History of Nain Rugs

Close to the western edge of the great desert Dasht-e-Kavir, 200 kilometres east of Isfahan is the picturesque city of Nain. In the city one can see the characteristic clay buildings and one of the oldest mosques in Iran with remains from the 10th century.
Carpets from the city have a high reputation and are very popular. Material as well as the workmanship is of highest class and the knot density is high; often more than one million knots per square meter. The material in the more exclusive carpets consists of wool on a silk warp or silk in the warp as well as in the weft and pile.
Patterns with a medallion in the middle together with arabesques and floral motifs are common. The similarity to carpets from the nearby city of Isfahan is remarkable. One of the rarer type of Nain carpets on the market is the “Nain Tuteshk” and with an incredibly refined craftsmanship, they are much sought after. It sometimes occurs that carpets of slightly lower quality, with similar patterns and colours, are sold as Nain carpets.
In connection with Nain carpets some denominations occur; 4La, 6La and 9La, where “La” in farsimeans layer. This denomination is used to decide the quality of a Nain carpet and it refers to the number of layer of threads that have been used in every warp-thread at the manufacturing of the carpet. The lower the number the finer and higher density the knots the carpet has. It is possible to check how many layers have been used in a carpet by counting the number of threads in one of the fringes of the carpet – if you can see 3 pairs of thread (see pictures below) then it is a Nain 6La carpet. 

An example of 9La,
400 000 – 500 000 knots per square metre.

3 pair of threads are visible = 6La, 850 000 – 1 000 000 knots per square metre.

…and here 2 pair of threads are showing = 4La, 1 000 000 – 1 300 000 knots per square metre.

In other words: the lower La-number the finer and more expensive carpets, see the following enumeration.
4La = exclusive quality – 6La = extra fine quality – 9La = good quality
It is very hard to find Nain 4La carpets today