Oriental rugs
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Oriental Rug Appraisal Co.
Oriental Rug Appraisal Co.
Oriental rugs
 

Appraisal of Oriental Rugs and Navajo Rugs

 
 

Oriental Rug and Carpet Terms

Abrash
The word used to describe the variations in color found within a single color in an Oriental rug.  It refers to the hue or color change found on many older rugs, particularly those rugs woven by nomad tribes.  While abrash is commonly seen in tribal nomadic rugs and in some modern Oriental rugs are intentionally woven with the color variation.  The variations in color are usually the result of inconsistent dyeing of the wool, or through the introduction of a new wool batch while weaving the carpet.  Generally some abash is desirable in tribal carpets and very undesirable in "city" carpets.

Afshar
A Turkic speaking nomadic and settled people living mostly in southern Iran.  The Afshar make mostly small rugs and saddlebags, animal trappings.  Tones of deep blue, red, gold and ivory are most often encountered in Afshar rugs

All-over design
A term used to describe the pattern of rugs whose fields have no central medallion.  An even repeating design throughout the field.

Aniline dyes
Synthetic dyes first invented (discovered) in 1856 by William Perkins.  The term is now used to describe any synthetic dyes used in Oriental or Navajo rugs.

Antique Wash
A chemical or natural process that tones down colors and to simulate aging.

Arabesque
An ornate curving design of intertwined floral and vine figures often seen in intricate workshop rugs such as those from Isphahan, Tabriz, Nain and Qum.

Art Silk
Short for artificial silk, it is usually mercerized cotton, rayon or polyester that appears to be silk.  Oftentimes artificial silk rugs are sold as real silk.

Asymmetrical Knot
"Persian" of "Senneh" knot. A pile knotting technique where only one or the two warps is completely encircled.  See Oriental rug knots.

Aubusson
Fine flat carpets woven in France from the 15th to 19th Centuries.  A term used to describe modern rugs that use similar designs and colors.

Bakhtiari
The Bachtiari confederation is a large and powerful group, covering much of central and southwestern Iran.  Small rugs, saddlebags and trappings are woven by nomadic Bachtiaris, while large carpets are woven by the settled tribes people.  The most familiar pattern is the garden design consisting of repeated squares or diamonds, each of which encloses a tree or floral motif.  The name translates roughly as "the lucky ones".

Baluch
A large group of nomadic tribespeople living in Afghanistan and eastern Iran who weave many types of small rugs, animal trappings and tent furnishings.  They favor deep tones of blue, dark brown, dark red and touches of natural ivory.

Bokhara
The capitol of Uzbekistan and the traditional trading center for Turkmen tribal carpets.  Today, rugs called Bokhara are usually make in Pakistan using Tekke Turkoman designs.

Boteh
This is a motif in stylized form representing either a pine cone, a palmetto, the sacred flame of Zoroaster or a Cypress tree. Sometimes called a Paisley Pattern.  Seen in many types of Oriental rugs.

Brocade
Weft float weave used to add design and embellishment.  Often seen on the kilim bands at the ends of oriental rugs.

Carding
The task of pulling the wool fibers between two spiked paddles in order to arrange the fibers in a random manner.  It is a first step before combing which positions the fibers in a parallel arrangement.

Cartoon
This is a diagram of the rug design that weavers follow when knotting an oriental rug.  Used in workshop rugs and in some village rugs.

Cartouche
An oval shaped ornamental design element usually containing an inscription or date.

Classical
A vague term referring to court carpets produced prior to the 19th century.

Cloudband
A stylized depiction of a cloud resembling a band knotted at its collar.  Originally a Chinese design but is often seen in Persian Oriental rugs.

Combing
Drawing the already carded fibers through a set of spiked blocks in order to align the fibers in a parallel arrangement.  This is done prior to spinning.

Dragon
A Chinese motif symbolizing good fortune.  The dragon is sometimes rendered in a geometrical form with only the head portrayed realistically.

Dhurrie
A low cost flatwoven rug from India.

Embroidery
The use of a variety of different needle-worked stitches to decorate fabrics.

Farsi
The official language of Iran.

Field
The main section of the rug that is surrounded by the boarder and contains the central medallion or other motifs.

Flatwoven
A rug made without knotted pile.

Fringe
The excess warp threads extending from the end of the rug sometimes finished in macramé style knotting.

Guard stripes
Bands which surround and enhance the main border.  A thin stripe used to highlight guards and to separate them from the beginning of the field.

Gul
This is an octagonal motif, usually elongated and divided into four.  The word means "rose or flower".

Hali
A Turkish word for rug.

Halicilik
A Turkish word for rug merchant.

Handle
The weight and stiffness or flexibility of a rug.  A rug´s handle might be described in terms such flexible, stiff, of soft.

Herati design
This is a design feature often found in carpets from Persia.  Usually four leaves are woven around a well-defined diamond.  This is sometimes referred to as the "Fish Design" but this design does not really represent fish.

Kilim
A flat woven rug from the Mideast.

Kufic Script
A term for the bold, rectilinear calligraphic script which became highly stylized and used as decorative elements rather than text.

Lobe
A rounded division frequently found in medallions and in border ornaments.

Loom
Frame or machine used for interlacing two or more sets of threads or yarns to form a rug or other textile.

Lozenge
A diamond shaped parallelogram or rhombus.

Medallion
Large design found in the center in some oriental rugs.

Mihrab
Typical design of a prayer rug derived from the niche or chamber in a mosque.

Motifs
Single or repeated design elements found throughout the rug.

Pile
A rugs surface, formed by the creation of knots in the foundation.  Nap.

Pile weave
A term used to refer to the structure of knotted carpets and rugs forming a pile or nap.  Wool, silk, or sometimes cotton is knotted around the warp in a variety of techniques.

Prayer rug
A small Oriental rug used by Muslims to kneel on when reciting their prayers.  It should be noted, however that most prayer rugs were woven for the foreign market.

Pushti
A small mat measuring about 2 x 3 feet.

Quatref
Round symmetrical ornaments with four lobes.

Raj
Number of knots per 7cm. (2 3/4 inches).  Twenty four raj would be approximately 76 knots per square inch.

Reciprocal design
A motif in contrasting colors but a consistent repeating pattern.  Borders often have reciprocal designs.

Rosette
A motif resembling an open flower consisting of a circular arrangement of parts around a center.

Runner
A long, narrow rug used mostly for hallways and staircases.  Usually under three feet wide.

Saf
A prayer rug containing multiple prayer niches.

Safavid Dynasty
Persian Dynasty ruled by Shah Abbas from 1587 to 1628 AD.

Sarouk
Factory woven carpets woven in the vicinity of Sultanabad (Arak) in west central Iran.  Named for a small town north of Sultanabad.  Nearly all were exported to the United States.

Shahsavan
A confederation of Turkic speaking tribes living in Azerbaijan.  They are known for making sumak bags and kilims.

Slit Tapestry technique
A technique commonly used on Kilims where the weft threads turn back at the meeting of different color areas.  It is easily recognizable by the small gaps which appear where there are color changes.

Spandrel
An ornamental treatment located at the corners of the field.

Strapwork
An interlacing design resembling straps.

Sumak
A type of flat-weave rug using a weft wrapping technique to form the face and pattern of the rug.

Tapestry
A hand-woven wall hanging with a flat weave, usually characterized by complicated pictorial designs.  It also refers to weft face weave.

Tea Wash
A procedure used to soften the colors of a rug and give it the appearance of age.

Tekke
The largest Turkomen tribe in the 19th century who made some of the finest Turkomen rugs.

Village rugs
Rugs made in villages or in small workshops.  The designs respond to the current market needs to a limited degree.  There is usually no elaborate cartoon or diagram drawn before the rug is woven.

War Rugs
Usually refers to rugs woven by Afghani Baluch people during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  These rugs show the weapons of war, including tanks, guns and helicopters

Warp
Threads of yarn that extend through the entire length of the rug, on which the weaver ties the knots.  The lengthwise or vertical threads.

Weft
Threads of yarn that run across the width of the rug.  The widthwise or horizontal threads in a rug, passed over and under the warps to form the foundation of a pile rug or the design of a flat woven rug.

Yuruk
The Turkish term used to describe any nomad living in Turkey.

Zaronim
A rug measuring about 3' x 5'.  A zar is about one square meter so a zaronim is a square meter and a half.

 

 
Oriental Tabriz rug

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Oriental Rug Appraisal Co., last updated January 22, 2017

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