Among the most striking decorative enhancements, Oriental rugs have
always provided elegant ways of softening cold and unyielding floor
surfaces, making them warm and luxurious additions to any room.
Construction of Oriental Rugs
loom on which the weaving and knotting are done is basically a wooden
frame across which yarn can be stretched from beam to beam. The
threads of yarn that are stretched from the upper beam to the lower
beam (vertically) are called warp threads, while the horizontal
threads that are woven in and out across the warp from side to side
are called weft.
There are two types of looms: the flat or horizontal loom, and the
upright or vertical loom. With the flat loom, which was used by
nomadic tribes for it's portability, the loom sits flat on the ground
in front of the weaver. The warp threads are fastened to upper and
lower beams, which are held in place by stakes driven into the ground.
With the vertical loom, the weaver sits facing the loom which is
standing upright built of a rigid framework. In either case balls
of colored yarn are at the ready to be woven into the rug. To do
this, the weaver takes a strand of wool from a ball of the desired
color, and ties it across a pair of warp threads. The ends of the
knots are then trimmed with a small knife. After each row of knots
has been completed, one or more weft threads are woven in and out
of the warp threads. A heavy metal comb is used to hammer the weft
thread down hard on the knots so they are packed tightly. As this
process is repeated across the width of the carpet, the pattern
of the rug emerges. The weaver repeats this process hundreds upon
hundreds of times to complete a rug.
A final trimming is given the pile after the entire rug has been
completed. The sides of the rug are secured by taking the last few
warp threads and wrapping them tightly with an extra overcasting
of the woollen yarn, while the ends of the rug are finished by knotting
together pairs of warp thread so that they create the fringe at
each end of the rug.
Materials used in Oriental Rugs
The three most important materials in the weaving
of Oriental rugs are cotton, silk, and wool. Occasionally flax,
goat, and camel hair are utilized. Synthetic materials are used
in some of the machine made rugs today.
The warp and weft threads of most rugs woven in China, India, and
Pakistan are cotton. Knots can be tied tighter to a cotton warp,
resulting in a more closely woven rug. Rugs made with a cotton warp
and weft are heavier than those made with wool, therefore they lie
flatter on the floor and will not walk or move as much. Silk rugs
are woven in Cashmere and China.
The silk pile may be woven on either a cotton or a silk foundation.
The most finely knotted carpets are usually woven with silk warp
Wool varies from region to region. Many factors affect the texture,
color, quality, and durability of wool. The breads of sheep, the
climate, and the time of year in which the wool is shorn are the
main factors. Sheep raised in the mountains, for example, have heavier
and thicker wool than sheep raised in the desert.
Knots used in Oriental Rugs
There are two types of knots, the Turkish (Ghiordes),
and the Persian (Senna) knot. Turkish knots are tied around two
warp threads in such a way that the two ends of the knot come out
between the warps. The Persian knot is wound in and out around two
warp threads so that a single end alternates with a single warp
all the way along the row. The Turkish knot is slightly more secure,
while the Persian knot is somewhat better adapted for fine knotting,
creating a close pile. The Jufti, or false, knot is simply a Turkish
or Persian knot tied to four warps of thread instead of two. By
using this knot, a carpet may be woven with half the number of knots,
in half the time. Therefore pile density is halved and the result
is a rug with less resistance to wear.
A skilled workman can tie about ten thousand knots in a day. A carpet
of 11x25 feet woven with 800 knots per inch would have approximately
31.6 million knots in it. Four skilled weavers would take about
2 years to tie that many knots. Beating down and adjusting the loom
and the end stops would add about another year to complete this
The finer and denser the knotting, the better the quality of the
carpet. The ideal luxury carpet should be one that has a high knot
count and is clipped very short.
Dyes used in Oriental rugs
Before the weaving and knotting can begin, the yarn
has to be prepared in various ways. It must be spun, washed, and
dyed. THe art of dyeing is very important. There are three types
of dyes that have been used in the dyeing of Oriental rugs. These
are: natural vegetable and animal dyes, aniline dye, and chrome
Natural dyes are derived from a number of different sources. Some
examples of which are:
| Madder red:
|| root of madder
| Cochineal red:
|| cochineal insect
|| weld, vine
leaves, pomegranate peel
|| walnut shells,
|| henna leaves
|| indigo plant
of weld and indigo
The finer the knotting, the more colors are needed to achieve a
well graded design free from monotony.
Designs of Oriental Rugs
Designs fall into two different categories: curvilinear and rectilinear.
Curvilinear designs have floral motifs and patterns, with curved
outlines while rectilinear designs have geometric or angular motifs
The Medallion rug has a field dominated by either a single central
medallion or by several medallions. The field surrounding the medallion
may be open, filled or semi-filled.
The Garden or Hunting pattern represents a nature scene; combinations
of trees, flowers, animals, birds, and human figures fill the field.
A design with branches of flowers, leaves, or pomegranate fruits
to fill the field is called a tree or vase design.
A series of borders or frames surrounds and sets off the interior
of the rug. The number of borders vary, usually from 3 to 7, with
some Chinese rugs having no border at all.
Some Popular Designs
Tabriz: These rugs have very short
pile, which makes the drawing stand out with great clarity. Warp
and weft are cotton, and the favorite motif is the medallion.
Kashan: The pile in these rugs is
short, the field is either designed around a large medallion or
is an all-over design with the border consisting of delicate scrolling
Kerman: Kerman rugs originated in
the southern Persian city of that name. This rug-making region has
been considered as the primary source of the world's most beautiful
and inventive rug designs. Kermans are worked in harmonious colors,
with naturalistic flowers and chiefly roses.Warp and weft in these
rugs are cotton. Kermans are worked in harmonious colors, with naturalistic
flowers, chiefly roses.
Esfahan: Esfahan is located in western
central Iran. Esfahan rugs have been and still remain very famous
worldwide. The Turkish knot is used in these rugs and the warp and
weft are cotton.
Heriz: Patterns in these rugs are
of the floral type but translated into near geometric pattern by
the exclusive use of straight lines. It could be an all-over design
or have a medallion. It most commonly has a rich red ground.
Farahan: The pile is short and firm.
Persian knots ar used in these rugs and the warp and weft are cotton.
All-over designs are used and the border consists of large scrolling
Soruk: These rugs come in either all-over
design or in a medallion design. A classic scrolling design forms
the border of these rugs.
Hamadan: The weft and warp may be
cotton, wool, or camel hair. The field is usually narrow and contains
one or several pole medallions. The medallions are filled with an
angular floral design, or the entire field may be covered with an
all-over pattern of angular rosettes.
Bijar: Medallion and corner pieces
are filled with floral motifs and the rest of the field can either
be bare or filled with more floral.
Mir: The field is an all-over design
filled with a small diamond shape pattern.
Baluchi:large octagons, hooked lozenges
both large and small.
Bokhara: Bokhara rugs was first woven
by Persian nomads and was named for the city that served as their
central point of trade.
Bokhara is one of the numerous designs woven in Pakistan too and
is the most popular and widely known design. The field is filled
with lozenges, octagons, or similar forms which is repeated throughout
the central field and is symbolizes the footprint of an elephant.
Bokharas are less formal than other Persian designs, and can be
used in dens, and family rooms as well as living and dining areas.
Chinese Rugs: The Chinese are masters
at the art of using color, even tho the total number of colors in
a given rug may be quite limited. Their use of graduated shades
of the same color is unique among weaving centers. As many as ten
different shades of the same color may be found in a single rug.
The designs of Chinese rugs are not nearly as elaborate as those
of other regions. Their designs are crisp and well defined with
the patterns well proportioned.
Klims: Klims are made in many parts
of Turkey and Iran. Since they have no knots, Klims are relatively
inexpensive. A Kilm is reversible, comparatively fine and rather
Buying an Oriental Rug
The purchase of an oriental rug should be done after considerable
research and comparrative shopping. These rugs will last a lifetime
and their purchase should be an informed choice on your part. Talk
to owners, retailers, and e-mail us!
home | about rugs | hand-knotted
| hand-tufted | machine-made
| rugs pad | cleaning
& care | restoration | designer
discount | specials | contact