Antique Persian rugs were first introduced in the second half of the 19th Century. Prior to this period, the primary purpose of fine carpets were to beautify the palaces and castles of royal families and aristocrats. Europeans became familiar with the art of rug making through the importation of hand-knotted rugs, in particular those that came from Persia. During the rise of Persia's Safavid Dynasty, rug designers were commissioned to create new and very intricate designs for Safavid rulers. Rug designers began using new curvilinear motifs, which inspired the creation of the many magnificent masterpieces for which the dynasty is known. In a sense, this period marks the most thriving time in the history of Persian rugs. These designs were produced and reproduced for the next three centuries until another great era began that completely altered the art of rug-making.
In the later part of the 19th Century some European companies took further interest in the Persian and Turkish rugs. They sought to adapt this beautiful art form to the European market and production of these carpets increased. One of these companies was Ziegler & Co., a multinational company that was involved in exporting chemicals and other commodities into Persia. Ziegler & Co., like many other companies, set up looms in central Persia, drew new designs from old ones, and altered the color palettes. As a result, most decorative Persian rugs have more relaxed designs and color palettes.
This point in time is thought of as the beginning of Decorative rug-making, and it specifically influenced Persian rugs, Turkish rugs, and Indian rugs. Areas in Persia, such as Heris, in the northwestern region of Azerbaijan, produced Bakshaiesh, Heriz-Serapi, and Serapi carpets. These three types of carpets were all produced in villages within 50 km of Heriz, such as Mehraban, or in Heriz itself. Also Sultanabad, the capital city, produced Decorative Persian rugs such as Antique Ziegler, Antique Mahal, and Antique Sultanabad. Production in the city of Kashan included Antique Mohtasham Kashan, and the village of Ravar near the city of Kerman produced Raver Kerman, also known as Antique Lavar Kerman. Other types of carpets produced in Iran include: Bidjar, Gabbeh, Isfahan, Tabriz (another city in northwest Azerbaijan), Kashqayi, Malayer and Khorasan, and Sarouk-Ferahan. Because Oushak was already an established center for rug-making was located in closer proximity to Europe, Decorative Oushak rugs also became extremely popular.