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Often referred to as the Aristocrat of Rugs, oriental rugs are hand knotted rugs that have been knitted tightly together and are manufactured only in Asia; Pakistan, Iran, China, India, Nepal, Russia and Turkey being the largest global exporters of these oriental rugs. Persian rugs are also the finest and antique oriental rugs that are manufactured in Iran. The fine quality of these Persian rugs comes from a very thick pile, and high knot density that may reach up-to 200 knots per square inch (KPSI). These carpets use Persian knots incorporating a wide variety of color combinations. Rugs are mostly named after the areas they first originate from; like Sultanabad rugs, Shiraz rugs, Kashan rugs etc. If you are lucky enough you may find a discounted oriental rug of your choice, buying a good rug is on the very brim of rocket science - there is so much that needs to be considered, from colors, texture to the price of these exquisite rugs.
History of Oriental Rugs
The first known Oriental rug is the “Pazyryk Rug” that was discovered in 1949 by a Russian archaeological team in the Altai Mountains of southern regions of Siberia. This rug was of a very fine quality, beautifully knotted and was assumed to be made in the 4th or 5th century B.C. Today, this rug is preserved in a Russian museum. The art of knotting of these rugs started in Central Asia by the nomadic people. They knotted small rugs that were designed and decorated with geometrical themes inspired from animals and plants. They used these rugs as wall hangings, floor coverings, curtains and also as animal rugs. You will find some of these lovely oriental rugs for sale available online.
Some of the greatest rug centers were developed in the regions of Persia and Turkey. The period from the 16th to 19th century is known to be the golden period of Rug Knitting in Persia. This was when the king of Persia visited Turkish regions; the art of carpet knitting also started to establish in various regions of Turkey like Anatolia. This revolutionary growth however limited itself to the East and hence the name Oriental Rugs!
These Oriental rugs became famous in Europe primarily due to the Italian traders. At the start of 16th century, these oriental rugs could be found in the courts and holy places of Europe. Western countries took interest in these Oriental rugs quite passionately during the 17th and 18th century. Especially after the great exhibition of Vienna, the Europeans had an increased eagerness to own a rug; this was when the export of these rugs flourished as a happening trade. The Oriental rug exporters were contacted by buyers who started the never ending hubbub of ordering favorite designs and customizing rug styles.
Famous Types of Oriental Rugs
Antique Oriental rugs have hundreds of types and innumerable designs making it very difficult to pick from the variety that has been offered in the market out there. The following are the most popular types of Oriental rugs:
Sultanabad rugs are amongst the most sought-after rugs that were produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. A British firm Ziegler & Co. established a rug making industry in Sultanabad, whose main task was to export rugs to the Western countries. These rugs are very finely knotted, thick piled and made with the finest quality of wool. Designers often use a sample of this rug to demonstrate the quality of Oriental rugs.
Bijdar rugs are also known as Iron rugs of Iran due to their heavy and extremely durable nature. These rugs are some of the most sought after rugs in the United States. This unique rug uses two wefts, which makes it very heavy. They are thick piled with high knot density. They should never be folded for transportation since the solid foundations might crack; rolling them is a wise alternative while transporting. Mina Khani and Herati are the most popular patterns in this category of oriental rugs. Their unique features make them one of the finest and the most luxurious rugs available in the market.
Tabriz rugs are named after the city of Tabriz, located in the north-west region of Iran. This region has been one of the largest rug making centers for hundreds of years. Tabriz rugs have a countless variety of designs; in fact there is so much variety in these rugs, it takes some research to comprehend! The reasons being their intense exposure to almost all the parts of the world, these rugs are one of the hot selling products in the category of Oriental rugs. Their foundation is made of cotton, piled with thick wool and the knot density is higher than 150; on an average reaches up to 850 knots per square inch (KPSI). Tabriz rug is a high standard rug and due to its immense popularity this rug is available in almost all sizes, shapes and delightful designs.
Agra rugs can be considered to be one of the most popular Indian rugs. An Agra Rug, with its heavy weight and durability can last you a life time, if it is handled with care. These rugs are a combination of Turkish, Persian and Mughal designs. Their foundation is cotton, pile is longer and the knot density is higher which makes these rugs top the list of most popular items under the category of Oriental rugs.
Amritsar rugs have been named after the Amritsar city located in north-western region of India. They are similar to Agra rugs with slight modifications. The main manufacturers of these rugs were British and Americans; their designs reflect an interesting combination of Mughals, Persians and Turkish patterns. These rugs are heavy and their foundation is mostly made up of cotton - they come with a thick pile and higher knot densities which makes them extremely durable and equally robust.
Kashan rugs are amongst the most beautiful and highly demanded Oriental rugs. Kashan is in the central region of Iran and happens to be one of the oldest cities in Iran. These rugs are being made in this region from the 16th century and the Iranians have mastered the art of knitting these phenomenal Kashan rugs. Their unmatched beauty lies in their intricate designs, which gives them a very classy look; when these rugs are set at homes, they add atmosphere to the space of these homes. These are some of the finest of rugs with a foundation mostly made up of cotton, however a few extraordinary pieces may use silk as a foundation. These traditional thick piled rugs have a high knot density ranging from 200 to 800 knots per square inch (KPSI). The most popular colors in kashan rugs are green, red, and ivory. Blue can be found in the contemporary designs of these rugs.
Designs of Oriental Rugs
There are countless numbers of designs which can be found in oriental rugs. These designs are a legacy that has been passed from centuries old generations. To some extent rug-making areas can be divided into 2 main types of designs, floral and geometric. Asian countries like Pakistan, India, and Iran mostly use floral designs in their rugs. While the Turkmen and Caucasian mostly use geometric designs on their rugs; in some regions of Turkey, both geometric and floral designs are used in the designing of rugs. Chinese rugs can easily be identified by their popular patterns like monsters, dragons, bird’s etc; these floral, geometric and monster designs have special meanings in Chinese mythology - the palm and coconut are symbols for blessings and self-actualization. Monsters and dragons are symbols of warriors.
The most commonly used materials in the manufacturing of these Antique Oriental rugs are different types of sheep wool, cotton, pure silk, camel’s hair and goat’s hair. The finest quality of wool comes from the areas of Kurdistan, Kirman and Khorasan. The wool coming from central Asia is regarded as the finest; it is known for its strength and luster. The material used for the twist and weft threads differs from region to region. In the regions of Pakistan and of Persia, cotton foundation is used most commonly in the manufacturing of these beautiful Oriental rugs. In Caucasus weavers have replaced cotton with wool for foundation. The most expensive ones no doubt are the rugs that use silk for bending and weft threads. Wool of sheep is still considered to be the best choice for the pile of Oriental rugs.
Oriental antique rugs bring a whole lot of beauty, originality and grace to your space. Though these artifacts set a high creative and quality standard, they also are in need of a high level of care when it comes to handling. Listed below are a few simple tips to maintain your Oriental rugs:
- Although it is advised that you should only rotate your rugs one to two times a year but if you live in a crowded place you should rotate it after every month or two. Doing so will give your rug a very good uniform shape and appearance.
- Block your Oriental rugs from sunlight. Sunlight can cause your rugs to fade dramatically, place them where the exposure to sunlight is absolutely nil. Try rotating your rugs regularly; this will maintain uniformity and a consistency in the fading spots of the rug.
- Flip your rugs regularly to straighten the fringes more naturally.
- Vacuum your rugs at least once a month to remove dust particles from the rugs. Otherwise these will get infused in the rugs’ fiber and wreck the natural appeal and the classy look of your precious Oriental rugs.
- Place soft padding beneath your rugs. It will prevent wrinkling of your rug, and also aid in maintaining its shape and provides a very comfortable place for you to sit and do your work.
- For surface dust, place damped cloth or sponge on the surface of the rug and wipe it down, it will remove the dust particles from the surface and make your rug look as good as new and of course clean!
- Professional washing is highly recommended by experts. The rugs which are professionally washed after 3 to 5 years have an extended life and are more comfortable to use.
- Prevent your rugs from absorbing moisture. Hang your rugs to dry out every 6 months. It will increase the life of your beloved Oriental rug.
An Oriental rug a symbol of art is a relic of history and depicts a very high standard of both beauty and luxury. These rugs make your space classier adding a dash of artistic beauty to them. Give these rugs a try you and you are sure to be enthralled with the experience.