with a lot of reds and pea greens.
Ardebils are very similar in both appearance and construction to carpets made by a number of other groups in the region – the name is sometimes used rather more collectively than it should – but items produced in the village can often be distinguished by their use of an ivory field with green or lime-ochre elements in the design. Ardebils are produced in most sizes, and are often boldly attractive and reasonably hardwearing.
Ardebils can be good buys, and although not traditionally noted for their investment potential, the growing scarcity of Persian village and nomadic carpets is likely to ensure their resale value over the longer term.