Persian carpet to regain 'lost foothold' in global market

2022-08-24 12:31:42
Persian carpet to regain 'lost foothold' in global market

A timeless beauty that tells stories from Iran’s rich artistic heritage -- Persian carpets are on display in the 29th Iranian Hand-woven Carpets Show in Tehran.

The event has brought under one roof producers of hand-woven carpets and pictorial rugs from across the country to showcase their latest designs.

For centuries, the Iranian carpet has represented Iran’s culture and art. Its unique design and quality have turned the ancient handicraft into a lucrative commodity on the global stage. Iranian carpets are the rarest and most valuable carpets in the world.

Less than three decades ago, this sublime art used to be a major export earner for Iran and a viable source of income that accounted for almost one-fifth of the country’s non-oil revenues. But today, this is no longer the case, as producers are warning that the Iranian carpet is losing its shine in the global market.

From an annual revenue of up to one billion dollars in the 1990s, the export of Iranian carpets has slumped to almost zero. One reason behind this freefall has to do with US sanctions, says this carpet trader who used to export to Europe before Washington’s anti-Iran measures tightened the screw on the Persian carpet.

In 2018, another challenge came into play to knock the Persian carpet out of the global market once and for all. Surprisingly, it’s a domestic issue. Since the depreciation of the Iranian rial, the government has imposed tight controls on currency liquidity, which require exporters to return their hard currency proceeds to the country within a very short period of time.

The absence of genuine Iranian carpets in the international market has paved the way for other rivals to fill the void. Countries such as India, Pakistan and even Afghanistan have since been supplying the market with cheap and ‘fake’ copies of Iranian carpets, says this young carpet trader.

Representing Iran’s heritage and civilization for thousands of years, the Persian carpet has for the past two decades disappeared from many floors and walls. Producers hope that this exhibition would act as a wake up call for Iranian authorities to take action and dust off all the challenges from the Persian carpet.


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