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When it comes to selecting an oriental rug, we usually know what we love when we see it. The beauty of these one of a kind pieces are they are entirely handmade.
The topic of Persian Rugs is extremely complex but we have put together a useful guide to help you with your purchase.
Background and history
In Palaces and museums throughout the world Persian Carpets are among the most treasured possessions.
The history of Persian rugs dates back to 2,500 years ago and follows the path of cultural growth of one of the greatest civilisations the world has ever seen.
Persian carpets are renowned for their richness of colour, spectacular artistic patterns and quality of design. The value of a Persian rug is determined by a number of factors: Origin, Craftmanship, Knots per square inch, design, colour, fabric, age, size and condition.
Persian rugs are normally named after the Country, city, town, village or tribe from which they originated for e.g Persia (Iran) India, Afghanistan, Turkey and central Asia (known as the Rug-Belt).
The major weaving centres are: Hamadan, Kashan, Shiraz, Tehran, Tabriz and Esfahan and many of the Persian rugs you will see in store or online will be named after the area where they have been made.
Each of the areas are renowned for their own unique design. A selection of the examples are:
Hamadan – usually geometric in design, around 300 rug producing villages around this city- A diverse range of designs are produced.
Shiraz – Capital of the State of Fars in Southern Persia- very well known for its flowers and poets.
The Diamond shape motif of the shiraz carpet is usually coloured light or dark blue and the background is red with floral and plant designs.
Pakistan Bokhara – From the Uzbekistan city of Bokhara, Majority of today’s production is in and around the town Lahore.
Woven using finely spun soft wool producing a shiny gloss which almost feels like silk- After washing the rug has a lustrous sheen.
Knots Per Square Inch
Persian rugs are typically woven with natural fibres such as wool, silk, cotton, jute or animal hair and remember no hand-made rug will have a backing on it. The knot count is typically measured by counting the knots on the back of the rug across a vertical and horizontal inch and multiplying the two numbers.
Rugs with a higher knot count are more intricate and detailed patterns are achieved in the design. The knots on a machine made carpet will be uniform.
The thickness of the rug is not necessarily an indication of how hard wearing a rug will be, most of the better quality Persian rugs are quite thin, the better quality wool and higher knot count per square inch the shorter the pile can be cut.
The rug should lie flat when placed on the ground as a the weavers knots will be smooth with few bumps or puckers.
One of the most appealing aspects of Persian rugs are their warm and soft coloration. The majority of Persian rugs are dyed using plants found locally, natural dyes are colour fast compared to synthetic dyes.
The coloration and combination of colours in Persian Rugs is also a key to determine the value of your rug, as the number of colours increase expect to pay more for your rug however 3 to 4 colours is the normal amount used.
Some of the most commonly used for Persian design are the all-over, medallion and one-sided layouts.
There are also many patterns called “motifs”, these designs have different meanings, some have elements of nature or symbols, architecture or religious artefacts were where they drew inspiration.
Some of the motifs are: Boteh, Gui, Herati Mina-Khani, Rosette, Shah Abbasi. Compare the back of the rug with the front- Does it look the same? A good weavers design will remain the same even when the rug is seen in reverse.
Herati – commonly repeated field design consisting of a flower centred with a diamond surrounded by curved leaves.
Gui – is Farsi for Flower and is normally used to describe the octagonal all over design repeated pattern as seen below.
Finally When Searching for your rug think about:
Size: measure your floor to estimate Minimum and Max size allowed
Design: You may want to bring along samples of fabric, wallpaper, paint and furniture fabric to consider your colour scheme.
Functionality: Rugs are designed to be used however Fine rugs for e.g silk may be best kept in bedrooms or a formal lounge area with less traffic.
Price and budget: When looking for a Persian or Oriental rug treat it as if you were buying a piece of Art. Consider the fact that a quality rug will last for decades and may increase in value.
A quality Oriental wool rug can last a lifetime and still look amazing, they are a unique choice and there is a certain magic that can come from a rug that has had so much attention and care put into its creation.
Buying from The Rug House ensures that you are investing in a quality piece and there will be no doubt you will have purchased an authentic Persian rug. Take a look at our video link from our specialist Persian distributor to gain some further insights into our Persian range available.
Remember True Persian rugs are one-off designs, if you find the rug that is perfect for your home take the risk and purchase because if you don’t you may end up regretting it for years to come.