Kashans are hand knotted on vertical looms using cotton warps and wefts and good quality wool pile that is cropped close. The pile often has a silky feel to it and is of very high quality. Kashans are the among the finest carpets produced today, but the standard of individual items varies rather more than it does with Isfahans, and it is important to assess each item on its own merits. They may be woven on either cotton or silk foundations, with between 200 to 400 Persian knots per square inch (pure silk items may have 600 or more)
The reputation of carpets made in the central Persian city of Kashan was so high that, according to Persian folklore, it was considered a compliment to say that a person came from Kashan, for this implied that they possessed quality and style. After the Court period which culminated with the reign of Shah Abbas. Carpet making in Kashan was interrupted for more than two centuries between the Afghan invasion in 1722 and the end of the nineteenth century. It was only during the last quarter of the nineteenth century that some textile mill owners, finding themselves in difficulties because of competition with imported textiles, decided to try launching the carpet-making trade again.
The first examples woven after this renewed beginning of trade are noticeable for the magnificent quality of the wool, which makes the carpets extremely velvety. It would appear that these examples were made with wool imported from Australia and which was used for making very highly priced materials. These carpets are known as Kashan Motashemi, probably from the name of one of the first craftsmen. In a few years, because of the very high quality of the wool, the very fine weaving and the beautiful colours and designs, Kashans came to be classified among the finest of the Persian carpets. Modern production has also kept up a high level and has maintained the world prestige of these carpets.
Kashans are easily recognizable by their design. The field is almost always decorated by a central medallion, which terminates at the upper and lower ends in flowering coronets. The rest of the field is closely decorated with flowers and vine tendrils. In the four quarters a richly decorated band outlines a motif, which recalls the designs and colours of the central medallion. Kashans without a medallion are much rarer. These have a floral design accompanied by a decoration including animals such as the giraffe and peacock. The border is made up of two or four guards flanking the central one, which is always decorated with a herati border motif, while the guards have the usual decoration of rosettes and a garland. Another common type of Kashan is that with figural decoration – story carpets – which are almost always in silk.
The usual background colours for Kashan carpets are rich red and dark blue. Very often the carpets with a dark blue background have medallion and border in red, and vice versa. Ivory, yellow, ochre, burnt orange and occasionally green are also employed in Kashans. A recent kind of Kashan, the pange- rangh (five colours) is, as its name implies, knotted entirely in wools dyed in five colours. The background is generally ivory and the other colours are various shades of beige, gray and light blue. The pange-rangh also has a new decoration, which consists of a geometric interpretation of the classic motifs of this area. With their soft bluish grays, these pange-rangh Kashans were specifically designed for the Western market.
A good quality Kashan, whether wool or silk, is generally considered a very sound investment, the price range for these glorious carpets are usually medium to high.