Rug History

A rug is more work of art than an article that people walk on everyday use.

To understand how valuable area rugs are, one must go back to their origin. For a nomad who lived in a tent home was a simple place; a combination of walls, roof on floor. The floor was just a simple rug laid onto the earth.

The rug was a bug -excluder, soil leveler, temperature controller and comfort provider all in one. The texture of the material beneath one’s feet was sensual proof that this was home and not a wild.

Since a rug is more of a work of art, the deeper meanings of each design should not be neglected. A area rug likened to a poem; neither can tolerate any extra element that does not contribute to its wholeness and value. Therefore, just a poem, a rug pattern is chosen for its beauty, ant motifs are carefully arranged to form rhymes.

Oriental area rugs carry wide range of symbols. For many centuries, tribal women expressed their wishes, fears, interests, fidelity, and love through the artistic medium of rugs; nevertheless, there are typically repeated motifs which vary from region to region; geometric, tree of life, central medallion, floral, contemporary, tribal rugs etc.

Area rugs are made of silk, wool or cotton. A silk pile gives a rug great brilliance. Cotton-warped rugs almost always have a more rigid and mechanical appearance than woolen-warped. Yarns are used in their natural colors or colored dyes extracted from flowers, roots and insects.

Rugs are made on vertical looms strung with 3 to 24 warp (vertical) threads per cm (8 to 60 in) of width.

Working from bottom to top, the rug maker either weaves the rug with a flat surface or knots it for a pile texture. Pile rugs use 5-7.5 cm/2-3 in length of yarn tied in Turkish (Gordes) or Persian (Sehna) knots with rows of horizontal weft yarn laced over and under the vertical warp threads for strength. After the rug is completely knotted, its pile is sheared and the warp threads at each end are tied inti a fringe. The finer the yarn and closer the warp threads are strung together, the denser the weave and, usually, the finer the quality.

The best-known flat-woven rug is the kilim that is lighter in weight and less bulky than pile rugs. It has a plain weave made by shooting the weft yarnover and under the warp threads in one row, then alternating the weft in the next row. The soumak type is woven in a herringbone pattern by wrapping a continuous weft around pairs of warp threads.

Some important weaving centers :

  1. Turkey (Turkish Rugs)
  2. Iran (Persian Rugs)
  3. China (Chinese Rugs)
  4. Afganistan (Afgan Rugs)
  5. Pakistan (Pakistan Rugs)
  6. India (Indian Rugs)
  7. Nepal (Nepal Rugs)
  8. Caucasus (Turkoman Rugs)


The oriental rugs, referred also in the bible, must have a very old story, but we cannot date back the weaving out to a real time span, it is tough that rug weaving originates even to the 1.century B.C. till the Russian archaeologist Rudenko excavated five tombs near the city Bijks on south Siberia by Altai mountains, in this tombs Rudenko made the greatest foundation of rug history between 1947-1949 with five carpets, including the oldest one named  after “Pazyryk” which is dated back to the 5.century B.C. The completed weaving technics, color harmony and design of the “Pazyryk” (Pazirik) allows us to trust to a very long development time and experience of the weaving back ground. The origin of this rug is the Mongolian -Altai circle, where the tomb belongs to an Altai nomadic tribe.

The historical route of the nomads from northeast always to west moved the weaving art from this origin and brought the art to Europe by the Turks.