Velvet is a kind of cotton or silk fabric that one side of which is flat and the other side has fine and delicate dense nap. In fact, velvet is a traditional hand-woven fabric. In its texture one kind of woof yarn and two kinds of warp are used: one as the weft and the other as the nap warp, which because of delicacy of design and elegance of weaving, it is reckoned as the climax of textile art.
The historical precedence of velvet weaving in Iran is not precisely specified. According to the available evidence, weaving all kinds of silk fabrics has been prevailed in different regions of Iran since the Achaemenid Dynasty. Weaving silk fabrics has continued in the Islamic period. It is said that the beginning of velvet weaving can be attributed to the primary centuries of Islamic period.
It seems that the Iranian weavers in an attempt to mechanize the nap weaving apparatus firstly amended the apparatus for weaving wheel cloths and then invented the cutting machine which is called worsted fabric cutter in European industries. The Iranian velvet made in the 12th century shows that the cloth is multicolor and much work has been done on it which indicates that this industry has been very advanced in those years. The art of velvet weaving flourished in Kashan more than ever in the reign of Safavid and Kashan weavers in the course of making covers for the holy Quran, made eye-catching advances in velvet weaving. Very valuable velvets were produced in this field, which many of them were sent to Europe as presents by the Safavid Kings.
Velvet has various kinds such as wavy velvet, flowered velvet, and the most beautiful of them the embossed velvet. This type of velvet has a simple background and only decorative designs are made on its warp. Velvet is used for sewing garments of the nobles, also for curtains, cover of furniture, etc. Of the features of good velvet is the strength of its naps.
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