Why Buy an Authentic, Handmade Oriental Carpet
Whether you are redecorating your current home or decorating a new home, what you choose to put on your floors will affect the entire look and feel of your rooms. When choosing a floor covering for main rooms such as a living room or den, carpet is a popular choice because it adds warmth and comfort. A truly luxurious way to get that soft-underfoot feel is by using Oriental carpets.
Authentic, handmade Oriental carpets have a gorgeous look and feel that can’t be imitated by anything made by machine. They are created with natural materials and natural dyes that gain a patina as they age. An authentic Oriental carpet can last for decades, and requires only minimal care. The quality is so high that they can actually increase in value over time. If you are interested in adding one of these valuable investments to your home, some basic background information will help you find the rug that is perfect for you.
There are many different rug-making regions in the East, but the one most familiar to North Americans is Persia. Persia is a term used to describe a large area of the Middle East and Central Asia that existed through several empires from as early as 550 BC until the early 20th century. At various times it encompassed Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and several countries of the Caucasus region, mainly Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Today, when people refer to Persia, they are generally referring to Iran, but the Persian style of carpet making exists in many other countries.
Over time, each rug-making region developed its own style, rooted in its culture and traditions. When you look for an Oriental carpet, you will likely see two kinds of rugs: those that originated in rug-making cities such as Tabriz, Kashan, and Isfahan – these are usually known as Persians, and those that came from nomadic tribal areas such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Many Oriental rugs are now made outside of the traditional rug-making centers, in places like Pakistan and India.
Both types, Persian and tribal, have features in common:
They are hand knotted in small, tight knots. You may see rugs that are hand tufted and these are considered machine made because a tufting gun is used. Handmade will not always look perfect. For example, if more than one person works on a rug, there will be slight differences in the knotting, and the final shearing, which is done by hand, can cause a slight unevenness in the pile.
- The design is clearly visible on the front and on the back of the carpet.
- Pile material is either wool or silk while the foundation can be cotton, wool, or silk.
- The colors are created using natural, vegetable-based dyes.
But in other ways, they are different:
- Persians are double knotted, while tribals are single knotted. The type of knot and pile depth varies by region and style.
- Tribal carpets use bold colors and geometric patterns, while Persians have more muted colors and intricate patterns.
- Generally, Persian carpets are larger than tribals, which are usually no larger than 5 feet x 7 feet.
You might wonder whether you should purchase an old (antique or vintage) or new rug. Until recently, new Oriental rugs couldn’t compare in quality and beauty to older rugs. However, some traditional rug-making countries are fostering a rebirth of hand-woven carpet production, reproducing traditional patterns with vegetable dyes and hand-spun wool that, over time, will gain the lustre and beauty of an antique.
Buying an Oriental carpet is not for the faint-hearted, and you should find a reputable, knowledgeable dealer to help you. He will be well-versed in the different kinds of rugs and will be able to evaluate quality and value. Look at both old and new carpets; the one that grabs your heart is the one you should buy. It will grace your home with luxury and comfort for many, many years to come.