If there is one thing Iran is known for around the world, it is undoubtedly its carpets. Persian carpets (many of which are actually made by non-Persian peoples in Iran) represent one of the most distinguished and distinctive manifestations of Iranian culture and art. Hand-woven Persian carpets are among the most treasured possessions of homes, offices, palaces, and museums throughout the world. Because of their high market value, these carpets have also been treated as an investments—ones that can actually be enhanced by time and use. To indicate the increasing value of an object with time, Iranians often use the expression, “It is like a Persian carpet: the more it is walked on, the more it gains value.” Many motifs, patterns, and traditional colorations found in rugs that are produced in many countries today have either originated in or been influenced by motifs and patterns used in Persian carpets. In general, Persian carpet designs have been inspired by nature, history, religion, and myths. They may use flowers, trees, natural scenery, historical and mythological characters, Persian poetry and calligraphy, and religious symbols and stories. For Iranians, a carpet with images of Persian kings, legendary or historical, as well as representations of verses from Shâh-nâmeh or other books represents an object of identity demonstrating their glorious past. Carpets are not just an item for export or a piece of art, but an intrinsic part of the culture. Carpets are used as fl oor coverings, prayer mats, and decorations for homes, offices, palaces, and shrines. They have become an indispensable part of the living environment for Iranians.