Handmade Oriental Rugs - Shopping Tips II



In the description below, the term 'colour tone' has been used rather than just colour. In this way, different shades (grass green or pistachio green, for example) and different tones (light or dark) count as different colour tones. White, grey, beige and black also count as colour tones.

To evaluate this factor, select the description from talbe 4 that best fits the rug and record the appropriate value points. You may have to judge between two descriptions to obtain the proper number.

Colour Description
Value Points
1. Nine or more distinct colour tones, blended so that no single colour jumps out. Rug should use colour in combination that seem unlikely to work, yet do some amazingly well. Colour may have 'jewel' effect, conveying a subtle overall glow or have the quality of colour used in impressionist paintings.
2. Seven or more colour tones in perfect harmony but lacking breathtakingly beautiful effect necessary for grade 10. Enough subtlety in the combined use of various colours so that there is this feeling that you would never tire of it.
3. Five or more colours that blend well so that no single colour stands out. Rugs may have darkly rich effect, be a pretty pastle or be a rainbow of colours, so long as none of the colours are muddled, washed out or crude. Most modern silk-washed, mulit-coloured carpets would fit the score.
4. Four or more well-blanded colours, such as are found in rugs from Turkoman region. Most commercial Kirmans would fall in this category as would Handmade and Anatolians.
5. Five or more colour tones that are prettily blended- except for the addition of crude or 'electric' colours which appear to stand out. Or two beautifully rich colours such as you might find in a deep ruby coloured Afghan with its design in midnight blue.
6. There are more harsh, dreary or muddy colour tones. Bleached colours that are faded and patchy. Serious colours run - or a rug which would otherwise fit the 6- points description except that the colours inro one another.
7. A rug with any number of crude or electric colours that clash unpleasantly. Any rug woven in only one solid colour, no matter how beautiful the colour is.



To determine the number of value points for the age of any rug, interpolate using the table below.

Age Value Points
100 years and older 10
70 years and older 8
40 years and older 6
20 years and older 4
10 years and older 2
Below 10 years 0



To evaluate the factor, select the description that best fits the condition of the rug and record the point value. You may have to judge between description to obtain the correct value.

Condition Description
Value Points
1. In perfect condition. No holes, worn spots, patches or traceable repairs of any kind. Pile length should be 'as new'. Fringes and borders are all present and correct and the rug is clean. This description fits most new rugs.
2. Fringes are loose but not missing and need 'stopping'. Everything else is in perfect order.
3. Excellent except for a repair or two, professionally rewoven, invisible from front and almost invisible from the back. Or else, the pile has been worn down so that it is short (3.1 mm high) but has been evenly worn so that the surface of the rug is uniform.
4. Apparently excellent condition except that the rug is very dirty. No stains have penetrated through to the back of the rug. Until the dirt is removed, you can never be sure of what will be found underneath. (The rug is unlikely to graduate to a 10 point rating as it has been allowed to get so dirty. It might turn out to deserve an 8 or drop to a 2). When in doubt drop it down a point.
5. Good condition other than that you can tell from the symmetry of the pattern that some of the borders have been removed or that the rug underwent major repair, not obvious from the front but immediately visible at the back.
6. Pile is less than (31 mm) but some wool remains. Wear is more or less even over full surface and design is clear. Rug should be free of serious stains.
7. Moderately stained rug, otherwise is excellent condition. Or pile is completely worn away but knots themselves remain, so the design is clear. (It should still look well on a wall).
8. Three or four serious cuts several inches long, provided the edges of the cuts still have knots attached so they can be sewn. Or the fringe has unravelled so that part of the rug it self unravelled and was lost. This rating is for rugs that have lost 3 inches (8 cm) or more, not just a few rows. Or else a permanently noticeably stained rug!
9. The majority of the pattern has worn away. A rug that is brittle and is cracking. A rug has most of it missing.


Note: A score of 0 for condition nullifies all other factor values points. One exception is a large rug that can be cut down to exclude the damaged areas and still it maintains its beauty.

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Courtesy: Nazneen Zafar, A Practical Guide to Pakistani Rugs, Liberty Books, Karachi, 1992

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