Persian carpets can be divided into three groups; Farsh / ‘Qālii’ (sized anything greater than 6×4 feet), Qālicheh (meaning rug, sized 6×4 feet and smaller), and nomadic carpets known as Gelim (گلیم) Kilim, (including Zilu, meaning rough carpet).
The art of carpet weaving existed in Iran in ancient times, according to evidence such as the 2500-year-old Pazyryk carpet, dating back to 500 B.C., during the Achaemenid period.
The first documented evidence on the existence of Persian carpets came from Chinese texts dating back to the Sassanid period (224 – 641 AD). This art underwent many changes in various eras of the Iranian history to an extent that it passed an upward trend before the Islamic era until the Mongol invasion of Iran. After the invasion, the art began to grow again during the Timurid and Ilkhanid dynasties.
With the passage of time, the materials used in carpets, including wool, silk and cotton, will decay. Therefore archaeologists are rarely able to make any particularly useful discoveries during archaeological excavations. What has remained from early times as evidence of carpet-weaving is nothing more than a few pieces of worn-out carpets. Such fragments do not help very much in recognizing the carpet-weaving characteristics of pre-Seljuk period (13th and 14th centuries AD) in Persia.