Designing the Graph

Bunyaad rug designs are crafted both by skilled artisans as well as jointly with master designers. Most designs are inspired by things found in nature, in architecture, and from each artisan’s ethnic heritage.

To create the more intricate floral Persian designs, a master designer first sketches a design onto graph paper with pencil taking anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks to complete. This artist apprentices for many years before becoming a master designer. Once graphed, the artist then decides on color, carefully painting the design with watercolors, first the large expanses and then the finer details.

rug design sketch
The master designer uses watercolors to paint the rug graph.

Reading the Graph

Below the border of each rug design graph you will see each color in the rug represented. Above each color is the symbol that will be used on the talam to refer to it. Each square on the graph paper represents one knot.

Writing the Graph into Talam

The designs are then written into a special “rug language” called talam. Talam basically reads like a large counted cross-stitch pattern. The talam works like this: Each color has a symbol and the color’s symbol is used with the amount of knots of that color written above it. The talam is then either read by the knotter or one knotter will call the instructions to others on the loom. The talam is written in sheets, each sheet denoting a certain progression of the rug.