The Ardabil Carpet is the world’s oldest dated carpet and one of the largest, most beautiful and historically important.It was made in the town of Ardabil in north-west Iran

The entire surface of the Ardabil carpet is covered by a single integrated design – an impressive feat considering the carpet’s great size. The border is composed of four parallel bands. It surrounds a huge rectangular field, which has a large yellow medallion in its centre. The medallion is surrounded by a ring of pointed oval shapes, and a lamp is shown hanging from either end. This centrepiece is matched by four corner-pieces, which are quarters of a similar but simpler composition, without the lamps.The lamps shown hanging from the centrepiece are of different sizes.

The stunning filler pattern incorporates ten colours. The dyes were made from natural materials like pomegranate rind and indigo, so the shades vary slightly, producing a ‘ripple’ effect where darker and lighter batches of wool were used.

Each part of the design is filled with one or more types of scrollwork set with fantastic swirling flowers or leaves, characteristic of early Safavid dynasty design.