Ardebil: Tracing a piece of art from London to LA

London is known as one of the world capitals of trends and avant-garde, but it is also known for its preservation of the world’s heritage. If you are planning to visit London and you are passionate about Persian carpets, London has a treasure to offer you. In one of the most eclectic and interesting museums in the world, you can find the most fascinating piece of handmade Persian carpets: the Ardebil. 

If you read our blog regularly, you are probably familiar with this name. There is one particular Ardebil that is the world's oldest dated carpet and one of the largest, most beautiful and historically important in the world. 

This carpet found a perfect spot at the Victoria and Albert museum where in 2006, the V&A created a case in the centre of Room 42: The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art.

Though it is a rare piece of art, it is not entirely unique.  A second Ardebil carpet, or its remains, is kept at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Originally 2 carpets were completed during the rule of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp I in the mid-16th century, probably in Tabriz, a site of royal textile manufacturing.

Both carpets were part of the decoration of the Ardebil Mosque, but around 1840 the city suffered an earthquake and it is believed that to raise funds for the reparation of the mosque, both carpets were sold to a British carpet dealer. The smallest of them was sacrificed to restore the larger Ardebil, which was then sold to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The smallest carpet was left without edges, with the central field missing and made up from the remaining usable sections. Some of its remains passed by different hands until its donation in 1953 to the Museum of Science, History, and Art in the Exposition Park in Los Angeles. 

These 2 Ardebil carpets are so impressive and have had such a strong impact in the carpet history that numerous copies have appeared through the centuries. For example, Hitler had an Ardebil in his Berlin office and you can even find one at the 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the British government.

Even though the Ardebil is a unique example of the impressive work a handmade carpet can represent, you can find other handmade carpets which are more accessible and also impressive in their own right.  On our website there is a large selection of beautiful Ardebil carpets that in a modern décor, a classic space or a minimalistic room can make all the difference, as well as becoming a great investment. 

Interesting facts about the Ardebil carpet:

35,000,000 knots 
It took eight to ten craftsmen three years of work to complete it.

Main Picture:

The Ardebil Carpet on display in the Jameel Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Middle & bottom pictures:
Ardebil carpet at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA.

For a large selection of Ardebil carpets, visit

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