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What is a Fine Oriental Rug?

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Hand woven saddle bags

An Oriental rug is a luxurious object of art for the floor. They are available in many wonderful colors, meaningful designs, and soft textures of silk and wool. They are often used in churches on the steps of the altar. Muslims use prayer rugs for worship. Nomads decorated their tents with rugs, and used saddlebags (image at left) to carry their belongings. Oriental rugs are hand knotted of wool, silk, or cotton on a loom with a warp, and have weft-finished sides with fringed ends.

Two types of looms are used: 1) the flat loom is used by Nomads and can be transported by camel or donkey, their size is generally small; 2) the upright and adjustable loom is used in work shops where longer lengths can be woven.


Materials used are cotton, wool, and silk, which are sheared and spun for their intended use, then washed and dyed. Villagers tend to produce more consistent color than Nomads. The variation in color is called abrash. It is possible for a weaver to tie as many as 10,000 knots per day.

The two types of knots are: 1) Turkish or Ghiordes and 2) Persian or Senneh. A knot is placed on the warp across the loom in rows, which form the design, color, and nap. At that point the weft is woven in over and under the warp to secure the foundation.

Major weaving groups include IRAN, most important and largest, TURKOMAN, mostly reds, includes Afghanistan, CAUCASIAN Russian, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, TURKISH, Geometric and floral, and INDIA Including China and Pakistan.

The Ardabil carpet woven by Maksuod of Kashan is approximately 34' x 17' and has approximately 33,000,000 hand tied knots. It was made in 1530 in Persia and after being restored is now on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. "Must Be Seen" to be fully appreciated.

Please e-mail us at robertz@fineorientalrugs.com or call us at (248) 852-7060
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