Kashan carpets are one of the most important of the refined urban antique carpets that are the direct legacy of the Golden Age of Persian Weaving of the reign of the famous patron of the arts, Shah Abbas, in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Many of the archetypal Persian carpet designs originated here. The source of one notable garden motif, the “Royal Garden” of Kashan, still has flowing spring water and has been well preserved since the 16th century. This royal garden was built by the above-mentioned Shah Abbas, the principal monarch of the Safavid Dynasty. The basic inspiration and model for most city carpets is the Garden of Paradise. The vast majority of the prized antique and vintage Kashan rugs available today usually stem from the second half of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. During this time period, the best antique Kashan rugs were commissioned for individual homes, while others were produced for either the domestic or foreign markets. The best Kashan carpets have always used a superior quality of wool. Older antique carpets feature the preferred vegetable dyes, while virtually all Kashan rugs from the 1930’s on incorporate the modern chrome dyes. Kashan rugs are high-quality, many incorporating silk into their designs. The foundation tends to be cotton however some of the finest examples may be pure silk. The wool should be soft and the pile tightly knotted. The knot count (KPSI) can range from 100 to over 800 per square inch for the most majestic examples. The majority of Kashan's have a similar design with a central medallion and Persian floral motifs forming the pattern, however as with most regions designs may vary.