The city of Nain is located in the centre of Iran, in close proximity to Isfahan. Today Nain carpets are considered to be amongst the finest examples of refined Persian craftsmanship with many stunning carpets boasting a knot density of one million knots per square metre and more.
Carpet production did not begin until the 1930’s however and Nain was until this time known for its production of high quality handmade woolen fabrics. With the decline of this business, many weavers from Isfahan were imported and thus began the flourishing production of Nain carpets. As a result of this delay, to this day Nain carpets remain among the least exported carpets and are highly prized and sought after among collectors worldwide.
Nain carpets are made with superior wool and weavers often use silk to highlight and accentuate floral details and animals, mostly birds in the pile. The more refined Nain carpets are made entirely of silk with a silk warp, known as Nain 4 La carpets, they are prized collector’s gems bearing much similarity to Isfahan carpets.
Traditional Nain carpets have a central medallion decorated with stunningly beautiful arabesques and floral motifs. The carpets are characteristically found in a combination of beautifully muted ivory cream and navy blue, but also come in burgundy red, light blue and sometimes even in emerald green.
The quality of a Nain carpet is determined by the number of ”La” in the carpet - la is the Farsi word for layer. Carpets are either 4La, 6La, 9La or 12La which refers to the number of layers of threads in each warp thread. If you unravel a single fringe strand in a Nain carpet and count the number of threads that it is made of, you will know what kind of Nain carpet it is.
The lower the La, the finer and higher knot density the carpet has. A Nain 9 La has approximately 400,000-500,000 knots per square metre, a Nain 6 La has 3 threads in each fringe strand with a knot density of around 850,000 – 1,000,000 knots and the exclusive Nain 4 La has 2 threads per strand and a knot density of 1,000,000 up to 1,300,000 knots per square metre.
Today the carpets produced in the city of Nain are mainly 4 and 6 La quality carpets and the more commercial 9 and 12 La carpet production is focused in the cities of Kashmar and Mashad in the Khorasan area.
The city of Nain is also home to the world renowned Habibian workshops and Nain Habibian carpets are some of the most exclusive and sought after carpets in the world, real prized and valued collector’s gems. The famous carpet knotter Fathollah Habibian (1903-1995) is said to be ”the father of Nain carpets” and genuine Habibian carpets are a rare find today.