Oriental rugs are a diversified range of carpets that boast of unique designs and patterns that reference their area of origin. In this article, we look at some of the most common oriental rugs that grace the textile market today.
As the name suggests, the Afghan rug originated from Afghanistan woven by tribal weavers in the country and Afghan refugees seeking asylum in the neighbouring Pakistan. Afghan rugs have a high standing, and the textile industry took notice when they awarded this Oriental rug in the annual competition held in Hamburg, Germany. Examples of this mat are Shindand and Baluchi rugs. Weavers use natural dyes to give a broad variety of colours for these carpets. They incorporate assorted designs and patterns with a cultural significance in a bid to pay homage to their nomadic lifestyles. Animal figures are a staple in these oriental rugs with the most popular being an elephant’s foot.
These rugs hail from the Qazax city of Azerbaijan, which is in proximity to Georgia and Armenia. In the 18th and 19th century, the weavers of Kazak rugs were Muslim and Christians. These weavers incorporated Caucasian influences drawn from rugs made in Russian and rugs made in the northern region of Persia. Typically, Kazak rugs come in blue, gold or yellow colours made for high-quality dyes, and adorned with stunning geometric designs. Similar to tribal rugs made in the Persian Empire, Kazak rugs have an animal or flower designs. One unique feature that distinguishes Kazak rugs from other oriental carpets is their straight lines. The connoisseurs of antique rugs place a high value on Kazak rugs as they tend to fetch a hefty price.
These rugs are famous for their contemporary and period-style look that never goes out of fashion. The market for Chinese rugs continues to grow as consumers look for unique and flexible designs of carpets for their homes. For example, hand knotted Chinese rug do very well in the UK market. Examples of a favourite design of handmade Chinese rug are the Royal Yelmi, Aubusson, Savonnerie rugs. These rugs boast of 95% wool and 5% silk material, making them both plush and durable. If you are looking for the perfect rug for your living room, the Royal Yelmi is a timeless piece that will earn you great admiration from your peers.
Traditionally, the people of India produced the finest textiles in the world that include art décor rugs and carpets used in palaces. During the colonial era, the British influenced Indian weavers, and this is evident in their designs of rugs. Weavers were determined to make unique designs that told the story of India and not that of a foreign and oppressive ruler. Weavers of Indian rugs applied sturdy designs thus establishing a firm footing of the Indian textile culture we see today. These weavers borrowed a few designs from the Persian Empire resulting to carpets with rich motifs and colours without an excess of any design. These elegant pieces are worthy of the international market and rug collectors hunt for them. Even today, consumers revere Indian rugs for their ability to compliment the ambiance of any interior setting.
Nomadic tribes made these rugs in the Turkestan, a trade centre for carpets. Bokhara rugs are either machine made or hand-woven, with the design of an elephant’s foot. Shades of colour varied from one tribe to the next, some using dark blue, brown or black. Weavers make Bokhara rugs from wool using Persian knots for the wool pile.
Contrary to other oriental rugs named after the city of origin, Ziegler rugs refer to the particular design rather than a town or tribe. These rugs came into play in 1883 when a German textile company (Ziegler & Co.) based in England started making them. This company enlisted the help of master weavers from Persia and other parts of Europe. The Ziegler design incorporated softer pallets and gentler tones than what was present in the Persian Empire. These softer palettes were aimed at the Western consumer as they could blend well in any home. Ziegler rugs use vegetable dyes thus giving them a natural look. In the modern times, Ziegler rugs are produced all over the world, but they still pay homage to their founding company e.g. Chobi rug made in Afghanistan.
Weavers use Tibetan highland sheep’s wool and use the knotting method. Tibetan rugs are used for flooring, as horse saddles and also as a wall hanging for décor. At present, Tibetan rugs are widely machine made though a few weavers still make them by hand. Tibetan natives in neighbouring Nepal and India established weaving workshops upon arrival and created a thriving carpet-making industry.
Carpets of the Orient come in different shapes, sizes, colour, and designs. Consumers are spoilt for choice as these rugs make their way to departmental stores worldwide. If you are looking for an oriental carpet, compare different designs and pick a rug that works for your home.