Brocade Weaving

Valuable and beautiful fabrics in the Iranian textile industry with warp and weft of silk and braid yarn is called brocada weaving. In weaving such fabrics, silk thread with a cover of gold and silver is used which has a special brilliance. That is why it is called brocade. This type of weaving has been one of the samples of brocade weaving since the Sassanid Period, beginning of weaving with free and non-geometric designs. After Islam and particularly in the Seljuk era, the Islamic designs mingled with the Sassanid ones and utilization of Kufic calligraphy at the margin of brocaded fabrics became prevailed. During the Safavid Period, the golden period of the art of weaving, brocaded fabrics with various designs and colors reached the highest level of brilliance and very beautiful images of animals, birds, plants, flower and bird and arabesque designs were woven on brocaded fabrics and the woven fabrics were also decorated with different calligraphic styles of Naskh and Nastaliq. These kinds of fabrics were not produced for public use and were usually used for garments of the aristocrats and because of their value and beauty were sent to the nobles of the other countries as presents and robes on behalf of the Safavid kings.

Brocaded fabrics are woven on a wooden apparatus called the design-layout machinery. The design-layout machinery or brocade apparatus, despite the other textile-industry machineries which have been made for designs with geometric forms, creates free designs that is why it is called design-layout machinery. In fact, this is a multi-entrance apparatus which is used to weave free designs and non-geometrical shapes. TWO people usually work with each machine, the master weaving brocaded fabrics and his apprentice who is called “Gushvarekesh”. His work is to pull up and down the pre-arranged boards on which the designs had been drawn previously and are installed on top of the apparatus by which the design is guided toward the weaver. In most cases the background of brocaded fabric is of one or two colors silk-thread, and weft includes braid yarn with other five or six colors. Because of the utilization of silk in the warp and weft of this kind of woven fabrics, they not only do not lose their brilliance but also become more brilliant and softer after being washed.