Oriental Rug - What Are They?
"Oriental rug" by definition is a reference to rugs that are hand woven in “Orient”, or "The East". Oriental rugs could be weaved with or without pile. They are created in countries in Asia and nearby regions, namely Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, and Turkey. "Orient" is a term used in contrast to "Occident" which is referred to the West. The phrase "Oriental Rug" has been used for hundreds of years for hand knotted rugs. When mentioning the term "oriental rug" most western customers would picture a typical image of rugs that was weaved in China for a very limited time which was later discontinued. However the fact is that originally the Oriental rugs were used for hand knotted Persian rugs. Later this phrase was extended to all rugs that were hand weaved in Asia, which normally have a tradition of rug weaving that initially was born in Persia and gradually moved to neighboring countries.
The Difference Between Oriental and Persian Rugs
Often the terms Persian Rug and Oriental Rug are used interchangeably. It is important to make this clarification that, although every Persian rug is oriental, but not every Oriental rug is Persian because it could be weaved in other countries such Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Turkey.
Weave of Oriental Rugs and KPSI
Oriental rugs in terms of the general categorization of the weave can be divided into flat waves and pile weaves. Pile weave Oriental rugs are known for their soft feel and warmth. The pile weave rug itself has many varieties and diverse qualities. There is a measuring system for the quality of the weave of the rug which is based on the tightness of the knots in a rug as well of the size of the knots. These two factors together define the density of the knots in a rug which is called KPSI. KPSI is an abbreviation for the Knots Per Square Inch, which is essentially how fine the yarn is and how close the knots are from one another. For example, the smaller and tighter the knots are mean more knots per square inch. Denser knots in a rug typically translates into the finer quality. However the number of the knots are not the only factor in the quality of the rugs, but one has to condier other factors such as the workmanship and quality of the material involved in weaving a fine rug.
Not mean that all the oriental rugs are pile weave and knot all of them are knotted rugs. Some oriental rugs are, Indeed, flat weave. The flat weave rugs are much thinner than the pile rugs and depending on the region and the type of weave they could have different names. Most popular flat weave rugs are called Kelim which are made on a loom with a base similar to the pile woven rugs. There are some other kinds of flat woven rugs that are called jajim which is made on loom and it is not a knotted rugs. Among the flat woven oriental rugs there is also, flat woven Aubusson rugs that can be flooring or wall hanging rugs.
Oriental Design VS Oriental Weave
One of the issues that can easily confuse potential rug customers is the confusion between the design and the weave of the rugs. Some venders might knowingly want to confuse the customers and sell a lower quality rugs making them believe that they are buying a fine quality one. This is often done by using the type of design as name for the rug that normally the consumer considers original. For example they one might advertize a Tabriz Mahi rug not telling the purchaser that the rugs made in India has a much lower quality than the original Tabriz Persian rug. The only thing that and Indian Tabriz shares with the original Tabriz Persian is design patterns of the rug, and most experts will notice such differences. Only a general look of rugs is similar to that of the original Tabriz and the KPSI is less than half of the original one. It is important to have in mind that even in comparison between the two original rugs if the KPSI is half of the other rug, the price falls drastically. So don’t be fooled with the design name and always ask for the origin of the rug.
Oriental rugs are weaved in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, China, Kazakhstan, as well as some other countries in the vicinity of the region.
Sizes, Shapes and Colors
Oriental area rugs come in all sizes and shapes. A hand knotted oriental rug can be as small as one square foot, while the largest known hand knotted rug is a Persian rug that is 5,634 square meter which is about 60,643 square feet. This rug was made for a mosque in Abu Dhabi, Dubai. As for the shape of the oriental rugs, the most common shapes are rectangular, square, round, oval, octagon and hexagon shapes. However hand knotted oriental rugs could be theoretically made in any shape and form. Normally a wide range of variety of colors is used in oriental rugs. The vibrant and divers range of colors is part of the identity of oriental rugs. Throughout the time, certain combination of colors become more fashionable and this can change in by time. Therefore one of the ways to identify the age of rugs for the experts is the use of certain variations of colors in antique rugs.
The main materials that are used to weave oriental rugs are wool, silk and cotton. Most of weavers are taught to weave Oriental rugs through their family members, therefore the type of knots or number of wefts are strongly influenced by cultural heritage and region of oriental rugs. When purchasing an oriental rug, few factors could help you decide better these factors include: colors and their combinations and the quality of the wool. Natural colors and hand spun wools are better quality compared to other combinations. Normally, the base of the rugs is cotton and the pile or the outer side of rugs is made of wool. In case of the silk rugs, the pile is either pure silk or a mix of silk and cork which is a finer quality of virgin wool. In rare cases in high quality rugs both the base and pile could be pure natural silk. A good example of pure silk rugs is the state of the art "Qum" silk rugs.
Exception to the Rule
Not all the rugs that are hand knotted and weaved in Asia are considered to be oriental rugs. To call a rug "oriental" it must be of the traditional design and hand knotted in Asia. Therefore Modern design rugs even if they are made in Tabriz Iran are not considered to be oriental rugs. A good example of a Persian hand knotted rugs that do not fall into category of Oriental rugs is the famous Gabbeh with modern motive. Another example is fine modern Nepal Rugs, which too are not considered oriental rugs.
Orientals Rug Market in North America
Since 18th century Americans and Canadian became familiar with oriental rugs, particularly Persian rugs. Thanks to Rugman.com, any hand knotted Oriental rug lover can purchase some of the finest rugs at affordable price directly from rugman.com. We are the world’s largest online retailers specialized in hand knotted oriental rugs. We offer the best prices for oriental rugs and we challenge any retailer to compete with our prices for the quality and service we offer to our clients in Canada, United states and worldwide. This is because Rugman.com is committed to bring oriental rugs directly from loom to your room eliminating all the middle man and transferring the savings. Rugman.com has numerous warehouses in some of the largest cities such as NY, New York, Los Angeles California, and Toronto Canada where you can buy oriental rugs directly for the most compatible prices.