The Manchester-based Ziegler and Company was the first western firm known to have organised the production and export of oriental carpets in Persia. The company's base in 1867 was in Sultanabad, also known as Mahal and now Arak, in the central part of the country . Originally, the company was not involved in manufacturing and distributing carpets in the west but focused only on importing European textiles to Persia. However, as Oriental carpets became increasingly popular in Europe and America in the third quarter of the nineteenth century due to museum exhibitions and world's fairs, Ziegler and Co. began exporting Persian weavings to the west. By the late 1800s it developed into the leading rug exporter in the country. At first, the company only shipped available pieces made by local weavers to Europe and was not involved in the actual production of carpets. However, as demand increased, Ziegler and Co. began employing its own weavers and started producing carpets from its own designs. These patterns were drawn partially according to a European perception of oriental weavings. Ziegler and Co. set up its factory in Sultanabad not only because it was on the Tehran-Bagdad trading route but also because the site had already had an existing and booming cottage industry that employed many experienced craftsmen. In fact, by 1894 the company had expanded its operations to over a hundred nearby villages. The carpets woven in Sultanabad were mostly based on cartoons produced by both Ziegler and Co. and its western retailers. The company's designers often borrowed motifs from carpets produced in other regions with some, such as Serrabends and Fereghans, being particularly popular and much-used. As none of the carpets produced for Ziegler and Co. bear logos or inscriptions, it is difficult to determine which pieces were woven for or by the British firm and one can only make assumptions about a carpet's origin based on its design and overall look. The fact that many other workshops in Sultanabad also catered to western clients and produced carpets with designs and color palettes with a European sensibility, makes identifying genuine Ziegler pieces even harder. Ziegler carpets can have ornate floral center and corner medallions on a plain ground, as well as light-colored fields with subtly contrasting overall designs, such as the lot offered here. Interestingly, the herati and boteh patterns were never in much demand and therefore these motifs were used much less frequently. For a detailed discussion on the designs used by Ziegler and Co., please refer to Annette Ittig, "Ziegler's Carpet Cartoons," Hali, April-May, 1995, Issue 80, pp. 82-87.