The terminology and jargon used in the world of area rugs can be confusing. The more you learn about the fascinating world of rug-making, the more intricate and complex you discover it is. So to help those of you interested in the many words used to describe the various styles and attributes of area rugs throughout the world, we present to you The Ultimate Area Rug Glossary!
The word used to describe the variations in color found within a single color in an Oriental carpet. Abrash is commonly seen in tribal nomadic rugs and in reproductions of them. Mild Abrash is caused by variations in yarn diameter native to nomadic dyeing and yarn spinning. Heavy Abrash is caused by the change over to a new dye batch. Generally Abrash is desirable in tribal carpets and undesirable in urban carpets.
Named for the Afshar, it describes the presence of silk pile in an urban carpet.
A Turkic speaking nomadic group living mostly in southern Iran known for fine quality of their rugs.
A chemical bath that tones down colors to simulate aging.
Home of the 14th century tombs of Sheik Safi ad-Din and Shah Ismail. The city that shares the name of The Ardebil Carpet one of the finest and most famous objects of Islamic art. There is controversy, though, as to whether the carpet was actually made there. Modern era carpets from the region are generally of dubious quality.
Also called artificial silk it describes a yarn for weaving made from mercerized cotton that attempts to take on the appearance of silk. The fiber is very soft to the touch and is used to create a price category for smaller budgets whose tastes run toward expensive silk rugs. Rugs sold as silk as given a burn test to check for the presence of cotton.
Fine flat carpets woven in France from the 15th to 19th Centuries. They were derived from Moorish weaving with the assistance of Architects and Artists of the royal court.
A complex machine made rug woven to a flexible cotton frame that can contain up to 70 colors of wool. Its invention in 1882 in the midst of the industrial revolution practically destroyed the handknotted rug industry. It was thought that mechanized items were all going to be of superior quality, a theory later shelved.
A nomadic group of southern Persia. This tribes weaving is popular among collectors and the rugs themselves tend to be of unusually durable construction lasting as long as 200 years in heavy wear environments. The most popular design feature a square grid with a floral vase in each.
A nomadic tribe living in Afghanistan and bordering countries who produce a large volume of commercial weaving. Their rugs are generally brown, black, and gold.
The rug design named for the Bidjar region of Iranian Azerbaijan. Originally the design was Kurdish featuring hundreds of trees and was really responsible for earning the region its fine reputation. Commercial Bidjar are factory woven and feature a distinctive diamond shape medallion. Commercial Bidjar are thought to be the most durable carpets in history as most will last 300 years. This has earned the Bidjar the colorful moniker The Iron Rug of Persia . Both types of Bidjar are still made in limited quantities.
The capitol of Usbekistan and the traditional trading center for Turkmen tribal carpets. Today, rugs called Bukhara are generally commercial copies knotted in Pakistan and India. Actual Turkmen carpets are called by their tribal names to ease confusion with their popular reproductions. Commercial Bukhara carpets are available in about twenty quality gradations, though surface appearance may be similar. Commercial Bukhara carpets are the best selling hand-knotted rugs in the world.
A small tuft of fibers from a rug may be burned to test for its content. For example cotton has a vegetable smell when burned. Wool smells faintly like hair. Silk smells distinctly like human hair when burned.
A technique used for the duplicate manufacture of the finest urban rugs. The colors of the pre-dyed yarn are chanted rhythmically to assure that rugs are more perfect than rugs made with other techniques. Most fine carpets from Tabriz and Isfahan are made this way.
The often derided name for Caucasian type rugs made in Chechnia and Dagistan.
The fine whiskers from the chin of sheep that are sometimes set aside a special ceremonial carpet. Chin wool carpets are considered finer than silk ones but are very rare. Turkmen tribes most notably use this fiber for their finest carpets.
A low grade kilim from India. They are generally a product of the Indian prison system. It is also a term used to insult the quality of Kilim from other places.
A large mostly settled tribe of northwest Afghanistan who make both urban and tribal rugs. They are renowned for the quality of their nomadic saddles and tent gear.
A catchall term that describes any rug without pile including Soumaks, Kilim, Verneh, Sozani, and Dhurie. Aubuson carpets are also flat but are excluded due to their extreme complexity.
A fluffy long piled rug used by nomads as a mattress. They have only been sold commercially in the West since 1990. Gabeh usually have a simple colorful design often with a pastoral scene. The Gabehs charm has only been appreciated recently and they now are being produced commercially for export.
Persian word for flower, it describes the common ornaments found in Turkmen carpets. Guls are the design element often mistaken for elephants feet.
Turkish city famous for its factories where the most elaborate silk rugs in the world are made. Though Hereke is in Turkey they use the Persian Senneh knot in rugs made there.
A large city now located near the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. The geometric medallion rugs woven there in the early 20th century were extremely popular in Europe and the U.S.A. Commercial carpets bearing the Heriz design are woven in every rug producing county in the world. The Heriz design is the most popular Persian design in the west.
An element of the larger nomadic Qashqai tribe of southern Iran famous for the quality of their rugs.
The name for the fancy village carpets made of silk or mercerized cotton in the Islamic region of India. Kashmir are woven with a Persian knot and mimic the designs of newer urban carpets from Iran with an emphasis for Indian tastes for brilliant color. Coloration used in these rugs is unique to India.
The people of Kazakhstan and the Turkish style rugs of that region.
Any pileless carpet in which the pattern is formed by the colored weft strings being wrapped around the warp. In Farsi the word is Gileem. The word is also used to describe the pileless side of nomadic bags and saddles.
There are two basic types of knots used in oriental rugs:
Persian Senneh - A fine asymmetrical knot used in fine urban and complex tribal carpets. Observers will notice that these rugs have a light and a dark side.
Turkish Ghiordes - The symmetrical knot used in most tribal carpets it makes for a higher pile heavy wearing style of rug. Chinese carved carpets also feature this knot.
A tribal people who live in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and the Kordistan region or Iran. They produce what are commonly thought to be the finest tribal style rugs in the world. Kurdish rugs are a passion among rug collectors and connoisseurs and bring the highest prices at market.
Formerly nomadic people of south western Iran. They are renowned for the quality of their rugs and kilim.
Traditional word that means of the Eastern World or of the land found by ship when Africa has been circled , it has come to more accurately describe characteristics of Turkey, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan. The modern definition excludes characteristics of China and Indochina now classified as Asian.
A powerful Turkish dynasty that ruled most of extended Persia from 1290 to 1924. It was named for its founder Osman.
Name of a former politically confederation of southern Iranian nomadic tribes mainly: Shesh Boluki, Kashkuli Bozorg, Amaleh, Derrehshuri, Farsi Madan, and Kashkuli Kuchek. The regional trading center for these tribes is Shiraz. Most Gabeh carpets sold in the west are of Qashqai origin.
A Turkmen tribe famous for the quality of its rugs that has been virtually wiped out by military conquests. Modern era rugs from this group are rare and highly prized among collectors.
A Turkmen tribal people known for the quality of their older rugs. Newer units are of dubious construction and design.
The name given to French piled carpets made until 1890 that look similar to Persian Kermans. These rugs were more foot friendly than their cousin the Aubuson and had an impressionist quality many find very appealing.
A Persian dynasty remembered for Shahs Tasmasp and Abbas who were great patrons of the arts and ambassadors for Persian rug weaving to the rest of the world. They are credited for the enduring international popularity of Iranian style carpets.
The factory woven carpets woven in the vicinity of Serouk in Iranian Azerbaijan are some of the most beautiful ever made. Most were manufactured with intent to export to the United States. They were frequently found in the lobbies of fine hotels and in American living rooms in the post WW2 era. Serouk rugs often remind people of their grandparents or a relative visited during the holidays.
Design element that features swirling feathers and Lotuses named for the Shah who commissioned its design. Its found in most modern urban Persian style rugs.
The once powerful confederation of Turkic speaking tribes living in Azerbaijan. They are decimated by military losses and now mostly make kilim.
A heavy flat woven rug made with a weft wrapping technique. This technique is also used in commercial rugs that are designed to look like antiques. Most traditional Soumak are made in the Caucasus region.
In Farsi Sozani translates as Laundry Bag . They are heavy flat woven carpets similar to soumak with an additional embroidered design on the surface. They have been the rage in recent years with the increased popularity of tribal carpets. Sozani are the most exotic type of flat woven tribal carpets and are even being made in silk.
A special notation used to record and reproduce the designs of Kashmir carpets.
The largest Turkmen tribe in the 19th century thought to make the finest rugs made in the Turkmen style. The Tekke carpets are among those most highly prized by collectors.
A mechanically assisted technique for manufacturing rugs in which tufts of wool are punched through base fabric to color in a silk screen design painted on the base. The back of the base is then painted with thick Latex glue and covered with a sacking material. Mostly this method is used in China to produce inexpensive versions of their handknotted rugs.
A Shahsavan type of soumak rug featuring interlocking birds.
A rug made by a variety of people working on the clock on a loom located in the center of a village. Usually some form of day care is provided. Most large size tribal carpets are made this way.
The English design firm named for its founder that specialized in adopting middle eastern designs to western tastes. Most of their beautiful designs were used in institutional settings like Grand Hotels and Government Buildings. They actually made Persian style carpets in London from 1890 to 1914 with labor imported from Pakistan.
A machine loomed carpet with a limited color palette. Most today are made of synthetic fiber and have dubious durability. Well made wool wiltons can last as long as 15 years of more. Most Wiltons are made in time sharing factories that manufacture wiltons for many companies at the same time. Modern Wiltons are the first type of rug to be computerized and automated.
The Turkish word for nomad. It is used to describe any nomad living in Turkey.
So there you have it! Too much information? Perhaps. Probably all you really need to know is that Rugs Direct has over 100,000 area rugs available in hundreds of styles so you are cetain to find the perfect one for every room in your home. Shop now - and get free shipping on your entire order.