Kerman carpets (sometimes “Kirman”) are one of the traditional classifications of Persian carpets. They are named after the city of Kerman, which is both a city and a province located in south central Iran, though as with other such designations the term describes a type which may have been manufactured somewhere else. Kerman has been a major center for the production of high quality carpets since at least the 15th century. In the 18th century, some authors considered the carpets from the province of Kerman, especially at Siftan, to be the finest Persian carpets, partly because of the high quality of the wool from the region known as Carmania wool.
Kerman carpets are often constructed using the “Vase technique” characterised by three shoots of weft between rows of knots. The first and third are typically woolen and at high tension, while the second one, at low tension, is normally made of silk or cotton. Warps are markedly displaced and the Persian knot is open to the left. This technique distinguishes Kerman carpets from both the Safavid (1501-1722) and subsequent (1722-1834) periods.” Most Persian carpets, in contrast, used the “Turkish knot”. Kerman carpets of the 18th century and later very often use “lattice” patterns, with the central field divided by a lattice design giving many small compartments. The dye process for Kerman carpets occurred while the wool was still in flock and before spinning, allowing for uniform color. The palette for Kerman carpets is as brilliant as it is varied. Tones can range from ivory, blue and magenta to a more golden and saffron cast.
The design pattern of Kerman carpets are also a distinct feature. Vase carpets, a type of Kerman rug distinctive of the 16th and 17th centuries, are characterized by an allover pattern of stylized flowers and oversized palmettes with vases placed throughout the field.
Another rare and distinct variation of Kerman carpets is the Lavar or Ravar Kerman. Although Lavar is the improper name, some are still labeled as such. These carpets were produced in Ravar village next to Kerman city in the northern region, and are known particularly for their fine weave and elegant, classically derived design of allover and central medallion formats.
Kerman rugs and carpets were woven in all sizes, some extending out to 10 feet. Typical manufacturing used an asymmetrical knot on cotton foundation, but rare examples include silk or part silk piles, or silk foundations with wool pile.
Kerman carpets include a signature, either that of the weaver or to whom the carpet was woven for.